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Subject: Gaming on a Budget: Ticket to Ride rss

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Phil Christiansen
United States
Wasilla
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I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
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Hello and welcome to the second installment of Gaming on a Budget. This time around I will be covering the ups and downs, for us limited finance types, of a game best described as ‘beloved’ in the gaming community. There is no arguing that those who enjoy lighter, family friendly, upbeat, and fast paced gameplay will find a lot to love about this game. But is it worth prying open your pocketbook and chasing away the resulting moths for?



The theme should be pretty obvious from the title, but for those completely unfamiliar with this game it places the players in the role of establishing early train routes across the United States. There are sequels and expansions/map packs that add other places, but I don’t have any of them so we’re sticking with the base game . The theme is lovingly rendered throughout each component of the game, from the cards to the board to the little plastic train cars you place in segments on the board to mark claimed routes. The gameplay however doesn’t really force theme on you, at least to my mind, so those who don’t care for an early railways theme shouldn’t be too badly put off.



And speaking of the components Days of Wonder really brought it’s A game for this one. Wooden scoring tokens, a nice thick board, gorgeous artwork on the cards and throughout the game, and even the little colored train cars were a delight to me (and my girlfriend will tell you, I’m perhaps too excited by quality components heh) and my family. The cards were my one slight letdown however, as they seem a bit touchy about bending and such. But that might just have been my cards.



So how about that gameplay I mentioned earlier then eh? Well, the game starts with each player drawing 3 destination cards and choosing which ones (minimum 2 in the starting hand) to keep. Harder cards are worth more points, but if you fail to complete them by the end of the game you instead lose that many points. So, it’s all about deciding what combination of cards seem both doable and worth the most points. From there, everyone draws a starting hand of train cards and we’re off!

On your turn, you have 3 actions you can choose between, limit one per turn, so each players turn will be pretty fast. This is nice because it keeps even a large game from having much downtime. The 3 actions are, draw 2 cards (or one face up wild), claim a route, and draw additional destination tickets. To claim a route, you need a number of train cards equal to the number of spaces on the route and they must be of the same color as that route.



Due to the fast pace, the game manages to have some reasonable challenge to its strategy. I have many a time had someone claim a route I needed and could have claimed on my last turn, but I chose to draw a face up card I wanted instead. So planning ahead is a must, but in the larger games you really really need to keep alternate routes in mind. After all, once you have a destination ticket you’re stuck with it, so it will either add or subtract from you. You really need to think on your feet.

Quality: High. Beautiful and beautifully put together. That’s pretty much all there is to say.

Learning Curve: Low. The game is amazingly simple. You have 3 action choices, and you need to get from here to there and maybe there to there too. Easy to learn, somewhat more involved to master.

Strategy/Depth: Moderate. This is not going to be a game for the hardcore strategy gamer, or someone who wants to believe they are a railway tycoon, but it manages to pack in quite a bit of train fun and even some educational snippets here and there.

Theme: Moderate. The art established the theme beautifully, but you’re not making any really ‘train-like’ decisions or anything. No stockpiling coal for a long trip here.

Gameplay: High. Fast and furious play here, with very little downtime between turns. Still I for one always felt like my choices, however limited sometimes, mattered. I never felt like I was just killing time, or going through motions.

Replay: Moderate-High. It does get a little tedious (at least it did for me) if you go too crazy playing it over and over, but so long as you’re not drowning yourself in a sea of trains the mechanics and gameplay manage to stay amusing and fun.

And now, drumroll please, the scores!

Overall Score: 9/10
Budget Rank: Buy It

At around $45, plus or minus, Ticket to Ride is a must have. But that is if, and only if, you like the kind of gameplay described in this and other reviews. If you do, or at least you are not adverse to it, this one really is a must have. And it’s even something kids can play with you too, and have a great time doing it. My 6 year old adores the game, and while she needs a little help now and again, enjoys every minute of it. Now if you will excuse me, I must go hunker over the box with my conductor hat quietly muttering “choo choo choo…”

(Geeklist for GoaB can be found here)
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Michael Moak
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Great review. thumbsup

You really need the "1910" expansion. It includes the full-sized cards and offers a couple of alternative gameplay options. We pretty much just play will all of the destination cards and it is a blast. laugh
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Spencer LeDoux
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moakm wrote:
Great review. thumbsup

You really need the "1910" expansion. It includes the full-sized cards and offers a couple of alternative gameplay options. We pretty much just play will all of the destination cards and it is a blast. laugh


Ditto. The cards in the original version are just not quite up to the rest of the components. 1910 fixes the issue. My family almost never plays with the original cards anymore.
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Phil Christiansen
United States
Wasilla
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I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
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Aldwyn wrote:
moakm wrote:
Great review. thumbsup

You really need the "1910" expansion. It includes the full-sized cards and offers a couple of alternative gameplay options. We pretty much just play will all of the destination cards and it is a blast. laugh


Ditto. The cards in the original version are just not quite up to the rest of the components. 1910 fixes the issue. My family almost never plays with the original cards anymore.


Cool, that one is going on my wishlist then. Thanks for bringing that to my attention
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Eric T
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I agree 100%. This is a great game. I have heard that TTR Europe is a better version but since I have not played it I cannot make an accurate comparison.

The other nice thing about this game is the expansions are usually much cheaper than the base game. You are essentially getting a whole new gaming experience for half the cost.

I would highly recommend TTR India. It is the exact opposite of TTR USA and is a very tight map. The variant section for TTR USA has some good suggestions as well. The only one I have used regularly is the Ghost Variant and it is a nice change occasionally.

A great game, thanks for the review.

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Chris G
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It's definitely a great game and I like that there is a strategy shift between the 'play nice' mode and a more cut-throat play style depending on experience and players.

Between all the sets I find TTR: Europe to be the best because of the track layouts and the addition of train stations. It helps keep the competition tighter between both types of play styles.

TTR: Switzerland is also a great map if you frequently play with only 2 or 3 player games because the board is designed around keep the competition tighter.
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Rachel Christiansen
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I absolutely love this game. I have Ticket to Ride Europe on my phone and it adds quite a bit to the game with tunnels ferries and train stations. This is a lovely review (nice pictures whistle) Maybe some expansions are in order.....
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John Van Wagoner
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Bluffton
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moakm wrote:
Great review. thumbsup

You really need the "1910" expansion. It includes the full-sized cards and offers a couple of alternative gameplay options. We pretty much just play will all of the destination cards and it is a blast. laugh
OK, two things:

(1) the game never should be published (anymore) without "1910"; for what the game costs drop the mini-cards and insert the real cards!! (smile)

(2) it's also a great PC/ipad/itouch game (for about $5)...not only a lot of fun, but a great teaching aid as well...my mother-in-law (now 83) plays TOR on her ipad all the time!
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Organic Canuck
Canada
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I have seen the link on this site for:
Ticket to Ride: Canada (fan expansion for Ticket to Ride) (2012)
- but I can't find any way to purchase it?
how does this work??
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Mark Judd
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Wright City
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Organiccanuck wrote:
I have seen the link on this site for:
Ticket to Ride: Canada (fan expansion for Ticket to Ride) (2012)
- but I can't find any way to purchase it?
how does this work??

The title indicates that it is a fan expansion. It is not published by Days of Wonder, who hold the rights to the Ticket to Ride line, so there is no way to purchase it.

There are 3 files that you can download:
http://nurdgrrl.squarespace.com/storage/ttr/ttr-canada.mapru...
http://nurdgrrl.squarespace.com/storage/ttr/ttr-canada.tix1....
http://nurdgrrl.squarespace.com/storage/ttr/ttr-canada.tix2....

The first file appears to be the map and rules. The other two files are the tickets. You would need to print those files yourself on decent enough quality paper and find some way to mount the board.
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Phil Christiansen
United States
Wasilla
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I would spread the cloths under your feet: But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
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He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
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Errr, yeah, what he said. The fan stuff is a bit of an arts & crafts project, but some of it is very good and at $0.04 for printer paper and maybe $1 for that colored ink it gets a Budget Score: Print That!
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