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Ticket to Ride: Europe» Forums » Variants

Subject: Making tunnels more interesting rss

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Jonathan David
United Kingdom
Chester, UK
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Tunnels don't seem to have much effect on the game - according to the official rules, if you don't want to or can't match the extra cards required form the draw of three from the pile, you can just keep your cards and try again on your next turn or whatever.

So here's our variant:

Tunnels score higher points, as described by Vic Weaver (Vic The Greek) on another post here,
Quote:
With regards to tunnels we score completed tunnels differently a completed 2 tunnel route scores 4 points, a 3 tunnel route scores 7 points and a 4 tunnel route scores 10 points. The 6 and 8 tunnel routes remain unchanged. We think this gives a little more incentive to build routes in the central Switzerland parts of the board.


BUT if you don't have enough cards to complete the tunnel after the 3 from the pile have been revealed, you lose half the cards for the original length of the tunnel (rounding up).

We feel this makes tunnels much more interesting and adds an element of risk that wasn't there previously.

Sharing in case anyone else wants to try it out (or modify).
 
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Sean Ross
Canada
North Vancouver
British Columbia
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Reading your post made me realize our group has been playing tunnels incorrectly: we've played that if you're unable to match the turned up cards with cards from your hand, all cards used in the attempt to claim a tunnel are discarded. This includes extra cards used to match the cards turned up from the draw deck (we turn them up one at a time, attempting to match as we go). If a tunnel collapsed while you were trying to build it, your investment in the tunnel's construction up to that point would be lost. No extra points were awarded for completing a tunnel - the risk was just part of doing business.

In our second game, I was hit by this three times while trying to claim two tunnel routes (twice in a row on one tunnel!). So, I think I can vouch for this upping the risk ante for claiming tunnels: you really have to think about whether or not it's worth trying - failing hurts, and it takes time to replenish your hand. Having now played it this way, I think it will remain as a house rule. I doubt the official rule will be quite as thrilling.
 
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Czech Mate
United States
Arvada
Colorado
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In our second game (ever) of TTR-E we played (incorrectly) that the person trying for a tunnel lost all her/his played cards if s/he could not complete the tunnel (same as Sean says above). Tonite, in our third game ever, my wife and I realized the mistake and corrected our play. Then my wife said, "We should play that [incorrect] way all the time. It definitely increases the risk of going for a tunnel."

Nice to see a) we're not the only ones who played wrong, and b) others might see this as a nice variant.

So, how 'bout it, anyone else think this is a decent variant?

mikey.
 
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T. B.
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Again, we've started doing this also. Actually, my wife arbitrarily decided that was what the official rule said, and I couldn't be bothered to look it up at the time. Now we've played that way three times, and I have to say that I like it. Especially after watching her get utterly screwed over on that 8-train tunnel. Heh.
 
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Marc Hartstein
United States
North Plainfield
New Jersey
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I think losing a turn in TtR is a tremendously high cost, and losing cards in addition on the tunnel would be adding insult to injury. Actually, it would be adding injury to injury, as it effectively costs you more turns (however many turns it took you to get the cards you've just lost).

In the groups I game with, nobody would ever build a tunnel, even at increased value, with the "cards lost" rules unless they had an overwhelming chance of success. As it is, tunnels get avoided and are rarely attempted without a couple of the needed extra cards in hand (unless the count of that color in the draw deck is known to be low).

A turn is worth a significant number of points. Risking that is enough of a risk to make me nervous about building tunnels.
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T. B.
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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So, here it is, ages after I made the above recommendation, and now I'm going to rescind it. The fact is that you don't need any extra punishment after botching a tunnel, losing a turn can make all the difference between winning and second or third place.
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Maciej Welc
Poland
Wrocław (Vratislavia)
Lower Silesia
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How about scoring for an actual instead of planned tunnel's length?
Example: attempt to build Zurich Venezia tunnel requires one additional card. So the actual length is 3 (instead to the planned 2). The score for that route is 4 (instead of 2).
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Andy Pelton
United Kingdom
Hucknall
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Another idea on tunneling that I had was for a 2 and 3 space tunnel turn over 3 cards. for a 4 space turn 4, 6 space turn 5 cards and the 8 space tunnel turn 6 cards over.

I have yet to try this particular rule out but I think it would add a bit more tension to taking tunnels.

Cheers.
 
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Mattias R
Sweden
Stockholm
Unspecified
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peltazoid wrote:
Another idea on tunneling that I had was for a 2 and 3 space tunnel turn over 3 cards. for a 4 space turn 4, 6 space turn 5 cards and the 8 space tunnel turn 6 cards over.

I have yet to try this particular rule out but I think it would add a bit more tension to taking tunnels.

Our House rules is to flip one card for each space of tunnel, so to build the 8-space tunnel we flip 8 cards. We do this because we found it silly that the risk of tunneling with the standard rules is actually greater when building shorter tunnels, as there will be more cards of the particular colour left in the draw pile. Also, I noticed that new players intuitively flip one card for each space of tunnel and the standard rules required me to correct them. Better to play the intuitive way.

Played this way a couple of times and it works fine.

And like people already said, losing a turn is punishment enough.
 
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Lorenzo Carnevale
Italy
Roma
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Another tunnel variant that reduces the risk connected to tunnels (came up tonight while I was sleeping):

For each card revealed whose color matches the color of the cards played to claim the Tunnel, an additional card of the same color (or a Locomotive) must now be played from his hand.
For each card the player won't / can't play, he will score the route as if it were one space shorter.
If this would have the player scoring 0 points for that route, he can't claim that route and takes all his cards back in his hand, and his turn ends.

Example=> 8 spaces tunnel, 3 matching cards revealed, the player won't play any extra card : the tunnel is scored as a 5 spaces long route.
8 spaces tunnel, 3 matching cards revealed, the player plays 2 extra cards : the tunnel is scored as a 7 spaces long route.
2 spaces tunnel, 2 matching cards revealed, the player won't play [more likely: can't play] any extra cards: he can't claim the tunnel and loses the turn as usual.


 
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Carl Brousseau
United States
Pennsylvania
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Solaris wrote:
Another tunnel variant that reduces the risk connected to tunnels (came up tonight while I was sleeping):


Ultimate variant that reduces the risk related to tunnels -- play them as regular routes.

Seriously, I think it's fine that there's higher risk related to tunnels and I especially don't like your variant when it relates to the Stockholm-Petrograd 8-tunnel. As for Central Switzerland, routes that are 2 spaces long should be avoided anyway, so if tunnels help some more people realize that, it's great.
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Paulo Santoro
Brazil
São Paulo
São Paulo
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Losing a turn is a very big damage. In fact, I play this way:

- Open 3 cards (as per the rules)
- Pay 1 extra card if any card shows the same color.

So, if you reveal 1, 2 or 3 cards of the same color, you pay only 1 extra card.

Yes, it's capped in 1 card penalty. But the game itself is already capped - in 3 cards.

What is very frustrating is the bad luck of getting a second card of the same color when you were reasonably prepared with 1 extra card. It's insane. You simply lose the game and 75 minutes of your life.

With my idea, you still can take a chance with no extra card to pay, but you know it's better wait until you get one - waiting until you have 3, or even 2, is nonsense.

But hey: if you wait too much, maybe an opponent will claim the route before you try. So, you still have to manage the risks.

And let me add something. I teach new players with my variant. After 2 or 3 games, I tell them the "real" rules, and they can hardly believe that the game states such a painful and chanceful rule.
 
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The Count
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I have a habit of posting on old threads here because I'm new to the board game scene. Anyway. My family are game "modders" and we rarely keep a game vanilla. The trick for ticket to ride is to make rule that is faster, better themed, and with incentives to make tunnels good instead of bad:

Tunnel Routes: Pay an extra card of any color in addition to the required number of same-color cards for a tunnel route.
OR
*A player may ‘excavate’ any number of individual slots of a tunnel route without completing it by paying 1 card of the appropriate color for each slot excavated. Empty slots remain available for other players to excavate and stake claim until the route is completed, and then the route may be counted for each of the stakeholder players’ routes (regardless of the number of sections they claimed) as well as for track-laying bonus (they each get the FULL amount) and the European Express bonus. A stakeholder player may excavate additional sections at a later turn. No connection is made until all slots have been excavated.

This is word-for word out of our mod-rulebook. The idea is that if players just build on tunnels without slowing the game down they can just pay an extra card. no luck, no waiting, no fiddling with drawing cards and where they all go, no wasted turns or over-saving up cards. MUCH more strategy and speed.
If you want though, there is a choice to start a co-op tunnel. this saves each player that participates cards and also reduces congestion. In the long run it is still quite fast if you understand the rules, and encourages discussion and cooperation. Good for big games but can be completely ignored.
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Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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_TheCount wrote:
I have a habit of posting on old threads here because I'm new to the board game scene.


Nothing wrong with waking up an old thread, if your addition is on-topic. Best to do so, actually, instead of starting up new topics.

Welcome to BGG.
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The Count
United States
Pocatello
Idaho
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Thanks for the welcoming.

I am finding as I get more into these games, that there are two camps of people on here. The 'game designers and their games are perfect so don't mess with anything' people and the people who are willing to try a mod.

I have gotten flamed several times on here for mentioning a possible rule change even though my suggestions are playtested first.

The rare positive feedback is why I am still here.
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The Count
United States
Pocatello
Idaho
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After several more games, I have discovered that simplicity, certainty, and speed rule out on tunnels.

We now play it just like this:

Tunnel Routes: Pay an extra card of any color in addition to the required number of same-color cards for a tunnel route.

No options, no flipping cards, no luck or confusion. I liked my complicated option (shown in previous comment), but people would rather just pay an extra card than even hear what my rule or the printed rule was.
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Mathue Faulkner
United States
Austin
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practicedrifter wrote:
After several more games, I have discovered that simplicity, certainty, and speed rule out on tunnels.

We now play it just like this:

Tunnel Routes: Pay an extra card of any color in addition to the required number of same-color cards for a tunnel route.

No options, no flipping cards, no luck or confusion. I liked my complicated option (shown in previous comment), but people would rather just pay an extra card than even hear what my rule or the printed rule was.

I feel like the area of the map that is loaded with tunnels is already handicapped due to the short routes. It's a lot trickier to win games in this area because of both the tunnels and the short routes. Thematically, I think many of these variants are interesting, but I don't think the map is balanced very well for them.

On that note, the extra points per completed tunnels re-balances that a bit and can add an interesting new facet to the game. Points could be added in a variety of ways (i.e. point per tunnel, tiered points, or even just a larger end game bonus for most tunnels)....

As for practicedrifter's simplified variant, it's not too bad because it eliminated the possibility of losing a turn while still making tunnels more difficult. It also eliminates a bit of luck and fiddliness....
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The Count
United States
Pocatello
Idaho
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Even with the simple variant, tunnels are still something people try avoid.
More points is a good way to counter-act that.

Most people usually just go the path that fits their tickets and available colors best, but if they have a choice they should go for the path with longer sections because they score more points that way. More points would change this decision to equal or in favor of the path with the tunnels. The question would be then how much?

Anyone play with the tunnel-point bonus to see if it works well?

I will try a scoring rule worded like this -
"Tunnels of 3 or less length score as if they were one longer. A 3 section tunnel scores like a 4 section normal route."

I will report back if it goes well.
 
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The Count
United States
Pocatello
Idaho
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I have played several games now with each variation of the tunnel rules.

EVERYONE hates the published rules, especially after playing the my most simplified variant. They seem to like it just with the one extra card of any color with no other changes best. Other options and scoring just complicated things.

The 'fairness' of the bonus points on tunnels seemed appealing, but it was just one more rule to remember and didn't actually change how people behaved in the game.

The tickets themselves are weighted to score higher if they go through tunnel areas, and after the variant rule it doesn't seem unbalanced enough to warrant an additional rule.

My playgroups have all favored speed and simplicity. Yours may not.
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Dirt Mike
United States
Canoga Park
CA
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practicedrifter wrote:
After several more games, I have discovered that simplicity, certainty, and speed rule out on tunnels.

We now play it just like this:

Tunnel Routes: Pay an extra card of any color in addition to the required number of same-color cards for a tunnel route.

No options, no flipping cards, no luck or confusion. I liked my complicated option (shown in previous comment), but people would rather just pay an extra card than even hear what my rule or the printed rule was.


my family and i went with this same variant... we just got sick and tired of turning over extra cards... this variant is just so much simpler and quicker
 
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