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Subject: Ticket to Mediocrity rss

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Robert .
United States
Royal Oak
Michigan
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Ticket to Ride

The Components (Bits):
This is a very well constructed game. The box is hefty with a fine linen finish, the insert is perfectly suited to holding all of the bits and cards, and the trains are of good quality plastic. The only complaint here would be I feel the cards are a bit too small, and could stand to have a slightly better finish on them. Also I think the board and cards could have done without the symbols for colour blind people on them, it makes them look a bit busy – but I understand why they are there.

The Setup and Rules:
The rules are extremely well written, and are printed on very thick glossy paper and look wonderful. Best of all, they are easy to read and easy to understand. Setup is a breeze, open the board up, shuffle the cards and create the draw deck, deal the cards out, take your trains and the game is ready to be fired up. No complaints in this section whatsoever.

The Theme:
Ticket to Ride has a nice fitting train theme that is doesn’t feel as pasted on as many games. I won’t say you feel like any grand pioneer building railways across America, but needless to say, I think the theme is nice. The board and graphics enhance the theme to a fairly good level, and I have few complaints in this area.

The Gameplay:
Ticket to Ride has very simple gameplay mechanics. You start with a hand of cards, then draw cards from the face up selection OR from the draw deck on your turn, building up collections of colored train cards required to build sections of the routes on your destination cards. You can select additional destination cards, completing more routes, but any destinations not completed by the end of the game will count as negative points. As you build sections of your route you move your score marker around the outside of the board, scoring points as the game progresses. Once the game is complete, the longest route scores a bonus card, and everyone else adds their completed routes to their score – or subtracts incomplete routes. That’s pretty much it to the game, it is a set collection – route completion type game with no other mechanics to speak of.

The Depth and Tactics:
Let me be honest here and say that Ticket to Ride is a pretty shallow game. I’ve only found a couple of great strategies, and one of those is pretty overpowered. Generally the person that draws the longest destination cards is the winner, or someone that luckily draws destination cards for routes they have already completed to some extent. You can block peoples routes if you have the right cards, but the fact that there are usually multiple methods to reach a destination, at best you are just slowing them down and wasting your trains. Ticket to ride is a fairly processional experience resembling multiplayer solitare with each player plodding along, working out their routes and interacting very little with the other players. One factor that also annoys me is how the scoring heading to the end of the game is very different from the actual end of the game when everything is tallied. I find this aspect pretty annoying when I play Ticket to Ride, making it pretty unpredictable where I am in a game, and giving me the feeling of having less control over the game outcome.

Summary:
With subsequent sessions in Ticket to Ride, my opinion of it has been softened a good deal. The benefit of playing it with a wide variety of people lately has further improved my impressions, as it has merit as a game anyone can play. Another interesting thing that I think attracts new people to the game is the illusion they are playing something more complicated than it really is. Even though it is a bit processional, and has less interaction than I like, I do find the game appealing and enjoyable nonetheless. As such, it has a place in my collection and is a game that will hit the table quite often.

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Paul DeStefano
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You've played it dozens of times?

I'm so sorry.

This has to be the most boring thing I've played in years.
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Bill Stripp
United States
Crystal Lake
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Obviously everyone has their own tastes, however, I do think that there is a fair amount of strategy in TTR. If you play on-line, you see this when you play higher ranked players.

Here are the things that I am working on when I play:
(1) Watching what other players are taking to know where they are likely going to drop a route. If I see them taking a lot of a color and I can block that, I consider it. It also determines what routes you'll be able to get. If everyone is grabbing a color, don't expect to go on a 6 train route of that color.

(2) Working to optimize your route so you don't have any dead trains at the end of the game. By dead trains, I mean trains that aren't counted for longest route. That 10 points has decided many games I have played.

(3) Completing a trans continental route even if you don't have a ticket for it. You will be drawing tickets later in the game, if you can, work at completing a route along some of the common paths. Then you are likely to draw a route that uses those tracks.

(4) Balancing the need to get track down to claim key points with the need to take long six train routes for points.

(5) Timing when to take tickets and when to just work on routes.

What I love about this game is that it has mutiple layers of strategy. On the surface, it's a light strategy game that plays well for just about anyone. I have introduced it to parents, grandparents, church groups etc, with a high rate of success.

Then there is a deeper level of play where you are taking your opponents actions into account. While it's still a light game, there is more too it than just playing out your routes. Certainly, it's no Go, but the joy is that you can play it as a light fun game or something more.

If you get the chance, try the on-line play. I can play 3-4 two player games over a lunch hour. When you play against the highest ranked players, you quickly realize that there is more to the game than just luck. Still, there is no game that is for everyone, and this might not be your game (for me I can't stand Princes of Florence even though everyone tells me how great it is). Regardless of whether or not I agree with you, good review.
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Kris Wolff
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Every person is, clearly, allowed their own opinion, however...

I want to warn anyone who hasn't played TTR to not take this review too seriously. It just seems like a rant from someone who's frustrated by the fact that it's so popular (I hate hype just like the next person). I certainly don't understand the claim that there is too much luck involved (that's usually an excuse used when a player can't figure a good strategy). There is luck in the game, but it's easy for a person with clear bad luck to outplay the other players, and vice versa.

I agree that there are many games out there with more strategy, and I enjoy those also, so don't think this is the only game I own or anything like that. However, I'm always up for a game of TTR whenever it's suggested. Also, I know many people of varying degrees of familiarity with the board-game world and they all like it also. It's certainly not on my "best game" list, but it is probably played as many times as our other games.

After my own rambling here, I suppose the point is this: anyone reading this review should merely be aware that the original author is very much in the minority on this one.
 
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Brad Miller
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They should also note that the poster has taken someone else's image, photoshopped out a background and submitted it as his own. Talk about Mediocrity! In other words consider the source when considering the review.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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This reviewer rated Vampire Hunter higher than TTR. gulp

If anyone wants to buy a game that at least one reviewer rates higher than Ticket To Ride for only $10, my copy of Vampire Hunter is for sale in the Geek Marketplace. laugh
 
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Philip Thomas
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Oh, great reviewer, first among the snakes, hast thou tried Ticket to Ride: Europe? If so, does it have similar issues.

I ask because I gave it to a buddy as an advance birthday present, never having played it or Ticket To Ride.
 
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Matthew Webster
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Not really knowing who has won until the final scoring is a feature that I really like; it adds to the tension. In a recent 5 player game I was in the lead until 2 other players tied for the longest route putting me in third place! When playing with a mixed ability group, which in the case of my family is most of the time, not knowing you are going to lose from the halfway point in the game is an important incentive to keep playing. I have read similar complaints about games such as Traders of Genoa. I think many gamers feel they need to be in control.
 
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Jay Little
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I don't consider this a rant at all... In fact, I despise Ticket to Ride more than most. But as long as there is justification along with the opinion, it's got value -- regardless of whether anyone else agrees with it. At least this review explains why he disliked the game. A true rant would just say "this sucks" and leave the reader to guess why.

I find the lack of strategy & planning, limited player control and the overwhelming role of luck (tickets, tracks available for draw) in determining the winner to be insurmountable. For the amount of time this game takes, there are literally dozens of other games I would prefer playing.
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Curt Carpenter
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ynnen wrote:
I find the lack of strategy & planning, ... to be insurmountable.

If anything, it has the opposite problem. Most good players plan out their entire game before their first turn.
 
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Mike Giro
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You say the game lacks planning.

I say the entire game strategy revolves around planning and adpating it on the fly.
 
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Laura Appelbaum
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I played this game for the first time tonight, and while I didn't dislike it as much as this reviewer did, I'd have to say that I can completely understand the points he made, which seem to be pretty well substantiated, in contrast to those calling it a rant. Mind you, I have no other familiarity with the poster or how he's rated other games, but just taking this review on its own, it seems to me to make some valid points. Plus, he says he's given it over a dozen plays, whereas if a game doesn't grab me in some way from the very first play, I don't feel any impetus to play it again, so he's a far more patient gamer than I am. There are just too many games out there to spend playing one that doesn't excite you.

As I said, I didn't hate this game, but it didn't really "do" anything for me either. Prior to playing it, we played Ra, which IMO is quite similar in terms of what the game is; set collection. The difference is that Ra has lots and lots of player interaction, while TTR just had me staring at the cards in my hand and pretty much building along, doing my own thing unimpeded. I'm sure more experienced players have ways of trying to "screw" each other playing this that would add a level of interaction to it, but I still don't see this game as ever getting all that interesting. I might play it again if someone else proposed it, but it wouldn't be with much excitement; it's a set collecting card game, and that's about how I see it. If you are someone who enjoys that kind of thing, you'll probably like it. If not, not. And like he says, it's well put together and well produced. :Shrug: I gave it a 5.5
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Robert .
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After subsequent play, with different relatives, I have revisted my rating of this game UP, and will be updating the review accordingly.

While I still feel the luck level is pretty high in the game, for example I won the last two games simply because of destination card draws. I had 2 big routes completed, drew more destination cards, at least 1-2 of each were already completed in my longer more involved routes. Giving me an additional free 20 points at the end of the game. (the difference between winning and losing)

Regardless of the luck issue, which doesn't bug me that much, it has become a "Fun" game to pull out when the inlaws and relatives come over. Everyone seems to like it because it has an illusion that they are playing something more complicated than it really is.

The game has grown on me the more I play it, and the bigger variety of people I play it with.
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