David Engelhardt
Germany
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One of my wifes and my favorite games is Ticket to Ride. And since we currently have my Russian mother-in-law as a guest, and she's also pretty hung up on it, we decided to make a copy of the beautiful USSR fan expansion by Nikita Semago. At the time, we had 99 entries in our bgg-collection, making this our 100th game. Reason enough to go ahead and share the experience laugh.

Though not perfect, we are pretty content with the result. If you see something which could have been done better without much effort, please share your thoughts!

1. The tools

First we had to invest in some tools we would need. Mainly this was a 60x90 cm cutting mat, a 60cm metal ruler (100cm would have been better), some book repair tape and spray adhesive. We also got a wheel-cutter (is that the right word?), but I had trouble using it, and just went with the normal cutter we already had.



2. The map

After visiting some copy-shops we settled on having the map printed out as a poster by Photo Dose, a German chain for photo equipment. They had an offer of a 60x80 cm "laminated" poster for 10€. The shop assistant even gave me the phone number of their lab, so I could call them and ask how much of the image they would cut away as bleeding. Before uploading the image, I edited it by expanding the canvas to 60.2 x 80.2 cm, filling the border with the same black used at the very edge of the map.

The result was quite good. The measurements, though not perfect, were pretty close to the original, and the matte finish they call "lamination" proofed to be surprisingly resistant to fingerprints. Time to mount the map on cardboard.



Before gluing the map on cardboard, we made the first cut where the map would fold inwards, and fixated it with filmoplast sh book-repair-tape.

Then we made our first mistake: We didn't mark the folding line, so it was very difficult to align the map to it. Thankfully the 3M Photo Mount-adhesive we used allowed some repositioning, which we needed 2 times. The second time the adhesive was already dried a bit, and we ripped out some cardboard! I hurried to spray the emerging hollow, and luckily the third attempt was a success. We still managed to make our second mistake directly after our first one: We didn't leave a small gap between the two parts of the map. By now a gap the size of two times the poster's thickness has created itself .

The last steps were the remaining cuts, tapes for the outward folds, and some refining of the edges:



As you can see in the last image, the left third of the map is a bit shorter than the other two, but hey, no need to be more Catholic than the Pope.

3. The cards

Since the TTR USSR fan-expansion comes with its own set of wagon-cards, which not only fit the theme perfectly, but also have two additional controller cards, of course we wanted them too. If it was only for the tickets, I may have thought about printing them out myself, but for 173 cards this would have been to much. After googeling and bgg-ing a bit, we decided to have them printed by printerstudio. A few days after the order, we received a mail stating the cards are now on their way with Hong Konk post. 11 days later, they arrived.

Since this was my first experience with printerstudio, I took them by their word and made sure everything important was inside the save area. Later I read this wasn't even necessary, but this way the native resolution of the given images were already perfect for the save area of bridge-sized cards, and needed no resizing. In the end this resulted in a larger white border than the original TTR cards have (as seen in the left picture).

To get to 180 cards I also printed some spares: One locomotive, one controller, two white wagons with their symbols removed, and three tickets without text, routes and values.

The quality of the cards is quite good. The alignment was not absolutely perfect, but close enough that if I would print them again, the white border would be smaller.



4. Whats to come

Right now two things are missing: The printed rules and a box. We have the graphics for the top of the box, but I'll have to design the sides when I have some time. We'll probably just take one of our spare Dominion-expansion-boxes and glue the graphics on. The rules will be a double-sided A3, and are not a priority at the time.

5. The game



We really like this map. It's quite diversified in itself, having a dense accumulation of smaller routes around the capital, and long routes with lots of space to the right. There are some bottlenecks connecting east and west, which would sometimes be brutal if it wasn't for the train stations. I also like the way you can start with two long tickets.

The image shows the result of our second game. Do you see the four white spaces connecting Якутск and Магадан? I (green) had a route there, thus the longest route and a good chance of winning despite only having completed the three tickets I started with. Both my wife (blue) and my mother-in-law (yellow) had not completed all their tickets yet and were taken a bit aback when I introduced the last round. In her very last turn, the latter used her controller to remove my wagons, so I would not only loose one of my long tickets, but also the longest route. These additional points made her take the first place, one point ahead of my wife. Maybe in the future we will have a house-rule forbidding the controller to remove a route in the last round, but this time it was just hilarious meeple.

To me, this map has kind of an epic feel to it, with train stations, tunnels, ferries, the controller, and 4 ways to score extra points in the end. I really like this map!

6. Final thoughts

This was fun! Not only the game, but also the creation-process itself. The shopping of the tools and components as well as the handicraft work is a really fun activity if done as teamwork. Especially the cutting and the gluing of large edges and areas I imagine to be much harder done by oneself, not to mention much more boring. I hope to do this again sometime!


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Andrew Rowse
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Re: Our one-hundreds game: The Ticket to Ride USSR Fan Expansion
Fantastic work!

I'm feeling a peculiar urge to make my own copy now Maybe try to double-side it with the Emerald City board.
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David Engelhardt
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KAndrw wrote:
Fantastic work!

I'm feeling a peculiar urge to make my own copy now Maybe try to double-side it with the Emerald City board.


Wow, and even some Thank you a lot!
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Steve Mackenzie
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In one word - brilliant!
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Nikita Semago
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Wow! Exelent!
In the beginning I thought that the field size of a girl!
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David Engelhardt
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zzaba wrote:
Wow! Exelent!
In the beginning I thought that the field size of a girl!


Now that you say it, the arrangement and the perspective can trick the eyes a bit laugh.

Thanks again for your support, and for creating this gorgeous expansion. One can see how much love you've put into this
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Kevin Smotherman
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I have built one of these too, and I am curious about how you play a particular aspect of the controller card. When a route is removed, what do you do with the train cars? Return them to the player so they can be reused, or remove them from play?

And I agree, excellent game!
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David Engelhardt
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kgsodie wrote:
I have built one of these too, and I am curious about how you play a particular aspect of the controller card. When a route is removed, what do you do with the train cars? Return them to the player so they can be reused, or remove them from play?

And I agree, excellent game!


We return them to the player, having a route of 4 wagons removed is punishment enough
 
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Suzanna
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You did a magnificent job with this! My hat is off to you!

I have never built a board before. In your opinion, would it be insane to start with this one? It seems from reading your write-up that the question of the cuts might be too advanced, but on the other hand, it seems one has to start somewhere.

Do you put a fold in the poster before laying it down over the cut in the cardboard? It's not a huge amount of money to waste if I mess up, but I'd rather not, if possible!
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David Engelhardt
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Thank you

Of course you can start with this one. However we too almost messed up glueing the poster to the carboard, so if you don't feel secure about it, maybe do a smaller board first.

The cutting itself wasn't too complicated, we just went over the same line several times, until the cutter was through. I'd suggest to use a long enough metal ruler though and maybe a second person to hold it down so it won't slip.

There are no folds in the poster itself. All the folds are cuts, and the only thing that bends is the book repair tape. This is important, because most posters aren't apt to fold cleanly, perhaps not even after notching them! Also only the first cut was made on the cardboard and the poster seperately because the tape lays in between those two. All the other cuts were made with the poster already glued to the cardboard.

I hope this is of some help. Good luck with your project Suzanna
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Suzanna
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Because US poster sizes just aren't going to be right it, I decided to break it up into 6 pieces and am going to have it printed in a copy shop on legal size paper. I ordered the chipboard, book binding tape, and spray adhesive today, and I have the rotary cutter. So I am on my way!

I am a little overwhelmed by setting up the card order at Printerstudio. Did you just cut the card sheets up into pieces? I noticed there are a few that are a different size, no? Do you understand that? How did you know how many of each color train to print?

I'm sorry to ask so many questions. I'm just a little overwhelmed by this project, and so eager to get it right, and you did such a beautiful job.
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David Engelhardt
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In regards to PrinterStudio:

The cards were Bridge sized. Yes, I cropped them to the right size from the original files, and edited some to create spare blanks. I can send you the final image-files if you want, just pm me :-) I'm not sure about the number of cards per train color however, but this should be in the rules (and on the original sheets I think).
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Karin K
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I've been looking at this beautiful expansion for some time and waiting for an official issue by Days of Wonder, surprisingly this didn't happen.

Then I came across this thread and what great advices you gave!
I'd never heard of Printerstudio so I was thinking I had to print the cards myself, which is hardly feasible... shake

I'm really impressed by your result, David! Do you still play it often?
 
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David Engelhardt
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fsuexpat1 wrote:
I'm really impressed by your result, David! Do you still play it often?


Hi Karin,

thank you for the kind words, I'm glad we could be of help :-). Sadly, as with most of our games, we don't get to play them too often lately :-(
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Forrest & Ryan Driskel
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David, as one who has made more than a few PNP games, you did a great job.

If you plan to build more and practice with that rotary cutter, you'll learn to love it. It is leagues easier on the hands, is more reliable (less tearing) and stays sharper.
 
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