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Subject: "It was interesting" rss

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Doug Saxon
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I bought Ticket to Ride: Europe recently because it appeared to be a good game to play with a lot of my more moderate gamer friends. It has fairly easy rules, a pretty board, should move pretty fast, and it doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of complexity to disqualify players on their first play. So far it has been a pretty big hit. I also knew my wife would like it because she grew up in Europe…and she does like it. We’ve played it a couple of times two player and it is decent, but we both enjoy it more multi-player. Last night we hung out with a married couple that we occasionally play games with and I figured this would be a perfect game to play with them, as they like to game, but aren’t hopeless addicts like I am. We went through the rules fairly quickly and we were off.

As we started playing they noticed I was taking notes and inquired as to why. They thought that I was strategically recording all of the cards and moves everyone was making. Do people think I’m THAT competitive? They laughed when I told them I was taking notes in order to write a review for it. We joked around about me publishing something that used their names without their permission, so I’m going to use fictional names in this session review. Alejandra and Richard chose Yellow and Black respectively. My wife, Betty, chose Red, and I, Felix (I always liked that name ), chose Green. Richard ended up going first and it took him about 5 minutes to make his first turn. snore We were all getting a little impatient and Alejandra was starting to have doubts that this was a fast-moving game. But after a couple of rounds, and after a few minutes of making fun of Richard, things started to pick up.

I’ve only played this game a few times, but I decided to try a new strategy ninja , having no idea if it would work or not. I drew the Cadiz-Stockholm destination ticket at the beginning and decided to go after that as well as the long eight-track tunnel from Stockholm to Petrograd to give me another 21 points and a decent shot at longest route. I also figured I could potentially claim the long Stockholm-Petrograd tunnel to suddenly end the game when people would likely be expecting several more rounds (as I would still have at least 8 trains left). I decided to collect red trains to complete this one as I didn’t need any reds to complete my Cadiz-Stockholm destination ticket. So throughout the game I snagged reds whenever I could and counted any that I missed. A few times I had to choose between picking up the available red or, taking another color that was available to complete a smaller route on the Cadiz-Stockholm ticket. Most of the time, I would just pick up the red and wait to get the other colors on other turns. In addition to the long ticket, I kept the Paris-Wien destination ticket that I drew and planned that detour into my Cadiz-Stockholm route.

Expending turns to pick up these reds put me a little behind in the beginning and this worked against me as some of my routes got built by my opponents. The others started building routes pretty quickly and Richard was essentially all alone in the East, while Betty and Alejandra were quickly crowding up the West. I was also building in the West with my two destination tickets and both Betty and Alejandra built one of my routes before me. I knew I would just have to use some of my stations so I continued on with my original plan.

Eventually, I caught up with everyone on the point track and we were all pretty even midway through the game. Richard continued to be pretty isolated in the East and decided to pick up another set of three ticket cards. Betty was working on building a long route from Brest across the board to Petrograd in the East. Alejandra’s routes seemed to be a little scattered throughout the West, and I had a hard time deciphering what she was trying to do. I just continued to collect red trains and complete the routes I needed to fulfill my two destination tickets.

Late in the game I completed my Cadiz-Stockholm ticket, but was still a couple of reds (and locomotives) shy of completing the long tunnel. Everyone still had around 10 or so trains left, so I still had plenty of time. But several rounds went by where there were three blue and two orange cards face up and no one wanted them so everyone just kept drawing from the stack leaving those same 5 cards out there. In one round, everyone but me drew three new destination tickets. I thought this was crazy since I figured I would end the game once I got all of the reds I needed. Anyway, these 5 cards out there drove me nuts as all I wanted to do was get a couple of more reds and build that tunnel. angry I still had a few more train cars left to use up though before I could end the game (discounting the 8 needed for the tunnel), so I finally broke the ice and picked up the two blues. Everyone thanked me kindly and quickly returned to picking among the face-up cards.

Before I got all of the reds I needed, I got two additional blues to give me 4 and I made what was the dumbest play of the game. shake With all three of my opponents picking up new destination tickets, I figured I could block one of them by playing these 4 blues on the route from Kiev to Bucuresti. Right after I played this, I realized that it would have been much smarter to play those 4 from Petrograd to Riga to add to my long route and give me a better chance to earn the bonus at the end. This move doomed me, as you will see. Very soon after, I got the reds I needed and built that tunnel on the first try. This then set the end in motion as everyone had one more turn. I was expecting everyone to be stunned that they only had one turn left, but no one seemed to be upset and everyone calmly took their last turn. Instead, I was the one stunned at the tranquility surrounding the table. surprise I had one train car left as well as one card, and was able to play it on my last turn to use up all of my cards and get one extra point.

We then recounted all of our routes to make sure we were all scored correctly and I had the initial lead with 70, with Richard right behind me at 67. We then scored all of our completed tickets, and surprisingly, everyone had completed all of them. I was shocked. surprise It must have been only 3 or 4 rounds ago that everyone but me picked a new ticket. But, they all were able to complete them somehow. We then scored the stations. Alejandra ended up using all of her stations. I used two of mine, and Richard and Betty both only used one. After all of this was scored, both Richard and I were tied for the lead with 103. Betty was just a point behind us at 102. We then counted up who got the longest route bonus. Richard had 34 and I had 32! Richard had just edged me out, and in fact, on his very last turn he placed a station which gave him those extra trains and the lead for the bonus. angry So the final score was: Richard 113, Felix 103, Betty 102, and Alejandra 92.

So, my big dumb move was claiming the route from Kiev to Bucuresti instead of from Petrograd to Riga. That would have added another four trains onto my long route giving me 36 and enough to edge Richard for the bonus and the win. It turned out that I didn’t even block anybody! What a dumb move! yuk My overall strategy seemed to work reasonably well as I had a shot at the end. I'm not sure if a similar strategy has been discussed on here before or not, but I may try it again.

It was a very enjoyable game though, and extremely tight. One thing I really like about playing TtR:E is that you always feel like you are in the running to win and just about every game is very close. This game was certainly no exception. Afterwards, I asked the champion, Richard, what he thought of the game. I figured he was really into it and would gush all sorts of praise, especially after winning such a tight game. However, his only unflappable reply was, “It was interesting”. That’s all he had to say about it.
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Tootsie Roll
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Longest Trains and stations
I haven't read the rules in a while, but I didn't think stations could be included in the longest train. The longest train had to be continuos without connections through a station.

I have always thought that made the longest train more difficult, especially with groups of 4 or five. While 30-40 trains is possible with 2 or 3 people, our longest trains are generally about 25 rather than over 30 with more players because the one end tends to get cut off competing players.
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Matt Lee
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Nate is right. Stations do not count towards longest route, so the scores of the top two players are reversed.
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Doug Saxon
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Hmmm...my understanding is that while we don't count the trains of another color as part of the longest route, you can still count *your* colored trains that are connected through a station. The rules aren't very clear on this in my opinion, though doing some research elsewhere on this site it appears everyone agrees that we were playing it wrong.

This does seem inconsistent to me, though, that a station connects trains to complete a destination ticket, but that the station doesn't connect trains towards the longest route bonus. Maybe I should pose this question elsewhere. Thanks for the feedback though.

Doug
 
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Matt Lee
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The tight map of TTR:E and the multitude of tickets means that it is difficult to complete the tickets without a way of getting through the mess in the middle of the map. Stations allow people to get the tickets completed (but penalize players because they lose the 4 point station bonus and the longest route bonus cannot be extended through the stations, otherwise they would be worth far more on the board than if they were reserved only for emergencies. Consider how few people would risk the 8 train tunnel knowing that anyone's stations would gladly use their 8 trains as part of their longest route bonus. The stations do balance out the potential loss of points from tickets that cannot be completed otherwise, and is a form of consolation without excessively penalizing a player who could not complete their tickets on their own, yet not giving too much of an advantage for using them either.
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Doug Saxon
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klz_fc wrote:
Consider how few people would risk the 8 train tunnel knowing that anyone's stations would gladly use their 8 trains as part of their longest route bonus.


Hey Matt,

This is not my understanding of how the stations would apply to the longest route bonus. Only *MY* eight trains on this tunnel could be applied to *MY* longest route bonus if I claimed this route no matter who plays a station on Stockholm or Petrograd. However, say, for example, someone else had claimed a route from Riga to Petrograd and that same player also claimed a route from Kobenhavn to Stockholm. If he puts a station on Stockholm, my understanding was he would currently have a long route of 7 (3 from Kobenhavn to Stockholm, and 4 from Riga to Petrograd with them being connected through my tunnel). My eight trains would not be applied to his longest route (giving him 15 then, which I agree would be crazy), but by putting a station there, he, in effect, connects those two routes that were previously unconnected. This seems to make more sense to me since, if there was a destination ticket from Kobenhavn to Riga, it would be fulfilled by this station.

Where I think the rules are inconsistent is that here the destination ticket is fulfilled (essentially implying there is a connection between Kobenhavn and Riga), but this "connection" does not apply to longest route. It seems more confusing to me this way, but I'm not that bright so I'm sure I'm just missing something . Anyway, I'll try playing the correct way next time and see how it feels.
 
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Matt Lee
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The stations in effect are borrowing someone else's route to complete a ticket, but it doesn't "connect" the routes for longest route. You're just borrowing someone else's route to complete a ticket, but it does not physically connect the routes.

The longest route would give the bonus for directly connected routes, and the easiest way to figure this out would be to give points for the routes, then count for longest route bonus, but before giving points for tickets completed. Since a station can be used for only one route (that may be used for multiple tickets), and if you scored the bonus before determining which route is needed to complete the tickets, it makes more sense. Again, allowing stations to be used for the long route would make them too powerful as you could use two (worth 8 points at the end of the game if unused) and end up with two extra points.

Of course, if this variant was tested and made the game better for some people, I can't completely argue with it if it helps with the enjoyment of the game as long as everyone knows that it's a house rule.
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