Saturday, 7 December 2013

Ticket to ride - review and ramblings :)

A week ago we ended up in one of our favourite places in the world.  The inimitable Leisure Games, an Aladdin's cave of wonderfully obscure board games, innovative  European games, Role playing games, and so much more.  My kids love it there, all of them couldn't wait to spend their pocket money - which is often hoarded for such trips.  The staff are awesome, and good for advice, even the other customers are pretty cool - with one random dude offering A advice when she couldn't decide between two games.  And the dude was right - the one she picked is *very* much A's cup of tea :)

Amongst other games we finally picked up a copy of Ticket to ride - hubby has had the app on his tablet for ages, and lots of friends have raved about it, so I kinda feel we're a bit late to this particular party.

The game is pretty simple in it's mechanics, by collecting different coloured cards you are able to claim various rail routes between American cities, earning points as you go.

Because each turn you only get to do one of the various actions turns move quickly and it keeps everyone engaged really well. 

To start the game each player is dealt three "Quest" cards, which are scored by linking two cities in a continuous route, the more connections you need to make the higher the score.  These cards are hidden, and not revealed to other players until the end of the game.  Any quest you haven't completed deducts from your score . . . Each player has to keep at least two of the initial cards dealt to them, so there is some wiggle room in deciding what you will do.

You are also dealt four carriage cards, these are what you have to collect to claim routes.

Five further carriage cards are then placed face up beside the draw pile, and the remaining quest cards.

During your turn you can either :
    1. Take two face up carriage cards (except jokers)
    2. Take one face up Joker
    3. Take two carriage cards from the draw pile
    4. Take one face up carriage card and one from the draw pile
    5. Claim a route
    6. Take a new quest (draw three, keep at least one)
There is a mixture of routes on the board - some need specific colour cards, others are grey and can be claimed with any colour, they are between one and six carriages long (requiring one - six matching cards to claim, and having the claiming players train carriages placed along the route.) Play continues until one player is down to two carriages to place on the board, and then everyone gets one last turn.

We have played in various combinations of people now, and all of the family enjoy the game - J plays fairly randomly with not much strategy, M seems to be thinking several turns ahead.

It works well on an adult basis - My husband, L and I have played and all enjoyed it - we were a bit more strategic, and a bit more competitive than when we played with the younger ones ;)

A is still a little young to play alone, but I think that once she is familiar with the game she will be able to play independently too.

There is subtle learning going on - as with games like Risk there is a degree of learning where the places named are, but there is also a lot of quick thinking required.  The turns move fast, and often the other players claim routes you need, so it is helping M and J learn to look for alternatives before giving up on a quest.  There is also a need to learn when to sit back and gather resources, and when to claim routes and make the best of what you can do. 

All told this was a good addition to our games shelves, and I can see it getting a lot of use.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the information. I picked up the Android version in the recent Android Humble Bundle but I've never played the board game version so wasn't sure what to do. I will admit though that I didn't look too hard in the app as I've find that my time has been consumed by Broken Sword: Secrets of the Templars ;)