Ticket To Ride

So, inspired by a good write-up in this month’s CGM, I went and tried out Ticket To Ride (Go here: http://www.daysofwonder.com)

It’s a “German-style” strategy train game, played primarily with cards. Really simple, moderately deep, and a lot of fun.

It originated as a board game, but now has a computerized version you can play for free. The computer implementation isn’t outstanding, but it’s decent enough, and the underlying game is so good that the whole experience is worthwhile. It takes about 5 minutes to learn and maybe 20 minutes to play a full game. The server always has about 20 games going, so a new one opens up every minute or so.

Go check it out.

Now.

What are you still reading this for?

Yeah it’s okay. Not Ra good, or San Juan good though. I like Alan Moone’s stuff, but it doesn’t having staying power for me.

I’ll give Days of Wonder credit; Their production values are incredible, and their marketing is fantastic. Still, I’ll be spending tomorrow playing Twilight Imperium…

The Euro game is fantastic. More strategy involved, better-designed map.

Not so thrilled with the NA one, at least online, because there are (surprise) way too many idiots playing. Most people want four-player games, but they won’t block. So you get one game after another where the guy who lucks out with cards winds up with winning 80% of the games, because you can’t block all on your own with two lines opened up to most central areas. These games are extra annoying, too, because they’re damn long.

I think the only way the NA game can be fun online is playing with three, so you’re stuck with only one route, leaving open the ability to block. I’ve had some great three-player games, though sometimes it takes forever to get players to join, because they all want four. Or playing quick two-player games and just going for it.

Overall, though TtR is a great game. I don’t know about staying power in terms of going bananas and playing it incessantly for years, but I can imagine still playing it online and off for years. Classic appeal, clean design, and you can teach other people to play in five minutes. Good luck trying that with Twilight Imperium…;-)

Anyhow, anyone up for a game some time, PM me.

TtR is a great gate-way game. The theme is cross-gender, the strategy is just enough and you can have a good chat along the way (it isn’t that taxing on the brain). I just played a 5-player session Thursday night with a newbie and we had a great time. I think it definitely has staying power. Heck, I’ve already been playing for a year and it will definitely see more play yet.

But a computer version? I don’t think so. I mean - this is a true board game. It’s like the Catan game from MS. I played the demo - but it just isn’t the same. On-line, sure! Off-line - no.

Last night I played about ~8 games (they go fast on-line), all on the North America map, 6 4-player and 2 2-player.

Brett is right that it’s hard to block people out in 4 player on the N.A. map. The winning strategy that I evolved was to hold back on playing any routes for a long time - worst case I’d grab the one key route near one of my hub cities. Keep drawing 2 cards a turn until you get about 30 cards. Draw a couple more route cards that are near your original cities. Then go on a track laying binge, leaning heavily on the long connections, especially through Helena.

Adam, I know what you mean. But TtR works really, really well online, too. It’s a great quick game and you can always find an opponent or three in moments. Phil, it’s not so much that it’s hard to play four-player US, it’s that the games become so routine that they’re boring as hell. Everybody plays exactly like you mention, so the games become all about luck. You draw the right cards and play remotely competently, you win. And it’s just so frustrating to see players not bothering to try and block as one guy lays down one six after another. Incidentally, you can have good results playing long routes and ignoring tickets with four players, too, because of the lack of blocking. That sucks, because the long route strategem makes the game incredibly dull.

That’s why I prefer the Euro game. It’s a killer with four players. Lots of fun. NA is still pretty good with three, for a more strategic challenge, or even two for a quickie.

Doh - when I went to play this morning, the ‘entrance page’ shows about 50 games and 30 players, but the lobby itself shows everything empty. Not sure if it’s a problem with my machine or their servers. And I was looking forward to a couple games…

[edit - confirmed as a server problem on their end…]