Friday, March 6, 2015

Trains in Games: Ticket to Ride is not the Only One That has Them



How many train games do you own?

Take a look online and you'll find a bunch of different ones: Mexican Train, Ticket To Ride, Steam, Russian RailroadsRailways of the Worldand even a Catan Histories variation: Settlers of America Trails to Rails . (The last four of which are now pinned to my Games I'd Like board on Pinterest.) Add in all the expansions to these various titles and the conclusion is clear: in games, trains are hot.

So what is it about the idea of long chains of coupled cars that lends itself to game creation? If we could figure that out, maybe we could come up with our own money-making version. Or maybe not. We have a history of brilliant ideas but no follow-through.

Still, it's worth some study. Here's what we like about one of the two train games in our closet: Ticket to Ride.

Going someplace. Obviously. Where there are trains, there will be travel. In Ticket to Ride Europe, players build routes through various cities in early 20th century Europe. Not only do you feel like you're traveling through Europe as you play, you're traveling back in time and seeing the continent as it once was.

Building stuff. In typical Euro style, Ticket to Ride is a game of building with limited resources. The balance between collecting those resources or building before someone else does is tricky, which usually translates into a brain-stretching good time.  

Racing people. Lots of this happens in Ticket to Ride. You race to complete your routes before the train cars run out. You race to build on key locations before someone else does, or before someone sees where you're going and decides on a little sabotage. Hmm, I wonder who would do that?

Learning to maximize return on investment. Okay, maybe the Business Man is the only one of our crew who would say this, but mastering this subtle lesson has helped him whomp on us a number of times.

And last but not least,

Cool Game Components. Cute little plastic train cars. Need I say more?

# Players . . . 2-5
Game time . . . . . . . . 30- 60 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 minutes
Luck . . . . . . .  .  8 . . . Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Component Quality . .. . . . . 8
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 8


*See "How we Rate" for a definition.


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