In honor of the 8 year old guest running around our house this week, game night was spent playing Ticket to Ride instead of D&D. Ticket to Ride feels like a cross between Settlers of Catan and Take Off! Players compete to earn the most points by completing rail routes between cities across the U.S. To complete a route, players turn in colored train cards that correspond to the color and amount listed on the route. Players also receive mission cards that award bonus points for connecting distant cities, but are penalized for unfinished missions at the end of the game. The game ends when the first player runs out of plastic rail cars.
Ticket to Ride is a game with a very simple premise and quick learning curve which I suspect has the potential to become deeply strategic: Do you attempt to complete your mission cards immediately? Do you make a grab for several core routes early on that will allow you to complete multiple missions later? Do you just focus on gaining your routes, or go on the offensive to block other players' access to their mission goals. Do you draw a bunch of mission cards hoping to complete multiple missions, or reduce the risk of an end-of-game penalty by focusing on your initial missions? Apparently the game has a pretty avid following, which includes international tournament play. I am both intrigued and a little terrified to look into how the "pros" play.
At $50 from the FLGS, Ticket to Ride is a bit rough on the pocket book, but certainly within the limits of normal game pricing these days. However, after tonight, I have no regrets about the purchase, and do not doubt that we will play quite a bit in the future.