Recently I have had the pleasure to play two newer railroad board games: Ticket to Ride and Railroad Tycoon.
TtR is probably more well known and was created by Alan Moon, formerly of Avalon Hill and The General magazine. The game has been successful, I presume, since there are a number of variants of the game being sold. As with a lot of current multiplayer strategy board games, there are no dice in this game and the only luck involved is with the drawing of cards. The original game has a number a major US and Canadian cities with single or double rail links between these cities. Each turn each player can do one of several actions, with the most common action being to draw one or usually 2 colored cards. You keep collecting these cards until you have enough cards of the proper color to fill in one of the rail links. The links between cities are from 1 to 6 spaces long, and you need to have that number of cards in the color of the rail link you are building. So, when you have 4 red cards, you can build a 4 space link between two cities that require red cards, and you do this instead of drawing cards. At the end of the game, you get victory points based on the number and length of each link you own, with a 1 link connection being worth 1 VP, 2 links 2 VP, 3 links 4 VP and I think about 15 VPs for a 6 link connection. You also get to draw cards which award you bonus VPs for connecting 2 specific cities with your own rail lines. And you lose the same number of VPs if you fail to do so. But, when you draw those cards you get to choose which one(s) to keep. If you like building track, the game is a lot of fun and with a lot of players, it gets tough trying to complete the bnus routes as the limited routes get taken. Ticket should take less than 3 hours to play.
RT is less well known, and I thought I saw a thread somewhere here about someone wanting to know about the game. Since I only played a half of a game, and that was yesterday, I don't really even know all of the rules for this game, but it was fun. The map is basically a hex map east of the Mississippi with some Canada and no Miami. Each city has a number and a color and gets that number of random colored cargo counters placed on it at start. Then some cards are placed face up and an auction starts to see who wants to go first. Although you start with no money and a John Bull card, you can at any time issue stock and get $5K. The person going first can either pick up one of the cards and use or keep it as appropriate for the card, or build up to 4 sections of track, or do something else noted later. Track can cost from $2K to as much as $8K per section, depending on terrain, so you will need to issue stock to build track. Each turn consists of 3 months, with each player doing one action each month. After each 3 months, players get paid based on where they stand on the VP track, and then pay a $1K dividend for each share of stock that they have sold; one additional card is placed face up on the table; and then there is a new auction for who goes first. Track is built by placing a track piece in a hex. At the end of each quarter (3 months), all track that does not connect 2 cities is removed (some cities are more than 4 hexes away from any other city and you can only build 4 track pieces per month, or 12 per turn if you build track every month). Once you have connected 2 cities, you can deliver one freight counter instead of building track. This is where color counts. If the cargo is Blue, it can only be delivered to a Blue city. If delivered, you move up one space on the VP track, and that means more money at the end of each turn (well, that's not exactly true, but...) With only a John Bull card, you can only deliver cargo to the next station on the line and you can never move cargo - just deliver it, then get the VP and the cargo gets removed from the map. To deliver 2 stations away, you need to buy the next engine card, 3 stations requires the engine with a 3, 4 an even bigger engine, etc. Each delivered cargo gets 1 VP per station the cargo travels thru, with the VP going to the owner of the track taken, so, you will share some VPs with your opponents. The face up cards that you get to use add an interesting twist to the game. Some are: (1st person to buy a 3 engine gets bonus VPs), (build a hotel for free in Atlanta and get 1 VP for each cargo delivered there, no matter which player delivered the cargo), take 2 actions immediately this month instead of 1, get 10 points for completing the connection from NY to Chicago (that won the game for me). We played Tycoon for at least 3 hours, but did not finish. But, we were also slow, as only 1 player had ever played the game before and that was one time.
Last edited by Orange46
on Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Quality is Job 1.01