Thursday, September 04, 2008


Yet America is a poem in our eyes; its ample geography dazzles the imagination, and it will not wait long for metres.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson,

“America's one of the finest countries anyone ever stole.” ~Bobcat Goldthwaite

Alright yes first and foremost I’m going to bullet point Ticket to Ride (the Original USA map) game in a light that will probably annoy some, confuse most and possibly piss off a few. I like Ticket to Ride because:

** Well the first edition of this amazing series was based in America!

** Once the 1910 USA expansion came out it solidified my love of this map and this instance of this game. Again making the best of the series (in my opinion) America!

** When you think of trains in the era of the original game you tend to think about those tracks crossing America which is probably why it’s based in America!

So I’m proud to be an American and TtR brought forth Euro game mechanics, from a British game designer who’s games I tend to like and based the whole thing in my beloved country. Without going into a long dissertation on this country I’ll just give you the quick synopsis. This country does have some serious problems and our current political system will not fix them, ever. That’s all you’ll get out of me so stop asking. Anyone who knows me in the gaming world knows that’s more than I’m use to saying. Hell when I started the gaming club here in Gainesville, FL the first (and only) rule was “No talking religion or politics or you go home.” So there, I’ve said my peace now let’s move on to the game.

As mentioned a moment ago, the game is designed by Alan R. Moon (look in the picture...he's playing the original Ticket To Ride!) who’s game mechanics I enjoy because of the limiting nature of his designs. Typically speaking in a Moon game you have about a thousand things to get done in the time it takes to get 20 things done in. Hard decisions must be made. Still TtR pushes on with a brilliant method of never making you feel like you are totally screwed out of a connection as there’s always another way around…it may not be the most direct route but hey that’s gaming isn’t it?

I enjoy the simple nature of the game. There are only ever 3 actions. Draw cards, play cards/lay trains, draw new tickets. That’s it. One action per turn, even though you want at least 2 actions almost every turn, you get one action and that is it! This design allows this game to be quickly taught to anyone. Literally anyone and I don’t care if they are hobby gamers or not, they WILL understand this game.

Having owned this game since it’s inception in 2004 I can say that I’ve taught this game to many a game player. I’ve run it at conventions and toted it around with me on holidays. I’ve broke the bits down to baggies and shoved board/cards/baggies into suitcase and very much like the theme of the game itself traveled this game around the United States. The game is always well received and as a result I can count a verified 9 copies of the game that I am responsible for selling. Granted I believe the number to a lot higher than that but there are 9 copies that I can be positive were sold due to me. (You’re welcome Days of Wonder.) The game got a good bit of main stream coverage with an article on board games mentioning it in Reader’s Digest and it was sold on the shelves of Toys-R-Us. By and afar this game has etched itself into gaming history stronger than many other games out there. Throw in the expansions and the other versions of the system and you’ve got a gaming dynasty . . .and that’s why I like Ticket To Ride.

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