Wednesday, July 26, 2006

boardgame round-up

My boardgaming has been curtailed recently, as my daughter requested I spend fewer nights away from home gaming. Either the regular boardgame night or World of Alidor had to go, and I'm not about to jettison a regular D&D game lightly. But Saturday I got an opportunity to play a couple of games with my brother-in-law Jim and his sons Ian and Alex. We played two games neither of which I had played before. One of the afternoon's diversions was Thurn & Taxis, which was a cute little game about running routes through the German postal system. I had a good time but the amount of interaction between players is pretty low in this one. I couldn't see a good way to pimp over the leader and nothing can be done to ally yourself with another player. Not a bad game, but with the same group of hardcore gamers I'd much rather play Puerto Rico.

The other offering was my swank new copy of Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition. The aforementioned brother-in-law and his family got me this number for my birthday and I hadn't yet had an opportunity to play it. If you've played any of the previous Ticket to Ride installments you already understand 90% of this game. And if you like those games you'll probably like this member of the franchise. My sister doesn't like the little victory point chips stacked at nearly every city on the map. I agree with her that it's a clunky implementation, but that's not a deal-breaker for me. The rest of the game is absolutely gorgeous and well-designed. The train cards all have individual pictures of various Marklin brand toy trains (hence the name of the edition). These cards are so beautiful and clearly labeled that, according to rumour, this game is crossing over to model train enthusiasts who don't even intend to play the game. I got burned on this game, taking second place when first was within my grasp, due to two factors. First, I was paying attention to Jim's train inventory and he ran out earlier than I expected, ending the game earlier than I had hoped. And second, I had forgot for part of the game that, unlike previous Ticket games, there's no special award for longest contiguous route. I was chasing a phantom bonus for much of the game. Still, I had a great time and look forward to playing more Ticket to Ride of all varieties. It's a great line of games that are easy to teach to the non-hobbyist but engaging enough to keep the interest of the serious boardgamer.

I'd normally include a graphic of the Ticket to Ride box in a post like this, but for the past several days Blogger seems to be having trouble uploading pics. It's not just me either, I've seen other blogs reporting this problem. Thank goodness (or is that evilness?) that the Evil DM was able to upload his Wednesday cheesecake.