Faster than a speeding locomotive

[Also posted at the Ra’anana Boardgames Group site.]

Last night, there were seven of us, and we initially split into the fab five playing Steam and the dynamic duo playing Ticket to Ride – The Card Game.

Peleg and I were the dynamic duo. Ticket to Ride – The Card Game (TTR-TCG) takes some of the core mechanics of its big brother board game, and presents them through the prism of a card game which emphasizes two new and different elements: memory and damage dealing.

Memory: you build up colored cards towards the requirements of your Tickets. However, you accumulate these face down, and are not allowed to examine them till the end of the game. So, after a few rounds, it can be a bit of a challenge to remember what you have towards your various targets: do I have three blue and five red, or is it five blue and three red?

Damage: before you add Train cards to your supply (Track in the game, I think), there is an intermediary stage which involves you playing them in front of you, face up. The catch is twofold: you may only play a set of cards of two or more of the same color, or a group of exactly three – each a different color. And you may only play a color if the number of cards of that color is greater than the number in an opponent’s display. For example, player A has a display of 2 red cards. If I play red, I must play 3 red cards at least. Worse for player A, his 2 red cards are removed. So this game allows you to damage the efforts of other players.

As it happened last night, there were few such chances. (Generally, it’s not a good idea to damage an opponent for the sake of it; it’s better to concentrate on building what you need.) A couple of times I destroyed cards of Peleg’s, and he repaid the favor.

Scoring is for completing Tickets, with a number of bonuses available for completing Tickets to certain key cities.

At the end, I had lost track (sic) of my cards and had way too many Trains for the Tickets. In other words, I completed all my Tickets and had cards to spare. Peleg was similar, but not as bad as me. As for scoring, this was an incredibly tight game with the result coming down to the last city bonus. Peleg and I both finished in the top two…

On The Other Track

Rochelle, Yehuda, Laurie, Ofer and Abraham were the fab five. With Peleg retiring for studies, I started watching their game of Steam. However, it had taken the fab five as long to get through the rules explanation as the game of TTR – TCG had taken to complete, so I was persuaded against my better judgement to join in as the sixth player. I had to bail out before the end, so await Yehuda’s report on how it turned out. Meantime, what I will take from the experience is that Steam is not recommended with six players!