Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 12 September 2017

All aboard the number nein:-Ticket to Ride Germany

GameTicket to Ride Germany

Publisher: Days of Wonder

DesignerAlan R. Moon

Ticket to Ride Germany is a 2-5 player standalone version of the Ticket to Ride game series set in Germany. While it follows the same formula of set collection to claim routes to complete tickets, it also adds in a couple of new rules not seen in the original, while keeping the gameplay simple enough to be taught quickly. The new passenger system makes the game that much more tactile to play  and rewards what were previously sub-optimal strategies.

Ticket to Ride Germany is a game with very quick turns, as every turn you get 1 action. This action can be taking new train cards from either the 5 on display, or blind off the top of the deck. Alternatively you can use these train cards in coloured sets to claim routes, each route needs a certain number of trains in a specific colour and rewards you with points based on the length. When you claim a route you place your plastic train pieces along it to mark it as yours, each route can only have 1 player’s trains on it. In addition you get to take a passenger meeple from each city your new route connects. The final option is to take new tickets, tickets give you points if you successfully connect the two cities on the card with your train routes, however they penalise you for failing to connect them by the end of the game.

The game set up for 2 players, in a 2/3 player game only one side of each of the double/triple routes can be used to keep the game feeling claustrophobic.
Focusing on the new aspects of the Germany edition; passenger meeples are the major new addition. You can collect passengers every time you claim a route, however cities have a fixed number of passengers in them so they soon run out in popular areas. Passengers come in several colours and at the end of the game there are a healthy chunk of points for collecting the most of each colour. Unfortunately in a two player game this actually tends to balance out, not resulting in big point swings, but in 3 player plus games this is a very neat mechanic that adds a lot to the game.

Tickets in Ticket to Ride Germany are split into long and short routes, and each time you draw more you can choose how many to draw from each pile, allowing you manage your risk/reward. The long tickets usually give substantially more points, however at the end of the game there is a 15 point bonus for the person who has the most completed tickets, so going for lots of short easy routes has it’s merits too.

Set up for the game, big cities get lots of meeple in them, but they also tend to require longer routes to get in to.
Ticket to Ride Germany adds a lot of choice to your tactics. While it lacks the depth of some of the expansion maps, like the UK map, it adds more play style options without being significantly more complex than the original. As such whatever you do you won’t feel overly penalised, and you can experiment with playing differently each game. You now have to really consider if you want to save up for that long route, which will get you lots of points, but only 2 passengers. Perhaps instead you should focus on completing all the size 1 routes to grab as many passengers as possible while they are available?

There is only one real downside to this version of the game, the set up requires cities to be seeded with passenger meeples. But no-where on the board is it printed how many go on each city! This means that every time you play the game you’ll need to be pulling out the instructions to work out how many go where. A relatively minor complaint perhaps, but the reality is that Ticket to Ride Germany simply doesn’t do much wrong. For a game that can be explained quickly and enjoyed by non gamers it has enough strategic depth to remain enjoyable for those of us who take things a bit more seriously, which makes it my new favourite standalone Ticket to Ride game


Ticket to Ride Germany was a review copy provided by Esdevium Games Ltd. It is available for an RRP of £38.99 at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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