Jacob, Andrea and I really enjoy board games, or well, any interactive games really. Dice, cards, board. We have quite a few. Each Christmas, I usually add a few more.
This year, one of our additions was Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails. If you haven’t played a Ticket to Ride game before, it’s relatively simple. You have a board with a whole bunch of train routes laid out. For example, the classic edition has North America with tracks running from the East Coast to the West Coast, with lots of stops in between. Going from New York to Los Angeles, you’ll probably pass through about six other cities. Each “segment” is made up of 1-6 train car lengths, and a colour…so if you want to go from New York City to the next segment, that might be two black train cars long. If you pick up two black train cards, you can play them and claim the route — putting two of your train cars on the spaces. The goal is that there are a bunch of “ticket” cards that tell you to go from Vancouver to Miami, or El Paso to Knoxville, and if you complete the route, you get the points on the card. You take turns collecting cards and building routes, while trying not to get blocked by someone who takes one of your needed segments. It’s fun, but can be a bit repetitive. Some people add some house rules, but we tend to play standard when it is just the three of us, with a small tweak to the rules to make it less frustrating.
The rails and sails game, by contrast, uses the entire world as a map, or at least an old version of the world with old world or local names. But when you reach a port city, you stop building train networks and start building ship networks. So if you want to go from Marseilles to New York, you have to go through Edinborough, as that’s where the ship lanes go. And then take a train down to Marseilles.
It was a LONG game today. It wasn’t a lot more complicated, but it did change the dynamics and strategy for playing. But there are also a LOT of pieces to build networks with (both rails and sails), so it takes a long time to trigger the end of the game. We might use some house rules to shorten that time in the future, but it made for a much more lively game and was generally less frustrating but also less competitive too. There were few blockages, with really only 1 minor about mid-game and 1 major one near the end. In both cases, Jacob took a route that I was about to take, causing me to have to re-route considerably. There were a few quirks that didn’t quite work right, but that was also because we missed a rule that allows you to use wild cards as ships, not just trains.
Definitely a winner, with the only real complaint being the length. The rest is just noise. I’ll take the win — for buying the game. The winner for the ACTUAL game was Jacob by a considerable margin.