The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Posts Tagged ‘TTR

Recent Actual Gaming



Apart from Bridge and Rock Band, a few other games have managed to hit the table.

Notre Dame remains a nice middle-length game from last year. Requires a little bit of thought, but isn’t really taxing. The sad part (for me) is that N.D. seems to have a ‘one-true path’ to victory. Actually, it’s more of a “one path to avoid.” Early game victory points are rarely worth forgoing resources for. (In last night’s game, I got 5 VPs in Turn 5, doubling my score, and won by a dozen points).

In the “Blast from the past” category (one that’s showing up more often) is “Two Hedgehogs #$(*ing in the dark.” [One point of Geek-cred to any who explains where I got that title from]. I’ve no doubt that the sheer number of included variants means that there’s one combination of 2+ variants that makes this the greatest game ever made. Sadly, the sheer number of included variants and my rate of play means the universe will end before I’ll discover it. So I’ve settled for just owning an amusing filler.

I don’t remember the last game’s name, but it’s a “Think of objects the fit the category.” Everyone gets 30 seconds to write down the answer, and then secretly bids a number they think they can read. Players read from low-number to high (with ties broken clockwise by the moderator, who moves around the table). And it’s boggle-style. Once someone says an answer it’s done. But whoever bid lower gets to score it. If you make your bid, you get it. If not, get zero. This scoring could be transported to any boggle-style game.

I should play Ticket to Ride:1910 more often. I slightly prefer Marklin, but 1910 has a much simpler setup. I also tried a second game of Nexus Ops, which works by giving plenty of incentive to expand and attack, and (almost) no incentive to turtle. Other designers should take note.

Written by taogaming

June 28, 2008 at 8:56 am

Posted in Session Reports

Tagged with , ,

Visiting the Oldies (Monday Night Gaming)

Let’s see …

Played Jambo twice. First game was a rout, as I picked up two card drawers in my opening hand, and Michael got none for several turns. I got a strong start in the second game, but my opponent caught up with a huge turn (making 3 trades with the card that adjusts trade numbers by two in your favor). I did pull it out, selling my utilities to the boat for the final trade.

I narrowly squeezed out a win in TTR-Marklin. Two big passenger runs and finished a long ticket on the final turn. A narrow loss in Modern Art, no real mistakes but I let Michael take some profit figuring that he’d end the game at a good time for me. He did, but edged me out by $3. Should have bid him up a bit. I underestimated the amount he made by sales, and figured the round he missed (on an equal sign passing him) would be enough lost income to give me a cushion.

We tried out the new Traumfabrik. English is nice, but I prefer the original’s elegance. And real names. Still, great to see it in print.

And a rare face-to-face game of San Juan. (OK, they aren’t that rare, but compared to the number of games I’ve played online ….)

While I wouldn’t have minded taking a new title for a spin (although I balked at starting Imperial towards the end), all those games are great.

The only new title? A quick roll of Yspahan, which took 30 minutes. It’s too soon to call this a classic, but I’m enjoying it.

Written by taogaming

January 22, 2007 at 11:43 pm

Other thoughts on recent gaming

Played a ‘full’ scenario of BattleLore. I’m not sure I agree with the idea that we’re Beta Testers, but I was disappointed with the lack of scenarios. [More accurately, the number of "teaching" scenarios.] This battle, with the full war council (aka “Magic”) showed off the system nicely and felt balanced. Or chaotic enough to overshadow any imbalance. With a hundred scenarios available online, that’s a perfectly fine backup plan. I’m sure “the community” will rate the interesting & balanced scenarios (eventually).


Colossal Arena
continues to deliver the goods. I’ve upped my rating to a ‘9.’ This things been out for a decade (ish) and I’m still pulling it out 2-3 times a year.

I played Tongiaki again. I could have sworn it was completely random, but this game felt like I had some minor control. Perhaps we had a rule wrong last time (several years ago, and I vilified the game online). Never let it be said I don’t admit my mistakes. Now rated a full point higher (Four!).

Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is still a beautiful, overproduced game. No change of opinion here.

1910 improves over over the base Ticket to Ride. (Fewer long tickets along the six routes, and the “Most tickets” bonus card encourages smaller routes. Both are nice changes). But its still the same game, I doubt anyone is going to feel differently about it.

And Roma and San Juan are just machines.

Written by taogaming

January 3, 2007 at 10:01 pm

Posted in Session Reports

Tagged with , ,

More from the Gathering

A few new games:

Ticket to Ride Marklin — Alan Moon has described Ticket to Ride as a game of chicken. ‘Everyone wants to keep drawing cards to get to long routes, but wait too long and you get cut off.’ I certainly see that with Marklin. Whenever you place a route, you can place a passenger. And you have a fourth turn type … move a passenger along the board, picking up scoring chits. You also have a card that lets your passenger take one leg on an opponents train. So now you want to build a nice long route with lots of stops (since the tokens are based on stations), but if you wait too long other passengers can swoop in and take the better tokens. Tickets are split into long and short routes, several destinations are foreign countries, that have several stations (but serve as endpoints) that are equivalent from a ticket standpoint. And a very interesting board, with half the map being small grey routes. It’s still Ticket to Ride, but didn’t add the randomness of Europe. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, but my gut feeling says that those who like TTR but thought it was a bit light may like this. I may buy it.

Yesterdays long game was Indonesia, which I loved at the three hour mark and merely liked when it ended at five hours. Our game had a two turn pause that most games won’t, so I suspect that it was an oddity. One player has now played roughly a dozen times, and said all the games felt different. An amazing accomplishment, if true. (As with Caylus, all the luck is in setup).

Roma adds another filler to my growing arsenal. After my initial few plays, I think I’ve played ~8 more times. So it’s already on the 10+ list. We do play with house rules, but I’ll almost certainly be getting this.

Thurm und Taxis appears very popular. I got to play yesterday and I can respect that opinion. One player compared it to showmanager (with respect to drafting cards), but you pick up locations and have to build a long chain of routes, with lots of different scoring constraints. That’s a good description, but here’s what I’m thinking — in showmanager (et al) you don’t have much forward planning. But here you have quite a bit of planning … what routes you want, how you are going to get scoring chits (which you can earn for filling areas with houses, putting at least one house in each area, making long deliveries (which take time but don’t necessarily give more houses), and optimally handling the timing of routes. A planning game, but you have the showmanager card drawing mechanic. I think there’s a dissonance there, but it was enjoyable enough. I think this will eventually trigger my Tikal reaction and I’ll stop playing after my 3rd or 4th game. [Tikal Reaction -- a game that I think has strategy but that doesn't hold my interest when it's not my turn.]

More later …

Written by taogaming

April 10, 2006 at 1:09 pm

Sticky Web

Things of note around this inter-web:

I think everyone knows I like Caylus, but it’s not deeper than Chess.

Incidentally, I’ve played several Padawans recently [it's early to be crowning Jedi] and had reasonable success. I’ll probably write up some more thoughts in a few weeks.

Ekted argues that Simultaneous decisions equals randomness. I don’t prefer to call it random, but that’s really just semantics. Game Theory (sweet, sweet game theory) posits that optimal play usually involves picking the selections randomly with proper odds. In most interesting systems. So the system isn’t strictly random, but it’s effectively random, which is what counts.

I’ve always wanted to try Ardennes ’44, but 10 hours? Pass.

Someone’s got an alternate dice tower advocating Advanced Squad Leader. For a second I thought I’d entered Bizarro-land.

Barnes & Noble’s 75% sale got me a few games. OK, a spare War of the Ring set (which I could sell or trade, or keep in case I ever decide to paint a set, or need spare parts). And several games too terrible to mention on a family site. Or even here. Too bad there were no copies of Doom or Descent left. I’d buy them at $15….

I have weird conversations with my daughter, too. None like this, though.

Personally, I think a bright 6 year old can handle Ticket to Ride.

Written by taogaming

February 17, 2006 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Misc

Tagged with , ,

Post Groundhog Gaming

Last night we had guests over for brownies and gaming. Lot’s of blasts from the pasts. Power Grid, Puerto Rico, Fearsome Floors and Ricochet Robots.

That means I’ve played Puerto Rico fifty times (face to face).

I’m also played Ticket to Ride with my daughter today. She wins about 1/3rd of the time using the monomaniacal powers of youth, by drawing lots of cards (mystery, especially) playing long routes, and connecting her starting tickets, no more. It works fairly well.

Online, Caylus rules with an iron fist. I’m definitely starting to respect the “VP + Money track” and just give up on blue buildings unless it’s easy. One thing I do know is that if one player builds the mason/lawyer/architect, the players who ignore the blue track and don’t build said buildings can run away with the game. Remember, any sufficiently complex system invites parasites. Damn VP track running parasites. There are several players online, the Jedi of Caylus, and I’m not sure if they’re just using the strategy guide better (fewer mistakes, etc) or if they see something I don’t. I’ve started watching quite a few games. Perhaps I’ll figure it out.

Written by taogaming

February 4, 2006 at 6:37 pm

Gaming with Little Miss

On New Years, I told my daughter that she was probably old enough to play “Daddy’s Games.” Needless to say, she beemed with pride. We’ve mainly been playing Settlers of Catan (with Jacqui); she wins often. It’s a forgiving game, given the dice and that Jacqui and I will rob each other rather than Rebecca, unless she’s in the lead.

I’ve also introduce Ticket to Ride, which she wants to play again. I don’t think she has a realistic chance to win (without deliberately throwing the game), so I’m pushing Settlers for now.

Written by taogaming

January 8, 2006 at 6:11 pm

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