Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Days of Wonder, 2-3 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $25)
One of the most popular games in recent history has come from the talents of Alan Moon: Ticket to Ride (featured in the Spring 2004 GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT). Not only has the game won many honors, it has also spawned a series of sequels in its wake including Ticket to Ride: Europe (Spring 2005 GA REPORT), Ticket to Ride: Märklin Edition (Spring 2006 GA REPORT) and the USA 1910 Expansion (Winter 2007 GA REPORT) and it hasn’t stopped yet! The latest entry in the series is Ticket to Ride: Switzerland which brings the game play of the series into the heart of Europe.
Ticket to Ride: Switzerland is NOT a complete game. To play this expansion, you need to borrow components from previously released games, specifically 40 trains per player and 110 train cards. What the expansion DOES provide is a new board depicting Switzerland with rail lines extending into France, Germany, Italy and Austria, 46 new Destination Tickets and rules in no less than eight languages! (Fortunately, English is one of them!) This latest expansion keeps the basic game mechanics of the previous members of the family but there are a few differences that give this entry a personality of its own.
First of all, there is a twist to the Destination tickets. 34 of the new tickets operate as one would expect: players must seek to link the a specific city to another specific city by game’s end to earn the listed points. But 12 of these new Destination Tickets are different. These new tickets list city to country or country to country destinations offering up to four different routes that may be built to score points. Despite multiple options, a player will only score points for the highest completed connection. (He will NOT score for more than one completed connection for the same ticket.) The penalty for not completing a Destination Ticket is still the same; you deduct the value of the what would have been a completed route from your score. With the multiple Destination Tickets, however, should you fail to complete a connection, you only lose the LOWEST scoring route, a more forgiving approach to scoring. Another change of importance is the use of the Locomotive cards.
In this expansion, Locomotive cards can be chosen in the same fashion as other cards so, for example, you can pick two Locomotive cards from the display (rather than only one and have your turn end). But their use is restricted. Locomotive cards may NOT be used on regular routes and may ONLY be played when constructing tunnel routes. And there are a TON of tunnel routes to be constructed here, another difference from the other games in this series.
All the games in the Ticket to Ride series provide players with routes to complete and Destination Ticket goals to fulfill in order to accumulate points. In our plays of the other games, the emphasis is on completing routes, especially the long routes, to earn the majority of your points. Ticket to Ride: Switzerland changes that approach.
In TTR: Switzerland, the routes available to be built are generally shorter than in the other games in the series. There is only one route of six spaces, none longer, with most falling into the three spaces or less category. Players must shift their attention from the building of long routes to completing Destination cards which is now where the big points lie. This also makes it even more important for you to be aware of what your fellow players are building. A smart player will try to play a little defense and block some routes, forcing an opponent who sees a big point connection in his future to have to settle for a lesser valued connection or, worse for your opponent and better for you, get saddled with a loss for an incomplete route. Another positive: the game is designed for two or three players so that, with a smaller group, you can get the full flavor of the original game without missing a thing.
The Ticket to Ride series has been successful for very good reasons. It is attractive in presentation, easy to learn and has enough depth to warrant repeated and satisfying plays. Ticket to Ride: Switzerland adds a certain freshness to the game that will keep its fans riding those rails while enjoying some new scenery. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Herb Levy
Winter 2008 GA Report Articles
reviewed by Herb Levy
(Z-Man Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $49.99) With 2008 being a presidential election year, it is only natural that the marketplace will find itself swell with games seeking to simulate the event. But rather than looking at the upcoming election, 1960: The Making of the President looks back to one of the closest elections of the last ...Read More
Reviewed by Joe Huber
(Lookout Games, 1-5 players, ages 12 to adult, 30 to 2 1/2 hours; about $70) The ranking system on BoardGameGeek is fairly good at keeping new games from rising too quickly in the ratings – unless a game is a runaway hit. In 2005, Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT) rose to the top ten in short order. In 2006, it was ...Read More
reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-120 minutes; $55) Despite being a relatively new company, Ystari Games has, to its credit, released a remarkable series of very strong games. Ys (Winter 2005 GA REPORT), Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT), Mykerinos (Summer 2006 GA REPORT), Yspahan (Winter 2007 GA REPORT) and Caylus: Magna Carta (Fall 2007 GA REPORT) read like ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Robot Martini Games, 3-4 players, about 20 minutes; $5.99) With 2008 being an election year in the United States, it is only natural that games with an election as a focal point would appear in the marketplace. And so it is with, Ballot Bots, a reworked version of a three player game called Treeo, published by Robot Martini Games (www.robotmartini.com) where ...Read More
Reviewed by Chris Kovac
(Red Juggernaut Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 60-90; $49.99) Battue is a very thematic area conquest boardgame designed by Jim Long where you get to play competing barbarian hordes overrunning and looting a Roman city. The barbarian with the most loot (a combination of loot cards and controlling the high value building tiles) at the end of the game ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Eggertspiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 75-120 minutes; $59.95) Suppose Puerto Rico (Spring 2002 GA REPORT) and San Juan (Spring 2004 GA REPORT) had a child. What do you suppose it would look like? Well, if the child was delivered by the design team of Michael Rieneck and Stefan Stadler, the same team who gave us Pillars of ...Read More
THE STRENGTH TO LEAD If you want to get sort of philosophical, it seems as though you can divide people into two basic groups: leaders and followers. Some people like to "go with the flow", following a trail already blazed, having full confidence that the direction to be taken is safe, secure and true. On the other hand, some people like to make the decisions, ...Read More
(Z-Man Games, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60-120 minutes; $55) One of the great games that has flown under the radar in recent years is Tycoon, a candidate for the Spiel des Jahres that received feature treatment from us nearly 10 years ago in the Summer 1998 GA REPORT (and reprinted in this issue). This brilliant game by the design team of Wolfgang Kramer ...Read More
(With the release of El Capitan, a revised edition of Tycoon featured in this issue - we thought it would be interesting to see the reception Tycoon received when it made its debut. So, we've "flashbacked" to Kban's review of the game from the Summer 1998 issue of GA REPORT.)
(Jumbo International, out of print) As designed by Wolfgang Kramer and Horst-Rainer Rösner, Tycoon is ...Read More
Reviewed by Jeff Feuer
(R&D Games/Abacus Spiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.99) One of the things we love about Euro Games are those tiny little side rules and exceptions that go along with the basic rules. Some games are like Puerto Rico (Spring 2002 GA REPORT) and all the players need to know every last one of the rules ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy LEAGUE OF SIX (Czech Games Edition, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; about $50) The title sounds like a band of superheroes out to right the wrongs of villainous criminals. It's not. The title actually refers to six towns of the Holy Roman Empire that, in 1430 AD, joined together to preserve their commercial interests and protect their security ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (MOD Games/JKLM Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 45 minutes; $39.99) The time is England in the 5th century with Saxons and Celts clashing for control. In Macht & Ohnmacht (Power & Weakness), the struggle within the struggle is critical as not only knights but magicians too, operating in cycles, will determine which side will win. Macht & Ohnmacht (Power ...Read More
Reviewed by Al Newman
(Adlung-Spiele, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; about $10) Adlung-Spiele makes nothing but inexpensive card games but over the last few years, several have emerged as genuine gems. Verrater (Winter 1999 GA REPORT) and Meuterer (2000), both designed by Marcel-André Casasola Merkle, have become revered as classics and are highly rated at Boardgamegeek.com. Quite a few others have turned ...Read More
[We welcome first time contribute Andrea "Liga" Ligabue, a well known gamer from Italy with a varied background, broad interests and a keen insight in gaming. As he says: "I was born in Modena in 1972 and since my childhood I really enjoyed playing and inventing games. My real "debut in society" was when I was 16 years old and I entered for the first ...
Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Days of Wonder, 2-3 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $25) One of the most popular games in recent history has come from the talents of Alan Moon: Ticket to Ride (featured in the Spring 2004 GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT). Not only has the game won many honors, it has also spawned a series of sequels in its wake including Ticket ...Read More