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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Board Games: Ticket to Ride

An Easter present this year, Ticket to Ride from publisher, Days of Wonder. It was created by Alan R. Moon, it says so right on the box, and shown in Wil Wheaton's first season of Tabletop on Youtube. I fell in love with this game watching him and his friends play. It is honest to goodness live action game play, give it a look.

This is considered a German style board game. Wikipedia describes German or Eurostyle board games as being simple, multi player games with medium to short play times. Simplicity does not reduce the fun factor here! The rules are not complicated and they do not rely overly much on luck as American games such as Monopoly tend to do. Not mentioned in the article is the characteristic of cooperative play rather than competitive game play. Settlers of Catan, published in 1995 is one such cooperative play game. And it is also the most popular by far though not the oldest of these german styled games.

During the last decade German or Eurogames have taken the world by storm, or so it would seem. They have been around since the 1950s. My first encounter with these games came in the early 90s when I was doing daycare. A local toy shop stocked Ravensburger brand games and puzzles. While more expensive, thus requiring careful investing, they were, and are, superior to most board games commonly available in the big box stores.

And thus, I can also say one of the biggest differences between American and German or Eurogames is the quality. From the professional quality of the designs, to the quality of the construction and the package-feel (the weight, texture and smoothness of the paper, weight, texture and sturdiness of the pieces) American games just do not have the same gravitas. Though, smaller game producers (publishers other than Parker Brothers and Hasbro) are keeping up with the competition, German games are the standard by which this game geek measures all others.

Initial game play went quick even though it was the first time that I've actually played. With three people it went pretty well, not super fun and hilarious like in the video. But it was fun enough for my friends to want to do it again. And that is what really counts. Wired magazine has a great article on German games and the Father of Cataan, Klaus Teuber.

When I get to Germany I want to be sure to get to the Essen Trade Show where new games come out and special editions can be had. One year, Baden-Wurttemberg had a special edition released in the region's honor. I am hoping for some special editions for Ticket to Ride Germany. Alan R. Moon, has made a permanent fan out of me.
Not from actual game play. Set up for photographic purposes only. 

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