Ticket to Taxi

Father’s Day weekend has come and gone and it was a great one for this particular dad — plenty of gaming and some fun time with my family and some friends.

I managed to get 6 games in this weekend: Outlive, City of Iron: Second Edition, my son’s tournament-style dice game, Ticket to Ride: New York, Drop It, and Ganz schön clever.

Closest game of the week: That would probably have to be my 4-player game of Drop It. My oldest son and daughter both played with me along with my wife. Final scores were 35-33-32-31, for a 4-point total spread from first to last. Per usual with this game, I had some awesome drops and some ‘duh!’ moments along the way — in the end, my son pulled out the victory.

Favorite play of the week: This is a tough one, I really enjoyed everything I got to play this weekend. At this moment, I’m leaning towards Outlive as my top pick. I love worker placement and the way it works in this post-apocalyptic title is very enjoyable. The decision-making throughout all six rounds and in each phase is very important, but the game allows enough variety and options so that each player has a chance to work towards end-game victory by their own design. (I also think it helps that I was playing with three tough competitors, thus making my victory one that feels that much sweeter).

Now, on to my Monday review, which is one of the other games that made it to the table this weekend –> Ticket to Ride: New York

The stats: Published in 2018 by Days of Wonder; designed by Alan R. Moon; Art by Cyrille Daujean and Julien Delval; 2-4 players; estimated play time at 10-15 minutes (at a full player count, I would expect closer to 20 minutes); ages 8+

The background: My dad is a big New York City fan — enjoys taking trips to see the Big Apple and has read plenty of books focused on various elements of NYC. Thus, my family decided to get him Ticket to Ride: New York as a Christmas gift this past December.

The setup and components: This version of Ticket to Ride comes with a folded board, featuring a simple outline of New York City, a deck of cards, which gets split into 18 Destination ticket cards and 44 transportation cards, plus 60 taxis (15 in each of the four player colors). For setup, everyone grabs their 15 taxis and both decks get shuffled. Each player starts with two destination cards and decides whether to keep 1 or both of them. Then, everyone also gets two Transportation cards to start with in their hand. That’s it, quick setup and now ready to play.

The Gameplay: The main focus of the game is to build taxi routes on the board that will allow you to complete the Destination cards in your hand. At the end of the game, you will score points for each completed Destination card (as printed on that card), but lose that same amount of points for any incomplete Destination.

On your turn, you may take one of three actions: draw Transportation cards, build a route, or draw Destination cards. To successfully build routes, you will need Transportation cards of the necessary amount and color to successfully complete that route (or individual transportation portion of the city). Completing longer routes = more end-game victory points.

To accomplish this, you will often need to draw Transportation cards, grabbing one taxi card (the wild card) or two colored cards. If you decide you need/want more Destination cards to complete, spend an action to draw two more and once again, decide to keep one or both of what you drew. The game end will trigger once a player has two or fewer taxis left in his/her supply. Everyone then gets one more turn before stopping to add up total points from routes built, destinations completed and/or incomplete, plus Landmarks visited.

Review Thoughts: I am a big fan of Ticket to Ride and thus I want to focus my thoughts on noting differences in the New York version of this franchise along with some overall feelings.

First off, Ticket to Ride: New York is a much quicker game. Whereas Ticket to Ride will probably last 45-60 minutes, this game is a breeze coming in at 10-20 minutes. Routes in this game are small — there is only one 4-length route and everything else is 1, 2, or 3 in length. Because of that, routes are completed more easily and thus more quickly — so that supply of 15 taxis will start to dwindle before you know it.

picture courtesy of meepleontheroad.games

Also, the map is pretty small, so finishing off a Destination card happens more quickly than what you would experience in the original game. I’m used to spending several turns building up my deck to complete a route and then needing multiple routes completed to finish a Destination card. In TtR:NY, that process is sped up, which means I found myself drawing new Destination cards more often.

Now, I’m not familiar with other versions of Ticket to Ride (I have only played the original and now this New York version), so the Landmarks scoring was new to me. I think its a fun addition that adds one more small element to how you might plan your strategy to maximize total points scored.

Overall, I still like Ticket to Ride better — the full experience with a more satisfying feeling when you complete long routes and lengthy Destinations. That said, I felt that Ticket to Ride: New York was a wonderfully produced version of this game that fits into a small game-time window. In 15 minutes, my son and I can setup, play, score, and box back up while getting a very enjoyable game experience in the process.

What are your favorite versions of Ticket to Ride that I should add to my game play experience?

For more board game reviews, stories, and discussions follow me on Twitter @boardgamecrock1

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