Game Night

Ticket to Ride is the new Alan Moon game from Days of Wonder, another train game. It feels a bit like Transamerica meets Alan Moon; you’ve got secret routes you have to connect by building track, which you do by melding sets of cards from your hand. You acquire those cards, of course, by drafting from a set up 5 face-up cards; each connection on the map has a difficulty (number of cards you need to build it) and a color, indicating the suit of cards you need to play. During your turn, you can either build a route (meld), draft new cards, or acquire new destinations. That’s about it. Still, it’s actually not bad I thought. It’s certainly easily identifiable as an Alan Moon game, but it’s different enough from his other stuff to be worthwhile, and it’s reasonably short with sensible numbers of people it seems (3-4). I think the game goes up to 6, but I absolutely would not play with that many; there are lots of chokepoints on the board where only one player can build, and with lots of players it would seem very easy to get shut out and much more random, and also that the game would take much longer to play. But all told still not bad, it’s got the classic Alan Moon tension between making build-up and actual scoring moves, the tension over when the game is going to end, and the fact that watching what people draft can give you a sense of what they’re trying to do and give you a little more control. One I’ll happily play again.

Oasis, on the other hand … the others had not played this one, and my recollection from the last time I played was that it was uninspired but not actually bad, so we gave it a try. Early on in the game I was thinking, “OK, this seems like it might be all right after all”. Well, actually, no. This has no officially been downgraded from “uninspiring” to “pretty weak”, on account of being far too control-light for the amount of work involved. Give me Reibach any day instead.

Last was Mü. Several people here love it, so I still play it occasionally, but it’s interesting the degree to which it just doesn’t move me at all anymore, even though I used to be a big fan. I know a lot of people grew up playing cards a lot, which I did not, and so while I like some trick-taking style card games in a casual kind of a way, I guess I’m more of a boardgame guy.

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