Wednesday, 6 November 2019

boardgaming in photos: Ticket To Ride, Exit, Star Realms

18 Sep 2019. I taught my colleagues Ticket to Ride, and they all liked it. Ticket to Ride is a very consistent hit with new players. Edwin (red) misunderstood one rule, and that set him back severely. In Ticket to Ride, to claim a grey route, you may use any colour, just that for one route you must use just one colour. Edwin did follow this. What he misunderstood was that for other subsequent grey routes, he also had to use the same colour he chose for the first ever grey route he claimed during the game. This made things horribly difficult for him, and he had to take jokers (locomotives) frequently. The rest of us only realised this when he had already taken and played many jokers. By then it was too late to undo. He had already fallen far behind. Maybe it was my fault for not explaining the rule clearly enough.

Edwin, Xiaozhu, Benz. My copy is the first edition, and the cards are small. Benz complained that they were too small. I told him they changed the cards to the standard size only from the second edition onwards.

27 Sep 2019. The cards in the first edition were small for a reason. In this game you will often need to hold many cards in your hand. Smaller cards make this easier. I guess many players preferred bigger cards, so soon enough the publisher relented.

Later we taught Carol and Ruby to play, and they too liked the game. Carol was the nasty one, proactively making moves to block others. In this photo you can see her (red) intentionally blocking Ruby's (yellow) network. Ruby had to take a roundabout path to link up her network. She had to pretend to be unfazed, when she was probably screaming inside.

The full 5-player game is exciting, because you can get blocked easily, even when nobody is doing it on purpose. The board is more crowded.

4 Oct 2019. I taught my friends the Asia map, specifically the team game side of it. We did the full 6-player game, with three teams of two. I partnered Xiaozhu, Benz partnered Ruby, and Edwin partnered Carol. One challenge in the team game is you are not allowed to discuss your hand cards with your partner. So you don't know exactly which cities he is trying to get to. There is a special action which allows you to place tickets from your hand onto a team card rack, so that your partner can see these tickets. This costs one turn.

Another challenge in the team game is you and your partner do not share the same pool of trains. You each have your own pool, and if you run out of trains, you don't get to use your partner's trains. You will be stuck being unable to play any more trains onto the board. You can still draw cards, and help your partner that way. Whenever you draw cards, you must place one on the team card rack (so your opponent can use it), and put the other into your hand.

Cards on the team card rack are shared and accessible to both team members.

17 Oct 2019. There are four factions in Star Realms. Within the same turn if you are able to play two or more cards of the same faction, you often get to trigger additional faction abilities. In this screenshot, I had a hand of seven. Normal hand size is five, and it was due to an event card that I had two more cards. However, three were non-faction cards, and the remaining four were from all four different factions. What kind of lousy luck is this?! I couldn't trigger any faction ability. I guess I can only blame myself for poor card purchase choices.

27 Oct 2019. Exit: The Sunken Treasure is one of the easier Exit games, at difficulty level 2 (out of 5). Maybe it is because my family and I have played quite a few of these, so we have a general feel of how the riddles work. The more we play, the easier they become.

This time the story is about exploring a shipwreck, then getting trapped inside, and thus trying to escape. The timer element is explained as oxygen running out.

This time we used the app. The app doesn't actually do much. We used it mainly as a timer. The app read out the scenario, which was nice. It built the atmosphere. As we played, there were background sound effects as the clock ticked. When we completed the game and stopped the clock, the app helped calculate our score. The app comes with a tutorial, but we didn't need that since we had played quite a few Exit games.

We completed the game in less than an hour, and we did not use any clue, so we scored the full 10 points.

If you are an Exit veteran you can probably skip this one. If you are new, or you plan to buy a gift for a non-gamer or casual gamer, this is a good choice.


john said...

No wonder your friend had a hard time playing the game: I think you got the grey route rule confused. A player can use any colour set to make a grey route. I don't where you got the "player must the same colour all the time" rule from... (Maybe one of the later editions or variants of the game?)

Hiew Chok Sien 邱卓成 said...

It was a rule misunderstanding on Edwin's part. The other new players had no problem and they understood the rule correctly. Maybe it was how I explained it that confused him. Sometimes we experienced players take for granted certain common concepts and practices in boardgames, and we don't explicitly explain every detail. We already assume people are familiar with some concepts.


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