Friday, September 26, 2008

TransAmerica


Kat tells me that this was the name of a movie about transvestites. This post is not about ladies with penises, however. It's about a board game. And trains. Big ones.

My friend loaned me a copy of this board game last week, and my wife and I got a chance to play it last night. It made a pretty good first impression, TransAmerica is a lot like Ticket to Ride. It's very easy to learn and accessible, it's got a nice blend of luck and strategy, and most importantly it's a lot of fun.

Each round begins with each player drawing 5 cities from the deck and keeps them hidden. These are the cities that player will be trying to connect their train tracks to during that round. On each turn, each player may play 2 track pieces (or 1 if going over rivers or through mountains.) If your tracks are touching your opponent's tracks, you can build off of their tracks as well. The first player to connect their cities ends the round. Player who haven't connected their cities lose points based on how far they are from success. The game ends when one player has lost more than 12 points total. Whoever has the most points remaining at that point win the game.

It's luck elements come from the 5 city cards you draw to start each round. It's not completely random, and the game mechanics ensure that your cities will be at least somewhat distributed across the map. It's still possible to get a very favorable or unfavorable draw though. Much of the planning and strategy comes from deciding if and when to merge your tracks with your opponent's. If I can take care of connecting my cities in the west while you build to the east, then simply connect my tracks to yours, getting to my eastern cities will be much easier. Of course, things will get easier for you to.

Some luck, some strategy, easy rules. TransAmerica is much fun, and I plan on buying it eventually.

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