July 25, 2008

Ticket to Ride: Europe Comes to Xbox Live

TicketToRideEurope.jpgThat was fast. Hot on the heals of release of Ticket to Ride: Xbox Live, which launched just a month ago, the release of Ticket to Ride Europe has been announced, and it's just a week away. On next Wednesday, July 30th, Ticket to Ride: Europe [Amazon, Funagain] will hit the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace for 600 Microsoft points, and be available as add on content to the original Ticket to Ride Xbox Live. Wednesday can't come soon enough.

Ticke to Ride Europe is the second installment in the series, which moves the map 3,000 miles eastwards and is set in the European age of rail in the early 20th century. Like the original, players compete against one other to gain the most victory points, gained from playing sets of colored cards to complete individual train routes, and by stringing these routes together to complete pan European destinations drawn randomly from a deck. However, there are a few new mechanics that mix up the game, for the better.

For one, the destinations are drawn from one of two decks: either short routes, or long routes, or you could draw from both. This balances out the route mechanics so you're not tragically stuck trying to connect Seattle to New York with only 10 cars left in the late game.

Also new to the series are Train Stations which you can place on the board use an opponent's train route to help complete one of your destinations. These pieces come at a cost: You must discard cards, lose a turn, and dock yourself 4 victory points, so use them wisely.

TicketToRideEuropeBoard.jpgFinally Ticket to Ride Europe includes two new routes types: Ferries and Tunnels. The Ferry routes hug the coast of the Mediterranean, and connect England to France and Holland, and Scandinavia to mainland Europe. Unlike standard routes, Ferry Routes require at least 1-2 of locomotive wildcards to complete, in addition to standard train cards.

The Tunnel routes plow through the Alps, and offer some random risk to their completion: the player who wishes to complete a tunnel first plays the cost of the route, say 3 Blue Train cards. He/she then flips the top 3 cards off the top of the train deck, and must pay an additional card for each Blue card that's revealed. This can be nasty for ill prepared, or those players who are scrambling to complete a tunnel route before their competition beats them to the punch. Some Ticket to Ride aficionados dislike this mechanics, but we think they spice up the game, and we love 'em.

We'll let you know when Ticket to Ride Europe finally hits the Marketplace. Sometimes these releases are delayed at the last minute, but we hope that doesn't happen in this case. Hopefully we'll see some of you online!

Read More in: Board Games | Variants

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Posted by Critical Gamers Staff at July 25, 2008 1:37 PM

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