Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ticket to Ride vs. Ticket to Ride vs. Ticket to Ride. Once the novelty of Grand Theft Auto IV wore off, I've found myself getting my video game fix playing Catan virtually exclusively. But with the release of Ticket to Ride, that's where most of my video game time is now being channeled. I think long-term I'll stick with Catan, but Ticket to Ride is certainly addictive. Especially the neat little train graphic that reveals your final score. Unlike Catan, I've never played Ticket to Ride in its original board game format, but I imagine scoring might be a minor nuisance (not as bad as Carcassonne, I'm sure). But since it's release last week, a day has not passed when I did not play multiple games of Ticket to Ride (I've gotten in a few rounds of Catan, too). It helps that a game is relatively short, 15 minutes or so playing off-line. I'm sure online play probably doubles the time needed; I haven't played yet online, I wanted to get the basics down pat, first.

One complaint I have, is I have lost multiple games because I got colors confused. Nothing's worse than saving up red cards and suddenly realize you're trying to build an orange line. Ditto purple and blue. I notice they mention this at the above-linked review, so it might be an issue above and beyond my color-blindness. Early on, I also made some mistakes about city locations; the name of the city would appear right above a dot, and I wouldn't realize until it was too late that the label actually applied to the dot towards the left. But I soon got that figured out, and even the color issues aren't as bad now that I'm aware of the problem, and since the colors are static, I've pretty much memorized the more troublesome routes. Catan, to its credit, has a color-blind mode, optional offline and standard to ranked online matches, which helps me out.

But yeah, if you have an Xbox 360, check out both games, if you haven't already. I always feel a little silly, having bought an expensive video game console, only to spend most of my time playing simple board games on it. But they're hella fun, and Catan in particular is brilliantly executed, and the computer AI makes for a skilled opponent, mostly.

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