27th Nov - Ticket to Ride: Switzerland pt2

Steve's Report
Eschewing all the new designs from Essen, Richard decided to sample another railway franchise this week, in the form of the Switzerland expansion (so called) for Ticket To Ride.
The most important differences between this and the standard gauge are that it is for only 2 or 3 players, and locos cannot be used on normal routes, only for toll routes, of which there are quite a few. The tickets are also a little different. Some provide a choice of connections, and there appear to be duplicates of these, as I discovered when I drew a second ‘link Italy to France, Germany or Austria’ ticket in my only tickets action of the game. No doubt there is a rule we missed that says you can’t hold two identical tickets but, without this, the fact that I was the only player interested in long north/south routes was an important factor in my eventual victory. Richard and Garry did try to block my access to Germany towards the end of the game (the smaller number of players seems to encourage blocking moves, perhaps because there is no option to leave it to someone else), but not knowing how important it was to me, they left an alternative route open. There was also a point in the game where I had a lot more trains left than the other two, but Richard preferred to amass a collection of 10 mostly low value tickets rather than end the game quickly, and Garry seemed to be having trouble with his last few connections as he was drawing a lot of cards blind. In the end everyone managed to place all of their trains, and my slightly higher building score plus the high average value of my 7 tickets gave me the edge.
Although the Swiss map does not obviously have more pinch points or fewer alternative routes than the maps for more players, the game still manages to build the same tension between completing routes and collecting cards that makes the longer games so satisfying, and it is a welcome addition to my slowly growing list of worthwhile games for three.

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