Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Condottiere – Eurogames vs. Fantasy Flight


Condottiere is an abstracted war-type card game where players are attempting to gain control of regions on the board through tactical card play by besting opponents in match-ups. There are two different versions of the game that differ in contents as well as game-play. The first editions of Condottiere were made by Descartes and Eurogames, and the most-recent edition is made by Fantasy Flight. The Fantasy Flight edition adds some cards, changes some rules and goals, and I will discuss and contrast those changes in this review.

The goal of both games is very similar, but the Fantasy Flight edition changed somewhat from the Eurogames edition. In the Eurogames edition, players win when they gain control of 3 adjoining regions; in the 2-3 player game, when they gain control of 4 adjoining regions. If no player reaches the goal, the player who has gained control of the most regions wins. In the Fantasy Flight edition, players also win when they gain control of 3 adjoining regions (4 regions in the 2-3 player game), or gain control of 5 regions total (6 in a 2-3 player game). In both editions, the gameboard is a map of Italy, broken into 17 regions, each with a capital city. Between the two editions, the Eurogames version has a bi-fold board ~ 18″ x 12″; the Fantasy flight version has a tri-fold board ~ 11″ x 9″. The maps and regions are the same, except for artwork differences.

The editions differ on components, as the Fantasy Flight has a different card-deck than the Eurogames version because of changes in the later edition. The Eurogames edition has six sets of colored cylinders which serve as city-control markers, a deck of 96 cards measuring ~ 6″ x 2″, a wooden block depicting the Condottiere mounted on horseback, rule book. Game box is a bookshelf-size box approximately the size of Puerto Rico.

Card breakdown
*63 Mercenary cards (15 x 1 strength, and 8 x each of 2,3,4,5,6, and 10 strength)
*15 Scarecrow cards
*6 Drum Cards
*3 Bishop Cards
*3 Surrender Cards
*3 Winter Cards
*3 Heroine Cards

The Fantasy Flight edition has six sets of wooden cubes which serve as city-control markers, a deck of 110 cards, close to standard playing card size, a black pawn for the Condottiere, a white pawn for the Pope, rule book. The Game box is a small box, approximately the size of a VHS cassette tape (Fantasy Flight Silver Line Box).

Card breakdown
*58 Mercenary cards (10 x 1 strength, and 8 x each of 2,3,4,5,6, and 10 strength)
*16 Scarecrow cards
*6 Drum Cards
*6 Bishop Cards
*3 Surrender Cards
*3 Winter Cards
*3 Spring Cards
*3 Heroine Cards
*12 Courtesan Cards

The game begins by dealing 10 cards to each player. A start player is chosen (youngest player in both rule sets) to place the Condottiere for the first round.

Every round begins with a player choosing a region and placing the Condottiere marker in it. Play moves around the table and each player has the option of playing a cards from his hand or passing. When a player passes, that player may not play any more cards for the round, but it does not necessitate that the player will lose the round. The round ends when all players have passed. When the round is ended, the player who has played the highest combined value of cards wins the round, and places one of his markers in the region’s city. Afterward, all played army cards are discarded. The round-winning player then receives the Condottiere marker and may select the next region to contest (unless another player has played Courtesan cards in the Fantasy Flight edition, see version differences below).

If no players participate in a battle, or if two or more players tie for the victory in a battle for a city, or if the Eurogames version’s Bishop is played, the contest ends in a draw, and the Condottiere piece is removed from the board and passed to the player to the left of the player who last had control of it.

Players do not draw cards between rounds, but instead play continues until all players’ hands but one are completely depleted of cards. At the end of a round when all hands have been depleted, players receive a new hand of 10 or more cards from the deck (see version differences below). At the end of a round, a player may also discard his entire hand if he has no Mercenary cards in it, which can be used tactically to bring about the end of a round and a re-deal.

The game ends when one player has gained control of 3 adjoining regions (4 in 2-3 player game).

Card Functions

*Mercenaries (both versions) — Basic unit of the game. The strength of the army is the sum of the mercenary cards played, modified by other cards.

*Scarecrow (both versions) — when played, allows a player to return a played mercenary card to his hand. Scarecrows cannot be used on special cards (i.e. all non-Mercenary cards).

*Drum (both versions) — Doubles the strength of all of that player’s Mercenary cards in play. The effects of multiple Drums do not stack, i.e. 2+ drums has the same effect as 1 Drum.

*Surrender (both versions) — Ends the battle immediately, and the player with the current highest army strength takes the region.

*Winter (both versions) — Reduces the strength of all Mercenaries in play to 1. If a player has a Drum in play along with his Mercenaries, his Mercenaries have strength 2. Winter does not affect the Heroine. In the Fantasy Flight version, if Spring is in play when Winter is played, Spring is discarded.

*Heroine (both versions) — A 10 strength army card. Is not a Mercenary card, and therefore is not affected by Winter (or Spring), not doubled by a Drum, cannot be pulled back into the hand with a Scarecrow, and is not discarded by the (Fantasy Flight) Bishop.

*Bishop / Sue For Peace (Eurogames version) — When played, the Bishop immediately ends the round, and there is no victor. The Condottiere marker is passed to the left player of the player who last controlled it.

*Bishop (Fantasy Flight version) — When the Bishop is played, the highest-valued Mercenary card in play is discarded. If there are multiple Mercenary cards that are of the highest value in play, they are all discarded. The player who played the Bishop card may take the Pope marker and place it on any region’s city — that city cannot be contested by the Condottiere so long as the Pope marker remains there.

*Courtesan (Fantasy Flight version) — A 1 strength army card. Is not a Mercenary card, and therefore is not affected by Winter (or Spring), not doubled by a Drum, cannot be pulled back into the hand with a Scarecrow, and is not discarded by the (Fantasy Flight) Bishop. The player who finishes the round with the most Courtesans in play takes control of the Condottiere marker instead of the player who won the round, though the player who won the round still places his marker on the contested city.

*Spring (Fantasy Flight version) — Adds 3 to the strength to the highest-valued Mercenary in play. If multiple Mercenaries are tied for the highest value, all receive the 3-strength bonus. If Winter is in play when Spring is played, Winter is discarded. In the case of a player with a Drum in play, the 3 bonus is added after the doubling effect.

Play Differences Between Editions

By far, the biggest play difference between the editions is the change in the function of the Bishop card. The Eurogames’s Bishop card is a very powerful and useful card. This version allowed a player to counter another player who was working a Heroine-Winter strategy to strongarm a territory, as declaring the round null would remove those cards with no victor. Additionally, the Bishop had great tactical use in a heavily-contested territory, as a player could “string-along” forces and wait to see what big Mercenary cards would come out, and then just nix the whole round. It also functioned well as a bail-out strategy in a head-to-head contest where another player is bringing out high-value Mercenaries, and works as a means to cut losses and cut down the opponent’s troops.

The revised version of the Bishop in the Fantasy Flight game has had all of its power removed, and has a devastating and random effect that tends to foul up the round by removing cards from other players’ play areas. For example, if two players were contesting an area, and player A has two 5-strength Mercenaries and a Drum, and player B has two 6-strength Mercenaries, playing the Bishop would have the effect of knocking out the player who is already losing the battle (20 v. 12). Likewise, if in a tactical move one might play the Bishop to take out a player that is leading the round with a some 6-strength Mercenaries, and another player plays a single 10-strength Mercenary, then the intended target is completely lost, and only the 10-strength will be removed. And finally, the change in the effect of the Bishop seems to slant more power of the game into the favor of the Heroine, which is un-removable, and unaffected by Winter.

The last of the Fantasy Flight Bishop’s abilities is very minor, and almost does not seem worthwhile. The player playing the Bishop may move the Pope token to a region, and while the Pope remains there, the region cannot be contested by the Condottiere. This does have the minor effect of blocking a player from a critical third region, but the effect still seems very under-powered.

The Courtesan has a minor effect on the game, and seems to take away some of the incentive for attempting to win a battle, as the Courtesan snatches away the Condottiere marker. But the heavy mix (12!) of Courtesans seems to just make the Courtesan contests flaccid affairs, as it only takes two players to have played a Courtesan to call that portion of the contest a draw, or turns it into a very small-scale arms race for the power to choose the next contested territory. The Courtesans also add seven more 1-strength cards into the game than were previously present and replace five of the 1-strength mercenaries, but since the Courtesans are special cards they are not doubled by a drum and cannot be pulled back by a scarecrow.

Spring is an interesting addition to the mix, as it allows for a counter to Winter, though the addition to all the highest-numbered Mercenaries in play also seems a fundamental change from the Eurogames’s version. In perspective, in the Eurogames version, a player could only affect his own battle line’s strength himself, except when the Winter card came into play, which affected all players. Both the Spring and the Bishop cards have wider-reaching effects which impact all players’ armies, both good and bad, but also somewhat randomly.

The last item that changed between editions is a minor change in card-draw. In the Eurogames version, when all but one player is out of cards at the end of the round, that player shuffles all 96 cards and all players would receive a new hand of 10 cards, plus two additional cards for every region controlled. In the Fantasy Flight version, the player who is left with cards may select two cards from his hand to keep over into the next deal, all of the other cards are shuffled, and players receive a new hand of 10 cards, plus 1 card for each region controlled.

My Opinion

I enjoy Condottiere as a relatively short, tactical card game. The interesting mix of cards and play decisions make for a compelling and quick game. The bluff tactics of playing large-value cards and then snatching them back with Scarecrows, coupled with other modifiers and the mystery of what cards are in play make for a fun game.

After playing the Fantasy Flight version, I’m not on board with their changes. The re-work of the Bishop card has made the Heroine far too powerful, as a player who has both Winter and a Heroine can only be stopped if someone has Spring, or can get in a pre-emptive strike with a Surrender. With the functionality of the original Bishop, a player could short-cut this strategy by declaring the round void. I think that the Spring card is an interesting addition, as it allows a counter for Winter, but I think that the effect of boosting some troops that might not be yours is a little random — Spring is great to boost your 6-troops, but you lose the effect for yourself if someone plays a 10. I feel that the Courtesan is clunky, as it is only a 1-strength army, which and has replaced 5 of the removed 1-strength Mercenaries, but added an additional seven 1-strength cards into the mix. Also, its non-interaction with Drums, and effects of taking control of the Condottiere marker seem to make it an artificial add-on that conflicts with the focus of the game about winning battles for cities.

My suggestion and recommendation would be to get the Fantasy Flight version (for availability and price), dump the Courtesans (despite that it throws off the 1-strength Mercenary mix), and use 3 of the 6 Bishops and play with them with the Eurogames rules.

The Fantasy Flight edition of Condotteire had a retail price of $25, but has apparently gone out-of-print since I originally wrote this article. The Eurogames version of Condottiere was last produced in the early 2000s.

Review: Sushi Go

Sushi Go

Sushi Go is an exceedingly cute card game in which players use card drafting to select a set of cards in order to try to get the high score and win. The basics of Sushi Go are easy enough that a child can understand them, but the real strategy of the game appeals to adults and young adults. The basic action of the game, choosing a card from a hand of cards and then passing the rest to a neighbor, is also the basic mechanism that is used in the award-winning game 7 Wonders.

Sushi Go is made of a fat deck of 108 cards of several different types. All of the cards have very cute, kawaii, depictions of sushi and other foods. Three of the card types are nigiri, and each is worth points. One card type is wasabi, and triples the value of nigiri that is played on it — so you have to play the wasabi on a turn before you play the nigiri on it. Roll cards show one, two, or three rolls on them, and the two player that have the most total rolls in front of them score points at the end of the round. There are four types of collection cards; sashimi and tempura only earn points if you get enough of them — two tempura and three sashimi to score. Dumplings are also scored by collecting, except their score grows the more dumplings you have. Finally, there are puddings — puddings operate a little different from the other collection pieces. With puddings, the player with the most puddings at the end of the game scores bonus points, but the player with the fewest puddings loses points. Finally, there is one card type that is not food. The chopsticks go down in front of a player and the player can use then on a later turn to exchange them for second card in the passed set of cards.

In each round, players are dealt a hand of cards, choose one, and pass the remaining hand to the next player. Once all the players have selected a card, they reveal them simultaneously. Players continue to this for the course of the round, selecting one card, passing the hand, and adding the new card to their play area. At the end of the round, players will have their selected cards and score them. After scoring, all the cards are cleared away (except for pudding, which hangs out until the end of the game). Players play three rounds, and the winner is the player with the highest points.

Sushi Go strategy uses elements of risk assessment and memory. While the cards pass around the table, players will have some information about what cards are available in the round, and players can use this knowledge to determine what cards would make the best selections, e.g. that there is enough sashimi in the round to give it a shot, or that grabbing dumplings will pay off with a good score. In addition, there is an element to the game of denying cards to opponents, for example you might choose to take a piece of nigiri to keep the next player from getting it to play on wasabi for triple points. Overall, Sushi Go is a fast and light game that

Sushi Go retails for $15.00 and is available at Target, and from online sources.

Review: Lost Cities

Lost Cities

Lost Cities is an interesting game for two that makes good use of risk-assessment, planning, and memory. Lost Cities is a card game by Reiner Knizia, and features his taste for simplicity in numbers. A game of Lost Cities is three rounds, and generally takes twenty-five to forty minutes. The game is themed on exploring to find the ruins of ancient civilizations, e.g. Machu Picchu, Atlantis, and the Egypitan pyramids.

Lost Cities consists of a sixty card deck in five suits. Each suit has the numbers 2-10 as well as three “handshake” cards. In addition to the deck of cards, there is a board that serves as a placeholder for discarded cards and also helps players to organize their expeditions. To start the round, players are dealt eight cards. On a player’s turn, the placer has two options — play a card to an expedition (one of the five suits of cards in an ascending pile) or discard a card to one of the piles on the board. Then the player draws a card to bring his or her hand back to eight cards, but the player can either draw from the draw pile, or take the top card from one of the discard piles on the game board. The key to the game is that when a player plays a card to an expedition, he or she has to play cards in an ascending order; thus, once a player has played a six to an expedition, the two-through-five can no longer be played to that expedition and only the seven-through-ten could potentially be played there. Handshakes are considered 0 points, and must be played before playing any numbers in the expedition, but they will multiply the score of the expedition at the end of the round. Choosing to start an expedition is a tough decision, as the score for an expedition at the end of the round will be the sum of the cards in the expedition, but less twenty points, so getting into an expedition where you can’t get many points on the table will ultimately lose you points.

The round proceeds with players playing-or-discarding cards and then drawing back up to eight, and the round is over when the last card is taken from the draw deck. Since players can draw from the draw deck and the discard piles, this has an important impact on the game in two ways. First, there may be cards in the discard pile that a player can still use in an expedition; a card discarded early in the round may become valuable later in the round for some easily-gained points. Second, since drawing from the discard piles does not deplete the draw deck, drawing discards can help delay the end of the round, giving an opportunity to get some needed points on the table.

At the end of the round, players score for each of their expeditions. In expeditions where a player hasn’t put any cards, there is no score. In an expedition where the player has played any cards, the numbers on the cards is summed, and then twenty is subtracted, leaving a positive or negative score. If the player has played one or more handshakes to that expedition, the score is multiplied by 2, 3, or 4 for 1, 2, or 3 handshakes. Finally, if a player has played eight or more cards in an expedition (of the 12 available), twenty points is added back to the score after multiplying. After tallying scores, players play another round toward a total of three rounds. High score at the end is the winner.

Lost Cities has great head-to-head action that includes assessments of risk management and memory. For example, if you start the game with a couple of cards in a suit, you might choose to start an expedition with the hope that you’ll see a couple more cards pop into your hand over the course of the round. Or, if you see that your opponent has already played the seven in a color, you know you can safely discard lower cards of that suit without fear that your opponent can turn them into additional points. There’s also a little bit of a memory element on the discard piles, since only the top card is visible; you might be able to remember that there are valuable points buried in the discards that you can turn into a viable expedition if you draw them back out.

Lost Cities is popular enough that it spawned a similar spin-off game called Keltis that took the same core game and added a board, some extra stuff, and a Celtic theme, and it also won Germany’s Game of the Year (Spiel des Jahres). Keltis then spun off a card game (so Lost Cities card game became Keltis the board game became Keltis the card game) and then Lost Cities was also reformulated into Lost Cities the boardgame. I think there might have also been a Keltis dice game, but I really stopped keeping track a long time ago. I’ve played Lost Cities lots of times, and I’ve played Keltis once, and I really don’t need to get any deeper into playing anything other than Lost Cities, card game.

Lost Cities is available from hobby stores and retails for $19.95, but it can be found for less from online sources.

Review: Say Anything


Say Anything is a party game for up to eight players. In Say Anything, players try to guess the question-reader’s opinion, and the question-reader also tries to guess what the other players will believe to be his or her answer. The goal of the game is to have the highest point total by correctly guessing what submitted answer will be selected by the question-reader, or by correctly guessing the answer that the other players select. For those familiar with Apples to Apples (or Cards Against Humanity), Say Anything employs a similar mechanism of matching closely with the reader (or Card Czar), but allows for more flexibility than what is on the pre-printed cards.

Say Anything contains a score board, miniature whiteboards and betting chips in each of the player colors, whiteboard markers, the Select-o-Matic 5000™, and a deck of question cards. The question cards generally take the form of “In my opinion…” and then give the reader five different items from which to choose (or three different items in different editions). In each round of the game, the question-reader selects a card from the deck and chooses one of the topics. Topics range from matter-of-fact answers such as “…who’s the best rock musician or band?” to open-ended questions like “…if you could train a monkey to do anything, what would it be?” The other players then quickly write a response on their whiteboard and submit it facedown to the middle of the table. Ordering is somewhat important here because if two players have the same answer, the later to submit must choose a different answer and re-submit.

After all answers are submitted, the reader takes the boards, reads each of the responses in the order in which they were submitted, and lays them out on the table. The reader then uses the Select-o-Matic 5000™ to choose the response that best fits with his or her opinion. After the reader has selected, the players use their betting chips to choose which answer they believe to be the reader’s choice. After all are marked, the reader reveals his or her answer. The player who wrote the chosen answer gets one point, each player gets one point for each betting chip on the correct answer. The reader also gets points for the number of betting chips on the chosen answer, up to a maximum of three points.

In my opinion… Say Anything is fantastic. As a game, it molds well to the style of the group. I’ve played Say Anything with dear friends where the game has been a fairly tame and matter-of-fact exercise in measuring how much we know each other. And I’ve also played Say Anything with different groups where filthy and raunchy stuff gets submitted. And that is what is great about the game — it plays with all kinds of groups. You can play Say Anything with your family at the holidays with little concern that any awkward taboo topics are going to come up (e.g. religion, sex, politics), but you can also play the game with your college drinking buddies — while still drinking! The only limitation is the creativity of your group and where you all are willing to take the game.

It plays quickly enough that you can run through a game in about half an hour, but it also has that draw that you want to play it a couple of times in a row. Since players may actually “say anything”, Say Anything does not have the problem of Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity where you are limited to only what you have in your hand, but it also plays best with a group that is creative enough to go for the entertaining answers or ones that fit well with the group. In sum, Say Anything is a remarkably fun party game that works well to fit your group’s personality and creativity level.

Say Anything is available at Target, Wal-Mart, some hobby game stores, and online. It has a manufacturer suggested retail price of $19.99, but can be found for less, as Target online has it for $15.99.

Review: Qwirkle

Qwirkle with play example
Qwirkle with play example

In keeping with the theme of widely available games that I would recommend to friends, Qwirkle is another solid choice for the addition to a game library. Qwirkle is a simple and engaging game for two to four players, ages six and up. For young players, the game relies significantly on color and shape recognition, and counting skills are recommended to to determine valid plays and to tally score. Though the game has a very simple appearance and a straightforward rule-set, competitive adults will find that there are some tactical opportunities to use to their advantage. Qwirkle has been the recipient of several awards, including the prestigious German Game of the Year award (Spiel des Jahres) in 2011.

Qwirkle consists of 108 tiles that are a mix of six shapes and six colors, with three of each combination in the set (6 x 6 x 3). The overall goal of the game is to have the most points at the end of the game, and points are earned by playing tiles to the grid play area. Players begin the game by taking a hand of six tiles from a blind-draw pool (a cloth bag). The players keep this “hand” of tiles hidden from the other players during play, primarily so that the other players don’t have knowledge of what plays they may be enabling or blocking with their own play.

Each player has three options on his or her turn. The first is to play a single tile to the grid of tiles, following the placement rules, which I will discuss in just a moment. The second option for a player is to play two or more tiles to the grid, following the placement rules. When a player plays two or more tiles to the grid, the tiles must all share a single aspect, i.e. they must all be the same color or the same shape. When multiple tiles are added to the grid, they must also all be placed in the same line, though they do not have to touch each other. Finally a player may take a turn to trade some of his or her tiles for new tiles from the draw-bag. Players draw back up to six tiles in their hands at the end of the turn.

The placement rules for the game are very simple. Basically, a line of tiles must share an attribute, either color or shape, but there may only be one of each of the non-shared attribute in a line. Thus, there could be a line of squares — blue, red, yellow, green — but it would not be a valid play to add another blue square to that line because there already is one present. Tiles can also be in different lines. A blue square could be in a line of squares in one direction, and a line of blue tiles in another direction. Players cannot play a tile in a place that breaks the rules about placement.

Players score points for playing tiles. Players score one point for each tile played as well as a point for all of the tiles that are already in the line(s) on which the player played. One tile can score two points if it is part of two different lines. Players also get a bonus if they add the sixth and final tile to a line of tiles — this is called a Qwirkle and scores twelve points for that line — six for the tiles and six more for the bonus. Also, whomever ends the game gets a six-point bonus.

There is not a lot of strategy to pursue in Qwirkle outside of attempting not to leave scoring opportunities open for your opponents. The tactics of Qwirkle are to recognize where there are advantage plays to be made with your tiles, and to make the most use of your tiles when you play by adding to multiple lines when possible, or setting yourself up for multi-tile plays in the future. Since you know that there are only three of each tile in the game, you can also see where some lines and Qwirkles are impossible to complete because the necessary tiles are all already played elsewhere.

Though the basic game of Qwirkle does not have any expansions in the American market, there are several spin-off games from Qwirkle including a card game, a dice-type game, as well as a re-theme of the base-game to a Star Wars license. Qwirkle has an MSRP of $24.99 and is available at hobby game and toy stores, Target, Wal-Mart, and online.

End of a game of Qwirkle
End of a game of Qwirkle

Review: Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride

To start things off right on reviews, I’m beginning with one of the most prolific and widespread American games of the 2000s. Ticket to Ride was designed by Alan R. Moon in 2004 and won the prestigious German game of the year (Spiel des Jahres) as well as another two dozen award wins and nominations. Ticket to Ride has spawned several expansion maps, other content expansions, and a couple of spin-off games.

Ticket to Ride is frequently cited as a “gateway game”, as it is a game that is easy to learn, accessible by a wide variety of people of different skill levels, and is fun to play. The basic game of Ticket to Ride is playable by two to five players and is recommended for ages eight and up. Eight is a recommended age as players will use color and counting skills, though the game may also play well with precocious children even if they do not grasp all of the strategy and tactics of the game. Play time is around 30 to 90 minutes, and this is generally affected by the number of players and experience with the game. Individual player turns are quick, so there is not a lot of down-time for players between turns, though new players may take a little extra time thinking about actions.

The goal of the game is to be the player with the highest score when the game ends. Players score by connecting cities on their destination tickets that they take at the start of the game, and by claiming routes on the board through card-play. The destinations tickets that a player has are kept secret as each destination is serviced by a certain number of routes, and if other players have knowledge that a player must make a certain connection, they can use this information to claim the available routes to block that player from completing a ticket. This minor cutthroat element of the game helps to build excitement and tension for the game, but the game does not use a lot of direct adversarial conflict. With more play, players may recognize what hidden destinations a players is seeking to connect, so a group that plays together frequently may build rivalries as they grow to identify the subtle clues of fellow players.

The play of the game is straightforward, which lends itself to the quick player turns. Each player may take one of three actions on his or her turn. A player may take cards from the market of available cards. During the game, there is a constantly-refreshed market of five face-up cards that players may select for this action. Players may also draw face-down cards from the deck if they do not want any of the available face-up selections. The second action players can take is to claim routes. The game board has printed routes that connect cities, and on each connection there are a certain number of colored boxes. To claim a route, players play the number of cards of the color that is shown on the connection, and then mark that they have claimed the route by putting their own player-token train cars on those boxes. Players also score points for the length of the route they have claimed. Many cities only have one route that connects them, but there are many paths on the board that players can use to connect cities. The final action that players can take is to take more connection tickets. These tickets show two cities on the board that the player must connect by the end of the game to score the points on the ticket. Unfulfilled tickets count against the player. Taking additional tickets opens up opportunities for additional score by connecting more cities, but they also represent a risk as players may be unable to complete all of their ticket routes by the end of the game. Completed tickets are also kept hidden during the game, so other player do not know what cities a player needs to connect, but other players also do not know if a another player’s tickets have yet been completed.

The game comes to an end when one player has used all or nearly all of their player-token train markers. After the final round, players’ scores scores for their destination tickets are summed and added to their scores earned during the game for claimed routes. There is an additional bonus for the player who has the longest single line of trains on the game board. After all scores are tallied, the players with the highest score is the winner.

Ticket to Ride is a very fun game, and has been well received by nearly every person with which I have played it. The ability to scale from two to five players is a certain bonus as it allows the game to be dynamic to different-sized groups. The straightforward rules that give players the choice among three actions keep the game simple enough to be played by the whole family, but the tactical nature of seeking to make all connections keeps it entertaining for all age levels.

Ticket to Ride is available at hobby game shops, as well as Target, Wal-Mart, and online stores. The suggested retail price is $49.99, but it can frequently be found on sale or for a discounted retail price online.