Ticket to Ride once again expands into new lands, as Days Of Wonder announce Ticket to Ride Japan. This is an expansions for the base game and the Europe edition.
What We Know - Japan
As the name might suggest, players will be building railroads in mainland Japan. This sounds like the original, but in this case, your railroads are going to be built to withstand the breath-taking speed of the world famous Bullet Train.
The unique element of Ticket to Ride Japan, however, is the inclusion of a semi-co-op element where players must decide whether to invest in a bullet train network and reap the rewards as a team or focus on their own railroads and building their own networks. Of course, you can ignore the joint network altogether but be warned, penalties will follow for neglecting the chance to invest. This addition will add a new element for players to balance and will be interesting to see.
Speaking about the Japan map, game designer Alan R. Moon told Days of Wonder:
"Japan plays small, but if anything, this map takes more planning, not less. It's a game of cat and mouse with your opponents. Do you build lots of Bullet Train routes and try to win the most bonus points? Or do you ignore the Bullet Train routes, hoping others will build the routes you need for you, and instead concentrate on building your own routes that connect your tickets? Do you build Bullet Train routes early to make sure they get built, or do you wait and only build the ones you need that no one else builds? This can be dangerous though, because if no one builds the routes you need, you may wind up with too few trains to build them."
Alongside Ticket to Ride Japan, you will also find a map of Italy in the box, allowing people to explore this country as well as Japan. This new map has much the same features of the original maps, with the addition of new ferry routes to keep the game interesting.
Speaking about Italy, Moon says:
"Ticket to Ride Japan and Italy are both big maps. But the game is totally different. Italy plays big, very big. You'll almost certainly need to complete some long routes, including long ferry routes. You'll need to plan all of your routes well to connect as many provinces as possible. These big bonus points can win or lose you the game, so in some games you'll want to go for the maximum. In other games you'll need to concentrate more on your own long tickets. There are lots of long tickets, so drawing tickets early may be an alternate path to victory."
Ticket to Ride Japan - Coming Soon
Of course, Ticket to Ride Japan will require either the base game or Europe to play them, as they're maps which use the existing components from the original games. I’m excited to see how the co-op element fits into the game and how it plays. This expansion as a whole looks intriguing. The game will be released at Essen this October.