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Why did I lose?!: Ticket to Ride: Europe

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Here are some observations I have made on why some friends and family* have lost this never-gets-old, gem of a game - Ticket To Ride. (*and, honesty hour here: me! Yet mmmmaybe I will keep doing some of these things time and time again because I enjoy the chaos - in the same way I used to enjoy running to the train platform just before the doors close (a very direct similarity in ways, but is very true!)). Read and learn, read and laugh, whichever suits…

· Keeping all of the original routes dealt to them, even if they are so far away from each other that when squinting at completed route attempts from afar, the map looks like the world map.

· Squirrelling away valuable cards, saving them for the 8- tunnel route, only for it to be taken by another player, being left with an abundance of cards and having wasted time and turns. Thinking: I will save these red cards, 5 points for Ezrum to Rostov is nothing when I can get 21 points for that top tunnel route. Then ending up a full 21 points behind another player who had a similar idea. Oops!

· Relying on stations, then missing out on up to 12 points at the end of the game because every. single. station. was required to complete routes. And opponents have smugly not needed to use any. stations. AT ALL.

· So never rely on, or assume. That is a big one in life, and most definitely in the gaming world. So here we are again: relying, but this time: on wildcards. Thinking: loads of wildcards have been coming up, there are loads! When actually, they’ve been used up, there are only 14 wildcards in the pack, and 12 of each other colour (a kaleidoscope of 9 colours) so the likelihood of a wildcard coming up each time is a mere 12.7%.

· Being very set in fulfilling routes on a very set path (literally) and then wasting turns collecting the exact cards required.

· Wasting numerous turns trying to get a tunnel when there are no spare suitable cards in hand for it (the hysterical ‘aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa’ and faceplanting the sofa when first draw pile card revealed is a wildcard, on the third consecutive turn of hopeless trying). This might just be the exact time in which an opponent steals those 21 points for the 8-tunnel ferry!

· Being so set on achieving the longest uninterrupted route- the ‘European Express’- that the other opportunities to win have been missed.

· Picking 2 mediocre cards, only to find that the top 2 mystery cards would have been 2 wildcards (another ‘aaaaaa’ moment, perhaps just less dramatic, but who knows, maybe even more).

· Misreading the destinations (them being in each country’s local language is not an excuse, because the spellings on the card and the board are IDENTICAL).

· Not keeping an eye on the number of trains opponents have, only to realise they have 3 left and your own attempt at Edinburgh to Athena is still a mere Edinburgh to Venezia, resulting in the deduction of a stonking 21 points at the end of the game.

Introducing friends and family to the game: clarifying initial misconceptions

On a final note, a less laughable list here, this is really just some beginner confusions I noticed so you don’t have to! I hope you enjoyed reading!

· With sufficient cards, there are lots of ways to start placing train counters on the board. It does not have to be that if you have the Edinburgh to Athena ticket, the first move on the board must be Edinburgh to London, and the next move on the board being onwards from London.

· Players do not need to announce when they have completed a route on one of their tickets until the end of the game, nor do they need to complete a full route before they can start working on the next.

· It is not always a huge risk to request extra tickets to complete. Each extra ticket will contain one of the short routes and often, at least 1 of the tickets (which is the amount required to keep) will have almost been completed anyway, especially if it is later on in the game.