We continue to travel by train - the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Pennsylvania. Part 3. (2023)

Continuation of parts one and two - expansions. This section will probably be more interesting for those who are already familiar with one of the basic games and are wondering what else is interesting?

Note - All expansions described in this section require a base game ( Europe or USA ) from which wagons, playing cards, walking dice, etc. are taken!

Map collection 4: Netherlands

The Netherlands

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This map seems to have been developed together with Africa, but I guess there was some marketing guru in the development company who messed up - releasing 2 maps in one expansion is not cool. It is better to issue two cards, each in its own box, and let buyers pay separately for each! Great business plan. (Africa was released in 2012, and the Netherlands relatively soon in 2013) If the final product was good, then probably no one would be concerned, but unfortunately it was not.

Admittedly, the Netherlands has turned out to be a bit better than Africa, but there are still enough things to touch on.

The innovation of this game is toll roads and money. The basis of the game is the same as before - choose missions, build roads, connect cities. But here most of the roads are dual carriageways. Each player gets 30 coins at the start of the game, along with cards, wagons and everything else. For the construction of each road, you have to part with 1 to 4 coins, depending on the length of the road and its location on the map. But that's not all. Whoever builds first pays this money to the bank. The one who builds the second pays the one who built the road first. This means that it is important to build roads as quickly as possible and to be the first, at the same time the dilemma arises - save for a longer road or build several short ones faster. Money matters a lot, because at the end of the game whoever has earned the most money gets a rather impressive 55 point bonus. The second richest gets 35, the third - 20, the fourth - 10 points. In the event that you manage to spend all of your initially allocated 30 coins, you can get a loan from the bank - 5 coins in one move, which in the end counts as a minus, and even if you end up in the plus, it doesn't matter - if you got them with the help of a loan, for a bonus can no longer apply.

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My rating is 6.5 wagons out of 10.

The illegible font and white letters on a green background are a bit annoying. It does not significantly affect the game, however, even after playing it several times, there are problems with finding cities, and the fact that there is only one map does not give pluses.

The new money system is quite interesting, and if the goal is just to play and have a good time, then the game is quite OK.

What didn't seem OK is the too high mission success factor and the difference in points between the first and the last.

So far counting was pretty simple - over 100 pretty good, under 100 - well; above 120 very good, below 80 - game failed.

Already in Africa, a trend has emerged that the winner easily collects 150 or more points in a successful game, while in the Netherlands, 200 points in a game is no longer surprising (our record is 274 points). This large point difference was one of the reasons why this card only lasted one season in our tournament.

So, in summary - will appeal to those who like money games, a lot of missions, a strategy that balances speed / profitability. Not too much - for fans of classic Ticket to Ride value.

6.5 wagons - is better than Africa, has interesting strategy/mechanics, but has cons that prevent me from giving more (however, I want to emphasize again that my judgments about the game are also based on its use in tournaments, which is probably not so important for most).

If combined in one expansion with Africa, would give all 7.

Map collection 5: United Kingdom and Pennsylvania.

If the last expansions gradually began to resemble food heated several times - you can already eat it, but the pleasure is conditional, then this release blows new breaths, bringing new emotions and impressions.

It should probably start with the fact that the developers have returned to the already proven double-sided card format (two games in one box). Also, the game itself has undergone quite drastic changes (for the better).

United Kingdom (UK)

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The game seems to be the same, but the changes are profound.

You could say that it has become more modern. Let's start with the fact that it has got its own deck, which has 6 more jokers than in the usual base games, and the jokers here are very important, you need them a lot and you need them. On the other hand, the number of wagons has decreased - there are only 35 of them here.

At the start of the game, players are only allowed to build maps in the English part (around London) and only one and two carriage length roads. You can travel everywhere else by buying and developing technologies. For example, you need to build a road 3 wagons long - at the beginning, you can buy a technology that replaces the stoker with a mechanical coal supply for one joker. Need an even longer piece? No problem, for two jokers there is a high-pressure steam boiler, which will allow you to beat routes longer than 3 stages. Water ahead and need a ferry? Then the propeller will be exactly what is needed. Well, since the Kingdom consists of several parts, you will have to buy permits to travel to Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and you can also go to nearby France. So if the mission is to go from London to Dublin or France, it's going to take a hell of a lot of wildcards, because you'll need a pass, a ferry, and the right length of road. Fortunately, any 4 cards can replace the joker, moreover, if you buy the right technology - the booster, you will be able to get the joker by parting with only 3 cards. There are also technologies such as enhanced steam boiler (1 point for building a land road), steam turbine (2 points for each ferry route), double locomotive (2 points for each completed mission), etc.

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These mentions are in the base version of the game. When the existing technologies have been clarified, you can play a variant with advanced technologies, but I will not start listing them at all at the moment, so as not to cause confusion in the brain.

At first, it takes a little time to understand what is needed in which place, but once you "enter" it, playing becomes simple and exciting.

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My view: 10 wagons out of 10.

The creators have made an effort this time and have really created something new with the new features, giving the game a second lease of life.

Also the scores are back in the standard range I mentioned earlier (above 100 good etc.)


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Perhaps we should start here with a little insight into history. What does the word Pennsylvania tell us? Some probably know that it is somewhere in America. Some already know a little more precisely - it is a state in the eastern part of the United States, and there are cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. But what does this have to do with the railway? Well, there was (and still is) a port in this state in Philadephia at the end of the 19th century, but the traffic was quite bad, the ferry lines used to freeze. Traffic in neighboring states was developing, and port owners began to worry about losing cargo, and something had to be done about it. So, in 1846, a private company was founded, which, with the permission of the state, began to build a railroad line that would connect Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. And then it happened... The small company "Pennsylvania Railroad" became an empire and the largest network of railway lines in the world. Over the next ~70 years, it merged with, bought out, or otherwise "gobbled up" about 800 other companies, and by the 1920s it owned nearly 17,000 kilometers of railroad (which was about three times more than all the others combined). It was the largest publicly traded company in the world and was worth more than the US budget. It's hard for me to find a modern analogue - yes, there are giants Google, Apple, but even though they are billion-dollar companies, Google, which at the time of this writing is worth about 550 billion dollars, does not compete with the 3.9 trillion US budget. Of course, a lot of water has flown since those years, but at least I will have given an insight into what the "Pennsylvania Railroad" (PRR) used to be and why it is worth dedicating an entire game to it.

And finally about the game itself.

The map itself is quite similar to the classic map of the USA (well, unless you count the fact that today's popular cities were by no means the most famous railway junctions of ~1900)

The rules are quite simple - when you build a road, you earn a share (securities). Promotions of different transport companies are available on different routes. In total, 9 companies of different sizes are represented - from very small ones (2 shares) to PRR itself (15 shares). In the collection of shares, mathematics already begins - on which paths to send your missions in order to get to specific shares, you need to follow what others buy, how much. At the end, together with the road and mission points, stock points are also counted. For example, the one with the most PRR shares at the end gets 30 points, the second most prolific collector gets 21 points, etc. The smaller the company, the fewer points to distribute. It is interesting that there are no ties here - if there is an equal number of shares, the one who bought the share the fastest gets more (share cards have numbers with sequence).

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My rating: 8 wagons out of 10

I will admit that I have only played a couple of times.

Those who have a good memory and can remember other people's cards will have an advantage 🙂

About the game itself - the idea is very good, the implementation... Let's just say, I'm still only aware of the strategies and tricks. Actions give a very serious point contribution; of course, completing missions is important, but it is more important to find which of the available shares to build your business on in the given situation - or aim at many small companies or still focus on two or three large ones.

In my opinion, both expansion games have turned out very well, have brought quite a lot of innovation and excitement, all that remains is to play.


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