Monday, April 13, 2009

I Suck at Ticket to Ride

I've now played Ticket to Ride 4 times, and I have yet to win. Is it that the game requires a lot of luck or am I following a failed strategy?

On our Saturday, 4/4, meetup, Mandi joined us for six player Apples to Apples but left us on our own when we started playing the more complicated games. That means we had 5, Manny, Erin, Richard, Nora, and myself for the rest of the day. It made no sense to break up into 3 and 2 player games, so we needed ones that would accommodate 5 players. Ticket to Ride, though not one of my favorites, fits that niche quite well.

I felt pretty good about my strategy. I jumped out to an early lead by building a six piece track, and all my routes until the end of the game meshed well together. They were, however, all short, low to mid value routes. For my final draw of three tickets, though, only two were even possible, and only one seemed plausible. It, however, was not well connected to my other routes, and I ended up not being able to finish it before Erin used up all but three of her train pieces. This cost me -8 points. Still, I was competitive in total points by building, and I completed a pretty good number of routes.

When the final tally was done, Manny completely obliterated his opponents. He had as many or more routes than me, and they were all worth more points. Even if I had neglected the final round of tickets and concentrated on building 6 piece tracks, there's no way that I could have caught up.

So the answer to the question posed in the first paragraph - a little of both. There is a lot of luck involved, but I think that I also am pursuing a failed strategy. Some tips that I have learned:
  1. Go for long route early, not the short ones.
  2. In terms of both points and efficiency, it's better to use one long track than 2 or more short ones.
  3. It's more efficient to draw tickets if you can than to pick tickets up off the board due to the potential for wild cards.
  4. It's better to hold a lot of cards than spend consecutive turns building except for:
  5. You have to claim choke points early.

I'll try these out next time and see if my play improves.


Jeremy Williams said...

I find that i have the most success if I am either taking the long east to west routs at either the top or bottom. if you don't have cards to take them, keep a card that is close or easy to complete and draw for the others later. it will help you have the longest train, and you will have lots of 5 & 6 ers, if you can get 1 of the cards and have 3 or 4 long connections and longest train, you are sure to win!

Jeremy Williams said...

when are you going to follow up to your final post on settlers strategy? I'm looking forward to that post.

Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read this post. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.

Anonymous said...

Brim over I assent to but I think the brief should have more info then it has.

DanaJKalman said...