Good Night at Games

Well I finally had a pretty good night at the gaming table last night. I was late getting there, and they had Eurorails set up. This was fine with me, we had not played it in quite a while. Last time was Lunar Rails, which I am attempting to erase from my mind as much as possible.

I had a tense start, choosing to deliver cattle to Lisboa. It took all 50 million to build the track, but I could then take cork up to Holland along the same track, and pick up cheese there to take to Warsaw. And once there, I could take the swine back to Madrid, unless I had some other good draws to take care of from those deliveries.

The trip worked out very well, leaving me with enough money at Warsaw to upgrade to a 12 speed train for the run back to Madrid. Unfortunately I was stuck with one card that was worthless, containing runs into Italy and Britain. The third was a fruit run back to the middle cities, so I had a run back out of Spain.

While the single runs work okay, they do not really do enough to get you ahead in the game. Especially if it is a run from Wroclaw to Madrid. The payoff is good, but it takes a long time to make it, even going 12. Linda was keeping up doing multiple short runs, even taking the time to make a couple of runs into northern England. Dan was doing some good runs with tobacco and marble, with rail from Kalingrad to Porto and Lisboa.  Dave started strong, building from the Berlin area out to Madrid, but he didn’t get any good cards from Madrid back. He had the same problem later in the game, and ended up dumping his cards something like 10 times over the course of play.

I finally started pulling away with a double run of china and tourists to Madrid. I got a quick cork run to Toulouse as well as a fruit to Warsaw, and when I got there, a run of oil to Madrid and pigs to Holland. One more run back from Madrid to Berlin, and then another double run back to Madrid and Sevilla ended the game.

I would not have needed to hit Sevilla, but Dan pitched his cards looking for runs and turned over the Tax card, putting both of us back below 200 million. So I had to pay Dave 4 million to run on his track to Sevilla. And then the turn before I did that, Linda flooded the Loire, so I had to sit there an extra turn before I could rebuild it and finally win. They kept doing things that delayed me. It was almost like they did not want me to win the game.

It was not too late, so we then broke out Ticket to Ride for a couple of quick games. We use the Megagame version of the USA 1910 Expansion because we really like the extra tickets that are available. I kept 4 out of the 5 tickets, with a lot of builds on the East Coast, which is always tricky in a 4 players game. (And just plain nasty with 5 players.) But I started building from Portland to Pittsburgh, only building on the east coast when someone else built in one of the areas I was going to need.

I had just complete the Yellow and Orange 6 train tracks from the west coast, when I checked my cards to see if had kept the card that had Chicago in it. I had kept that card, but I discovered that I had not kept the Portland to Pittsburgh card. I didn’t mind the points from those builds, but the time and cards I spent on them really hurt. I finished the rest of my builds, but the wasted time kept me from getting drawing more tickets, while the other 3 had been doing just that after finishing their original builds. So I did the only thing I could, used up my trains to end the game and catch the others with unfinished routes.

While I managed to do this, catching all of them with unfinished cards, it wasn’t enough to give me the game. I ended up barely in third, with my 4 low point tickets.

We then played one last game of TTR, and again I drew the Portland to Pittsburgh ticket. I only kept 3 tickets of the first 5, not wanting to try St. Louis to Miami or Washington to Boston, going with Portland-Pittsburgh, Vancouver-Duluth, and Calgary-Santa Fe. I figured I could connect the northern cities in my route to Pittsburgh, then build south to Santa Fe for the last ticket. I would avoid most of  the congestion of the east coast and finish my routes fairly quickly so I could draw more tickets.

What actually happened was Dave and I got into a blocking war. Not because we were trying to hurt each other, but because we both needed to connect to the same destinations. I blocked his build from Duluth to Chicago, he blocked mine from Winnipeg to Duluth. Then it got really ugly.

We both managed to finish our routes, at least the ones that we were butting head over, but it took much more time and trains than I was originally planning. I drew more tickets, quickly discarding the east coast ones (LA-Miami? I couldn’t get even as far as Nashville, if I had possessed the trains.) but lucking out with a Calgary-Dallas draw. In two turns, I was there from Santa Fe, and only had 2 trains left, ending the game.

Linda got the Globetrotter bonus, massive coverage on the east coast giving her several complete runs on her ticket draws, and I got the Longest Train card, from the meandering I was forced into by my conflicts with Dave. I also got 60 points from my tickets, putting me at 144, enough to win the game. It was a very competitive game, and we all had fun on it.

So it was a very good game night for me, not as much for my friends. But the next time we get together, who wins will be up in the air. We are all very evenly matched at these games, so we never know how they will come out. Which helps keep them fun.

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