Ticket to Ride sign at Gen Con.
I had only played Ticket to Ride a few times during family dinners. I liked the concept of the game, and the game play itself is quick easy once you get into it, but it does take some strategy, like all games. Should I place my track here? Will I make my connection and cut someone else off as well? Those kind of questions run through your mind.
This year, being my second year at Gen Con, I decided I wanted to be more involved and play more games. When I started signing up for events the first one I saw was Ticket to Ride games. I didn’t even realize how many different versions they have of these games!
On Thursday I played two very quick games of Ticket to Ride: Europe, with some definite pro like TtR players. One player had a puffing billy ribbon which meant he could play any train game any time. Both players were helpful and nice, but also quick to get their routes. I barely kept up.
On Saturday, I had an early game of Ticket to Ride: USA. I thought this will be much easier and sat down to prepare my strategy. Towards the end of a few table’s games I heard the conductors saying that they winner moved onto the semi finals. I didn’t even know I was in a tournament. That kicked me into high gear and made sure I was able to complete all my routes and score some big point routes as well. When we got down to the end of the game and started adding up the points, I held my breath, but I was ahead of the other two. I didn’t even up with the longest route, but thankfully even before that was added I already had the lead – by one point. 92 to 91 and I was onto the next round at noon.
After winning, I went back to the dealer’s hall until noon. 15 minutes before it was going to start I had to check in. This is where things got serious. I thought we were in the semi-finals, but actually this was just the quarter finals, however it didn’t change the tone of the players. We had to pick a number, sit at the board in a certain way and after I sat down, and waited along came the pro player from yesterday sitting at my table. Not only that, another train association player came too. I finally felt like this was some serious gaming. The quarter finals went by quickly. This round the first and second winners would continue on. Unfortunately I ended up last. The train association player and the guy playing next to her made it on. I and the puffing bill pro were eliminated.
I learned a lot from playing those games, even if I didn’t win this year, I’m going to practice and get ready to play next year. Next time, I’ll definitely make sure I’m aware I’m in the tournament before hand and bring my game face.