This is also a time I often receive new games as my family knows I like boardgames. I never know what I am going to get, but I have also dropped hints here and there as to what new games I am eyeing. This past weekend we had a Christmas gathering, and one of the gifts I received was Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries.
My collection already includes Ticket to Ride (original North America map), Ticket to Ride: USA 1910, Ticket to Ride: Europe, and Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland. The original, European and Swiss map are played regularly in our house, and most often as a 2-player game, so another smaller (max 3-player) map is exciting. I am also of Nordic descent, so there is a thematic bonus as well, which I am sure wasn't lost on the gift giver.
Although we have played Ticket to Ride many times, and I have played this map a couple of times in the past with some friends, I decided to scan the rules before we played, and I am glad I did. There are a couple of differences in the rules from the other versions we have around the wilds (can only be used on tunnels and ferries) and being able to use groups of cards as wild (on ferries and on one specific route). I wasn't so sure about these rules but decided to try them for the first few games before modifying them if necessary.
|After first game|
We were able to get a couple of games in. The first one I thought I had won, but after final scoring I had lost 139-138. The second game I had a couple of routes I couldn't complete so I thought I would be toast, but managed to win (don't remember the exact score, but was by ~5-10 points with scores in the 70s or 80s). The map didn't disappoint; the smaller map made it feel like you had to make sure you got your key routes, but if your opponent managed to snatch it you still had a chance, it was just a lot harder. It was also fun reviewing geography for a part of the world I don't know much about (especially the more northern portions of this map). Despite my skepticism the rules around the wilds worked well, so I don't see any house rules being done at this point. The winter and Christmas theme on the trains and board also worked well for this time of year (the back of the train cards references the "Father Christmas Tour 1910").
|Near the end of the second game|
This map will definitely be a part of future Ticket to Ride games, especially with just the two of us. Purple is also my wife's favourite colour, so having that added is a nice bonus!