Last night, we played Ticket to Ride: Switzerland. I like this board, because it’s designed for only two or three players. Since it’s meant for so few people, you don’t feel as though you’re missing out when only two are playing. There are no bonuses in this game, and locomotives aren’t true wild cards…they’re used when claiming a tunnel route, and only a tunnel route.
Ryan took this one, winning 141 to 134. The reason was obvious…I just didn’t claim as many routes (although we both had the same number of completed tickets…10), and so I had nine trains at game’s end, compared to Ryan’s two.
At least this was a close match…I’m still hoping to tie things up at some point!
On Sunday night, we played another new-to-us Ticket to Ride board–The Heart of Africa (another Christmas present from last year).
Like the Netherlands board, this game incorporates another new element…terrain cards. (As an aside, things get confusing when you’re talking about train cars, trains cards, and terrain cards!) When you play the terrain cards, they allow you to double the value of the route you’re playing, based on the number of cards you have compared to other players, the type of terrain, and the length of the route. To be honest, I used this ability only a few times (although Ryan used it a lot), because I couldn’t figure out how to coordinate getting the terrain cards with getting the train cards I needed, and building my routes before Ryan got to them!
In the end, the score was Amanda 200, Ryan 153. I’m just as shocked as you are, trust me. We both thought he was going to win handily as we were playing, because of all of the double route values he was getting. But I guess since I was ignoring collecting those cards, it allowed me to focus on route-building…I finished nine routes, and got the African Globetrotter bonus, while Ryan finished only four routes. I also had zero trains left at the end of the game, while Ryan had seven.
We’ve played seven different boards/versions of boards so far, and Ryan has the lead four games to three. Maybe I’ll tie it up next time!
The Europe board is pretty standard, with one addition–stations. There is a bonus card–the European Express, which goes to the player with the longest route. I lost (again), but this game was a bit closer, at least…Ryan 140, Amanda 128. Ryan completed six routes, and won the bonus for longest route, with four trains and two stations left at the end of the game. I completed seven routes, and had no trains and three stations left.
Big Cities of Europe is a bit different. There are no bonus cards, but there are depots and stations, which have the ability to give a player bonus points at the end of the game, as well as warehouses, which allow you to pick up a bunch of train cards in one turn.
The final score was Amanda 184, Ryan 136…I finally won one! I completed ten routes, and had one train, three depots, and three stations left at the end of the game. Ryan completed nine routes, and had eight trains, three depots, and zero stations left when the game was done.
I think we might take a break from the Europe board from a bit, even though there are more ways to play it. There are still plenty of other Ticket to Ride maps left, though!
Last night, we fit two games of Ticket to Ride in, both on the standard board. The first was the USA 1910 expansion, and the second was Big Cities. Let me tell you, it was not my night!
The USA 1910 expansion wasn’t too bad. The final score was Ryan 156, Amanda 144. I had no trains left at the end of the game, and completed 8 routes, but even with three trains left, Ryan managed to complete 10 routes and received the Globetrotter bonus.
Big Cities, however, was a disaster (for me, not for Ryan!). The final score was an embarrassing Ryan 157, Amanda 114. We both completed six routes, but there were no bonuses in this game (not that I would have benefitted from one, anyway). I had four trains left (and was so close to using them up and completing my seventh route!), but Ryan used all of his.
I have learned in playing that board that I should either play a train coming out of Las Vegas immediately at the beginning of the game, whether I think I need it or not, or just abandon any thought of using any route that goes through Las Vegas at all. In both games, I suffered from the fact the Ryan had a route through that city, which made it impossible for me to get a train in there, and in the first game we played, this completely ruined a non-insignificant (read: I probably would have won with it), route for me. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe there’s a strategy involving that city…just an interesting bit of information to tuck away for the future!
I think there’s only one variation left on the standard board, other than the mystery train version, (we’re working on figuring out a way to play that one)–the mega map. It includes all of the destination tickets, plus the two bonus cards (Trans-America Express and Globetrotter). That will be the last game we play to end this challenge, so for now, it’s time to move on to another board!
Tonight we played the newest Ticket to Ride Board: Nederland.
It was definitely a different game! This game incorporates bridge tolls, and when you’re playing with only two people, you have to add a “neutral character” for part of the game. It made for a new Ticket to Ride experience, but I’m not sure how much I liked it!
The final score was Ryan 183, Amanda 175 (closer than I was expecting, to be honest). I completed six routes, with one train left at the end, but I also had to take out a loan, which cost me five points. Ryan completed five routes, with five trains left at the end, and he also had eight tokens left, which gave him and extra 35 points! That’s a huge bonus, and something to keep in mind when we play this board in the future!
We haven’t decided which board we’re playing next, but hopefully, it will be something a little more standard!
Ryan decided that we should play through all of the different maps and variations of Ticket to Ride that we own (which is pretty much all of them!), so that we could decide which board is our favorite, and who is the house Ticket to Ride champion. I have no idea how long this challenge will take us to complete…look at how long it took us to build the Lego Tower Bridge! But, we started our challenge tonight with the original Ticket to Ride map (but with the updated point values).
The final score was Amanda 137 and Ryan 132. I completed six routes with one train left at the end, and Ryan completed five routes (and won the longest continuous route–the Trans-America Express bonus), with two trains left.
I fully expect tonight’s victory to be an anomaly, as I tend to lose at, well, all board games when playing against Ryan, but even when I lose, Ticket to Ride is still my favorite game, and tons of fun to play!
This is my favorite shelf in our game cabinet. It contains all of my very favorite games–the ones from Days of Wonder, (my favorite game company), including all of the different incarnations of Ticket to Ride and also Mystery of the Abbey, (which I love, even though I’m terrible at it!);The Pillars of the Earth, plus its expansion, as well as its sequel, World Without End; the Thurn and Taxis games, Carcassonne, (which Ryan just introduced me to, causing me to start looking at more game expansions), and even a game called Nuns on the Run. What can I say–I really enjoy the religious genre in games!
(Just don’t judge me for considering getting a game called The Name of the Rose, in which you play a monk with a secret identity, and also Habemus Papam, in which you get to, as the title suggests, elect a new pope.)
The only things missing from this shelf are Settlers of Catan, which is in a box so big and awkward, it has to reside on the top of the game cabinet, and Mystery Express, another Days of Wonder train based game that I hope to purchase at some point before it goes out of print!
Every year on Christmas Eve, after the children are in bed and the presents placed under the tree, Ryan and I play my favorite board game–Ticket to Ride: Christmas Edition. OK, it’s actually called Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries, but the game is so pretty and Christmas-y, with holly and snow on the board and cards, and what I’m guessing (based on the geography of the game) is Julinisse on the box cover. This is the only time of year we get out this version of Ticket to Ride, and I look forward to it just as I do everything else that has to do with Christmas!
Thought I’d take a departure from my usual lists of things to write about what I like best about my house.
Upstairs Laundry Room–First of all, after living in three different apartments, I’m still just grateful to have my own washer and dryer! And, ever since my vicarage-induced fear of basements, the idea of having to go down into one almost daily has terrified me. I love that the machines are upstairs, where most of the stuff I wash is located. I also love that it’s right next to the playroom, so I don’t have to wonder what my children are up to when I’m doing one of the at least ten loads of laundry that need to be washed every week.
Upstairs Playroom–I suppose if we had a finished playroom in the basement, that could be on the list as well (basement phobia aside). The point is, I like having a place for our toys that’s not in the main living area of the house. It helps at least contain the clutter when the bulk of the toys are upstairs.
Open Kitchen/Living Room–It’s so nice to be able to be a part of what’s going on in the main area of the house when I’m cooking, cleaning, or doing something at the table like clipping coupons.
Kitchen Faucet–Silly thing to like, I know, but it pulls out from the fixture to become the dish sprayer. Genius!
Pantry–Big enough to hold everything I want it to, and also keep the trash can and the craft bin out of the way. I applaud the person who decided that kitchens deserved closets, too!
Kitchen Island–(Can you tell I love my kitchen?!?) I love the extra work space and cabinet space. But what I really love about the island is that it allows me to work at the counter without turning my back on the rest of the kitchen/my children/the TV/the door (I’m weird about having my back to the door). I can see what’s going on, and still prepare my meals–the best of both worlds!
Blankets–We have a stack of blankets in the corner (when the children haven’t draped them all over) of our living room. They don’t match each other or anything else–we have fleece and chenille, character blankets and quilts, animal and sports themed blankets. But I love knowing that if someone is chilly when watching a movie, or just wants to snuggle in a blanky because it’s soft, they can just grab a blanket off the pile.
Game Cabinet–I love this for two reasons. One, I love the armoire itself. It’s pretty, I like the color of the wood, and it matches the rest of the furniture. Two, I love that it’s filled with all kinds of games. Games for kids and games for adults, family games, group games, and, of course, my favorite, our collection of Ticket to Ride games. The place to go if you’re looking for some fun!
TV–Just in case the fun we’re looking for is a little more passive than games, I’m happy that we have a nice TV (and a nice collections of DVDs to go with it!) where we can veg out together, watch movies, the news, the Olympics (can you tell I can’t wait?)–whatever strikes our fancy.
Living Room Picture–We bought this picture of Jesus as a toddler helping Joseph in his carpentry shop as a wedding gift to each other. It is one of the few things that has been with us on all our moves, and displayed proudly in all our homes. My favorite thing about it is the shadow cast behind toddler Jesus, not in the shape of a child, but the shape of a cross. Very cool.
Mission Theme–I didn’t even realize at first that our house had a theme, decor-wise. Then, one day it hit me–we have a lot of mission furniture, and the other decorations, especially in the living room, also kind of fit the theme. Maybe I have decorating talent I wasn’t even aware of!
Master Bathroom–Maybe it’s because my parent’s house didn’t have a master bedroom/bathroom, but it’s still a novelty to me that we have a bathroom connected our bedroom. I also love the garden style tub and separate shower–it’s as close to a spa as I’ll ever get.
Walk-in Closets–The three bedrooms we use as such all have walk-in closets. It’s so nice to have the extra space for all our stuff–we’ve even put our dressers for two of the bedrooms in the closets! It’s almost decadent!
Bookshelves–I love our bookshelves, not for themselves, because they’re the cheap, put-it-together-yourself from Target kind, but for the massive number of books we have on them. I still use the library a lot, but I love knowing that I can find a book from pretty much any genre right here in my own home if I so desire.
Bedding–I love the bedding we have. I’m specifically referring to our fall/winter bedding, because we just have a light blanket for the summer. But our heavy comforter is the prettiest shade of indigo, and has matching shams and Euro shams, which I am a total sucker for–just love them. Makes it seem like a hotel. And the high thread count sheets–I’ll never go back to cheap-o sheets again. For that matter, I also love the bedding in our guest room–also has high thread count sheets, and I think the plaid comforter is very nice.
Back Door–I like having an actual door in kitchen. Not a sliding door, but a regular old six panel door. I am grateful not to have to worry about having blinds or curtains across a sliding door.
Photo Groupings–I spent a lot of time figuring out how I wanted to arrange the special photos I had framed. I moved them around a bit, but for now, I think I have them way I want them. Two black and white and three color groupings in the den (including one of our wedding photos, and one of the children’s first birthday portraits), as well as a Christmas-themed grouping in the living room. I love having pictures of family and happy times to look at!
Christmas Decorations–They’re only out for four to six weeks of the year, but I love the decorations we’ve put together–our house definitely looks prettiest in December!
Americana Wall–My theme wall in the kitchen. If we ever finish painting (it’s looking doubtful), all the kitchen walls will be red, and the valance and one curtain we have are navy blue. Right next to the window with the blue curtain is my wall grouping of Americana “stuff.” Rustic looking flags, stars, Uncle Sam, a “liberty” sign–you get the idea. I’ve been collecting the stuff in that grouping (and it’s not that huge–less than ten things) since before we got married. I really like what I’ve accumulated and the way I’ve arranged it, although I am looking for one last piece to balance it out. I’ll know it if I ever see it–I’m waiting for something of a very specific size and shape!
Den Table–My in-laws gave us this neat table for our first Christmas in this house. It’s a skinny table (What do you call that? A cocktail table maybe? A console table?) in our mission style. What makes it special, though, is that they mod-podged pictures of our house at the various stages of the building process (and a cool picture of the first snow after we moved in!) on to the top. Such a thoughtful gift, and such special memories.
Rocking Chair–Also a gift from my in-laws, this is something of a family heirloom. They wrote on the underside of the chair who it belonged to and when they gave it to us. I enjoyed rocking Ladybug in this chair when she was tiny, and now it’s going to be the “teacher chair” in our schoolroom.
Schoolroom–I have to brag on myself a bit, here. I love the way our schoolroom (also known as the guest room) has come together. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on it, but I really think it looks quite school-y, and is quickly becoming a favorite room in the house for everyone!
My Family–I would be remiss if I left out my family, since they are in the house most of the time. It wouldn’t be my home without my family in it, and they are the best thing I’ve got going!