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VerfasserThema
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Best TTR version for 2 players Wed, 21 January 2009 00:16
I'm a newbie to this forum and TTR in particular.

We just bought the USA version with the 1910 expansion and played it twice. I see there are lots of options for playing with just 2 players (wife and me). Of all the versions and expansions, which do you feel is best for 2 players. I understand that Nordic and Switzerland are limited to 2-3 players but are they better for 2 than say all the others like USA, Europe, and Marklin which also allow up to 5.

Also, which do you find the most strategic as opposed to based on luck

If you could offer your thoughts on this I'd be most appreciative.

If its of any help, my wife and I are both bridge players, she more than me, if that helps.

Thanks,
Larry
      
Mr Bean
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Wed, 21 January 2009 01:57
Well, some of this is necessarily a matter of taste, but i would say there is a sort of consensus amongst the stronger, competitive, players that the US map + rules offers the most challenging 2 player games.

By the way, there is even a special forum for the competitive players with a truly wide range of topics, which you might find interesting to look into:
http://www.daysofwonder.com/en/thread/?frm_id=45

Funny you should mention bridge. There are quite a few bridge players around, including myself Thumbs Up , but, perhaps more interestingly, also most of the (Austrian) team which won the Nation's Cup (a big team competition played on the US map from roughly September till the end of November each year) in 2007 and lost the final in 2008, so one might argue that TTR and Bridge go together well Cool

      
thelawnet
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sat, 14 February 2009 02:03
Mr Bean wrote on Wed, 21 January 2009 00:57

Well, some of this is necessarily a matter of taste, but i would say there is a sort of consensus amongst the stronger, competitive, players that the US map + rules offers the most challenging 2 player games.


Can you elaborate on why that is?
      
Mr Bean
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sat, 14 February 2009 02:22
a number of arguments, but of course - as stated before - partly a matter of taste.

on the EU map there are - besides lots of small ones - 6 big tickets of which every player gets just 1 which you don't have to keep, but you won't get another.
there seems to be quite a big difference between how good these 6 tix are and therefore getting a good or bad one is already quite influential right at the start.

furthermore we have tunnels on the EU-map where luck decides if you have to pay up to maximum 3 extra cards for these segments. this of course can greatly influence the speed with which you can finish the game.

then also, on the US map you have the option to try and win by blocking your opponent out of his/her objectives (if you can guess them correctly). this can be an especially effective strategy against good tickets, even more so if you have small tickets yourself and don't mind if nobody gets to fulfill their tix.
however, on the EU map it's a lot harder to win by blocking because of the possibility of placing stations.

mind you, there's quite a bit of luck involved in the game anyway: who starts is quite a big factor, but also how many locos do you get, do you get the colours you need etc., but these go for all the variations.
      
thelawnet
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sat, 14 February 2009 02:36
Mr Bean wrote on Sat, 14 February 2009 01:22

a number of arguments, but of course - as stated before - partly a matter of taste.

on the EU map there are - besides lots of small ones - 6 big tickets of which every player gets just 1 which you don't have to keep, but you won't get another.
there seems to be quite a big difference between how good these 6 tix are and therefore getting a good or bad one is already quite influential right at the start.



Do you have a link to discussion on that?

Quote:


furthermore we have tunnels on the EU-map where luck decides if you have to pay up to maximum 3 extra cards for these segments. this of course can greatly influence the speed with which you can finish the game.



Doesn't this make things more strategic as well? The decision to play a tunnel can be timed according to available information (discards by other players, face-up cards, your own hand, etc.). Of course if there are fifty cards left and ten of them are bad and you get two bad ones out of three, you've been unlucky, but equally one player could draw locomotives every time he picks up (which is also luck, and less strategic than when to build the tunnel).

Quote:


then also, on the US map you have the option to try and win by blocking your opponent out of his/her objectives (if you can guess them correctly). this can be an especially effective strategy against good tickets, even more so if you have small tickets yourself and don't mind if nobody gets to fulfill their tix.
however, on the EU map it's a lot harder to win by blocking because of the possibility of placing stations.



Right, this is EU vs. US, but how about comparing with Marklin, Switzerland and Nordic Countries?

We would like a new board, not sure which one to buy. We own EU and were not really considering the US game because it looks like you need to buy 1910 as well.
      
Nemo_
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sat, 14 February 2009 15:11
Usa is best.

You think now tunnel might be good for strategy. But once you lose a game because of 3 loco coming from deck when you try to make tunnel, you will realize.

Also with good strategy it is easier to win an USA game with worse tickets, colors and locos. In EU that is almost impossible.
EU might be nice sometimes, but I prefer still Usa.
      
Truckerteller
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sat, 14 February 2009 16:05
USA is the classic, purest most confrontational form of the game.

Europe and Switzerland probably have a similar level of gaming/strategy aspects (as the US), but only a few top players play these variants, so on-line you will get the most "game" out of playing US 2P (if you don't mind getting blocked, annihilated in 8 moves or desperate without locos). Also, because Europe has 6 big tickets of which you always get one, the game is somewhat less dynamic than the US map, which can give you any kind of ticket combo.

As for luck, pls check:
http://www.daysofwonder.com/en/msg/?goto=137929#msg_137929

I personally still believe US and EU have similar amounts of luck. Top ranks in Europe are just below 2000, so are they in the US where more top players are at that level and thus populate the right side of the distribution.

There are some good reasons why EU should be more luck-dependent and some good ones for the opposite argument.
Contrary to their disdain for the Euro-map and its luck-dependence, there are lots of top players who complain about luck in their US matches Rolling Eyes Twisted Evil

Bridge and TTR seem to go together well. Cards, reading your opp, distributions, move orders and odds are invloved. Also, I think the game Go has a lot of similarities in terms of connecting, expanding from a distance and attacking your opp by direct confrontation or a distance.

If you play the game with just the two of you, I would recommend playing on-line as it's far more efficient than all those cards and trains. Unless it's the only quality time you'd otherwise have off course Smile

[Aktualisiert am: Sat, 14 February 2009 17:05]

      
thelawnet
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sat, 14 February 2009 18:59
Zimo wrote on Sat, 14 February 2009 14:11

Usa is best.

You think now tunnel might be good for strategy. But once you lose a game because of 3 loco coming from deck when you try to make tunnel, you will realize.



Sure that can happen, and it probably spells defeat, but that's something you take into account when going that way.

Just because something may turn out well or poorly doesn't mean that it's a bad thing for gameplay.

You can choose whether or not to build those routes by selecting the right tickets. And yes the tunnel can go bad for you, but you can plan for that. The chance of 3 locomotives or matching cards is usually less than 1%. So that has a minor impact on strategy. You say: I can take these routes and avoid the tunnels for x points, using y trains, and z routes (turns), or go the tunnel way for a points, with b trains used and c routes. If I go the tunnel way, then for each tunnel I've got roughly a 35% chance of needing 1 extra card, 14% 2 cards, 1% 3 cards, and 0 cards, which averages out that a tunnel requires somewhere between 1/2 and 1 extra turn to complete when you count in the extra cards you need to draw.

Just because the outcome is uncertain doesn't mean it's not strategic. It's no different to playing poker - you calculate the odds and whether or not the risk (of having to play 1, 2 or 3 (which 99% of the time means just trying again next turn) extra cards) is worth taking. And after enough games have been played, the best player will be on top.
      
AK_Aramis
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sun, 15 February 2009 05:17
For me, the card game is the only viable 2p. I've tried europe, USA and Switzerland 2p, and didn't enjoy them.

I prefer 4-5p on TTRE, and 3p on Europe.

2p, ONLY the card game.
      
ajury
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sun, 22 February 2009 08:38
My Family enjoys the 1910 expansion cards.

We enjoy the larger cards as well as having more options. I have only played US, 1910 expansion and Europe.

Europe is OK, to many new rules in my opinion. I enjoy T2R since it is simple and easy to teach. ( I have taught both of my sons at age 6 and my Mom at age 66, all enjoy it, my mom stole my game!)

Regular rules are great but since I play a fair amount online the rest of the family does not like to play me, 1910 evens it up a bit.

My wife and I would rather play several quick games than one long game.

All according to your taste of course. I usually enjoy strategy, GO is a popular game at our house (yes my 6 year old plays) as is chess.

Have fun! Play lots.
      
yuhy
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sat, 13 June 2009 19:30
Mr Bean wrote on Fri, 13 February 2009 20:22

a number of arguments, but of course - as stated before - partly a matter of taste.

on the EU map there are - besides lots of small ones - 6 big tickets of which every player gets just 1 which you don't have to keep, but you won't get another.
there seems to be quite a big difference between how good these 6 tix are and therefore getting a good or bad one is already quite influential right at the start.

furthermore we have tunnels on the EU-map where luck decides if you have to pay up to maximum 3 extra cards for these segments. this of course can greatly influence the speed with which you can finish the game.

then also, on the US map you have the option to try and win by blocking your opponent out of his/her objectives (if you can guess them correctly). this can be an especially effective strategy against good tickets, even more so if you have small tickets yourself and don't mind if nobody gets to fulfill their tix.
however, on the EU map it's a lot harder to win by blocking because of the possibility of placing stations.

mind you, there's quite a bit of luck involved in the game anyway: who starts is quite a big factor, but also how many locos do you get, do you get the colours you need etc., but these go for all the variations.


Wish I had seen this back then. The top players pretty much play the same way on USA -- draw 20 times and go from there.

That is a recipe for disaster in Europe, as there are a few key legs that can completely disrupt a player if they need them. You have to grab those strategic legs -- and/or get your alternative picked early.

There is also a flaw in the numbers of the US game -- that being that the longest train wins a VAST majority of the time (also not true in Europe) -- and that the player that goes first has an inordinate chance of getting longest train.

But the real reason Europe is more fun is that it ALWAYS puts the two players on equal footing from the start. Nobody can luck into SEA-NY and VAN-MTL or PRT/NSH & SFO/ATL.

You get your one long route -- and that is your LAST chance to get a long route. And if somebody blocks you, just keep on chugging. Usually blocking will hurt you in the end.

So the US strategy of pull 20 times, lay together the longest train, grab every 6, and then block your opponent from making a long connection -- recipe for failure in EUR.

      
the aceman
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sat, 13 June 2009 20:36
echo,

I don't think that you're completely correct about not being able to win by drawing 20 times on the Europe map. You are right that if you have a ticket such as Cad-Stock/Lis-Dan then you may have to build early with the 3 white/orange 3 black/red. But really any other ticket combination doesn't require you to build early and their will be a way around. Thought you don't draw as much in EU at the start as US, you still draw a lot, if you want to be successful I think.

Also blocking in europe doesn't end in failure, 1 block can cause a 14 point swing by pulling of longest track as well as forcing you opponent to build a station. Blocking is very possible and very effective when playing against good tickets such as Kob-Erz(Proabably one of the easiest to block). A simple block can give you the win or if you choose not to block can give you a loss.

Ace
      
yuhy
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Sun, 14 June 2009 18:14
Hey Ace,

let me first state the real reason I LOVE the European board. Simply put, at any time during the game, I know where I stand vs. my opponent. I know score, tickets, and longest train status throughout the game. Thus whether I'm winnign or losing, I know -- and by how much. That is an artifact of the single long route rule, which I love.

You're right, though, that the strategies tha work in US CAN work in Europe.
There are 3 specific road-blocks that make the strategy LESS effective:

1) Ferries -- while this incents the deck draws,it also prevents somebody from playing an excessive amount of locos on the board,saving them for when they really need them
2) Tunnels -- the biggest roadblock -- you can take the risk without extra cards, but in all likelihood, if you're going for the long routes, you will need to pull more than 20 times.
3) 8 car tunnel and 2 six-car legs -- these are the most important aspect of the board. USUALLY, you need 2 of the 3 legs to win (although you can win with only 1. It's almost impossible to win if you get none of them.

When combined with 1 & 2, there are incentives to pull form the exposed cards instead of the deck (insure you get a loco, get a specific color to get to 10 cards for the 8, etc.).

You can usually tell a POWERFUL US player that hasn't necessarily learned the difference. They'll pull, pull, and pull. When the 8 is played, they throw up a 4 leg block, then the 6 card tunnel is played, and they double block (so they think). You play the bottom 6 -- and they're down 53 - 14, and I'm halfway to being out of cards.

Unless they get both 6'es and/or throw a double block, they'll likely lose -- probably by 20 or 30 points.

And blocking is also, as you point out, a nice 14 point swing -- when executed appropriately.

The difference is that if you wait until last turn, then throw in a 2 car block at then end of a leg, that is devastating in US, but will likely have no impact on europe, or could even be negative.

I actually LOVE when somebody blocks the end of my route -- it gives me so much more freedom, and really has no impact on any bonus.

See you around the Old Continent Very Happy


      
the aceman
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Mon, 15 June 2009 03:38
When you say that you need to big tracks to win, I believe this to be false. I am a fairly high rated eu player and have beat some pretty high rated players without getting 2 big tracks. You really only need one always. There have also been times when I have lost with all 3 big tracks so that doesn't always allow you to win. And blocking someone else road at the end can create you to go up by an extra 8 points if you block for example the end of Kob Erz. There are many games that are decided by 8 or less points, and to win a lot of times you have to block unless you have very nice colors.

I would love to play a best of 7 eu series and see who comes out on top. Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

Ace

By the way. 15+15+21=51 not 53 Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

[Aktualisiert am: Mon, 15 June 2009 17:44]

      
yuhy
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Tue, 16 June 2009 01:08
TD acemandopeSTW wrote on Sun, 14 June 2009 21:38


I would love to play a best of 7 eu series and see who comes out on top. Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

Ace


Echo echo echo - 1
Ace - 0

I look forward to your next attempt Smile
      
yuhy
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Tue, 16 June 2009 01:35
Well, I hate to reply to myself, but evidently I have raised the ire of the world's EUR players.

So far I've had 3 of you -- that NEVER play me -- join my game -- and attempt -- at least once -- sometimes twice, and in once case, essentially the whole game -- to block me.

And have all failed.

Bwa hahahahahahahah!!!!

Seriouly, I'm enjoying the true competition.

C
      
BamH1
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Wed, 17 June 2009 12:12
I am 1910 player. I love the extra tickets, the ticket bonus, and the USA map is the most well balanced imo with almost equal distribution of lengths across all colours.
I never volunteer to play the Europe or Marklin versions.
And what's more, i now know my USA geography a bit better.
      
Mr Homn
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Fri, 08 January 2010 14:21
BamH1 wrote on Wed, 17 June 2009 12:12

I am 1910 player. I love the extra tickets, the ticket bonus, and the USA map is the most well balanced imo with almost equal distribution of lengths across all colours.
I never volunteer to play the Europe or Marklin versions.

I see. You judge the latter maps by refusing to play them?

BamH1 wrote on Wed, 17 June 2009 12:12

And what's more, i now know my USA geography a bit better.

Oh gracious! You are one lucky guy if that is sufficient to get you through high school geography. Have you ever compared the TTR North America board (yes, it's NOT just the US!) with a REAL map?
      
barneyg
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Re:Best TTR version for 2 players Fri, 08 January 2010 20:58
Mr Homn: Thanks for bringing this thread back to life.

I think this is an interesting question that has seen a lot of debates both here and on BGG and the answer has always been either the DOW spin (Nordic or Swiss are best for 2) or the competitive players' view (usually US is best). We know about Swiss because it's available online (although not many top players play it actively), but we'll never know whether Nordic Countries is that strategic with 2 players until it's online and competitive players start playing it and explore strategy. My guess is, with the long routes and opportunities to block that board offers, it could be similar in strategy to US 2p (even with the tunnels and ferries), but I'm worried the ticket distribution would make it impossible to win sometimes, even worse than LA-CHI/DUL-ELP vs. BOS-MIA/NY-ATL.

Besides, judging from US vs. Europe discussions on (mostly real-life gaming oriented) BGG, it seems like the ranking across available TTR variants is heavily influenced by what people think are 'flaws' in game design*, and people will think this way until they're proven that those flaws can be overcome through strategy. The best way to figure out TTR strategy is through online play against a wide variety of opponents. I own Nordic Countries and I generally win against family and friends (mostly non-competitive semi-gamers) and I love it as a 2-3 player game, and I'll take it out before the base game or Europe, but after 15-20 plays compared to over 1500+ plays of the US map I guess this is expected.

To weigh in on the Europe/tunnel debate -- I think the biggest problem with TTR:E is the imbalance in starting big tickets, not so much tunnels as part of the luck element from tunnels can be controlled for through observation (and is kinda similar to many card-related elements in the US version). That's why I think for strategic players (and even though I've yet to play it), 1912 improves Europe more significantly than 1910 did for the US map (which IMO did very little to improve on strategic play).

* Example: Time for anew (Echo?)'s assertion that you're doomed if you're playing against someone who has POR-NAS+SF-ATL. This is not a terrible combo but out of all 435 possible 2-ticket combos I'm sure most competitive players would rank it closer to average than top.
      
    
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