Ticket to Ride: Asia
A while back, Days of Wonders decided to start the Ticket to Ride map collection, providing new map experiences without requiring players to purchase entirely separate games, like they did previously with Europe, Nordic Countries, etc. Their first offering ventured into the exotic continent of Asia.
The Asia Expansion includes a double-sided board with two new versions of the popular game. The first is Team Asia where, you guessed it… its set in Asia. Oh yeah, and also you play as teams. The second is called Legendary Asia and is a slightly different map where you are back to being your own team. Lets take a look.
Team Rules – Honestly, I didn’t expect to like the Team Asia variant at all. The idea of playing in teams always seemed king of lame to me. However, I found that this game as teams is actually quite fun. The rules work well, where you cooperate just enough, but because you can’t discuss strategy, there’s a lot of tension remaining since you don’t really know what your partner is up to.
I don’t think that Ticket to Ride was meant to be played as teams and always should be. But to switch things up every once in a while, when you have the right situations and right group of people, it can be a fun twist. Just don’t be partnered with someone who’s mean to you.
Legendary Asia Map – The second map is a slightly different map of Asia, which extends out further both east and west. There’s an interesting network of routes on here which is a lot of fun as a switch up from the North America and Europe maps. There’s a good mix of routes of all sizes, without those stretches of lots of longer tracks, like California or across northern Europe.
Mountain Routes – Asia includes new types of routes which simulate dangerous mountain tracks. When they claim these, they lose a trains “off the cliff”, but still get points for it. This can be used as a speed up mechanic to end the game faster, but… I don’t know that I like that. I also feel that getting points for the discarded train tracks makes it less risk and makes me ask what the point is, but maybe they had to for balance reasons. But it still doesn’t seem worthwhile to me.
Wooden Card Holders – This package also comes with wooden card holders, made for the team play but doesn’t have to be limited to that. We have found ourselves using them often no matter which version of TtR we are playing. They’re really cool.
Best Feature: I think just having a different map to play. I like the Legendary map, even though I’m not a fan of the mountain routes.
When to use: The team play is a really fun variant to switch things up every once in a while. Of course, you can only do this with 4 or 6 players and you don’t want to do it every time you head out on the tracks, but it’s worthwhile trying it out with friends now and then.
Does it fit?: No, the map won’t fit in the original box, even if you disclude the other map expansions.
What type: Asia could be considered a “different scenario” expansion. It has new layouts and that team variant. Therefore its not something you always play with, but only to change tracks once in a while.
Overall: Asia is pretty cool. Team Asia is much more fun than I expected and Legendary Asia is a nice alternative.