Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Ticket to Ride: The Heart of Africa

At this point, Days of Wonder have fully committed to the Map Expansion idea for expanding their most popular game, and the third such package takes us to Africa, the fourth continent to be visited by these coloured plastic trains.
Unlike the previous two map packs, this is not a double board. As such, it needs to offer something quite unique in the game experience to make it stand out. It does add a slightly different game mechanism to contribute, but how successful is it to adding to your Ticket to Ride journey?

Additions

1Africa Map – This map doesn’t cover all of Africa, but only the southern half of the continent. It does have ferries to Madagascar . The regions, such as desert, savannah, jungle, are indicated by the colour of routes available in that areas, which is quite neat and not something we’ve seen in a TtR map before. Also, the scoring numbers have animal skin backgrounds, which is awesome.

2Terrain Cards – The unique experience I mentioned before comes in the form of terrain cards. Remember how I said the map was divided into geographical regions based on route colour? This is how it comes into play. Terrain cards are now available. You can use them to double route scoring in that area, so long as he has the most of that type of terrain. This causes a constant race to happen between the players for card majority, similar to the Catan largest army or the stocks in Acquire.



Critique


Best Feature:
Well, the terrain cards I suppose. Its really the only new feature. I enjoy the race aspect of trying to have the most of any given card. I also like how the cards are tied to the map.

When to use: This is not an expansion you will always play Ticket to Ride with. It is one of those scenarios you only play once in a while to switch things up or to give the game a little extra complexity. Don’t use it with new players. It does muddy the basic gameplay a little bit.

Does it fit?:
No, you have to keep the expansion in its own box. The board is the real problem here.

What type: It’s a “different scenario” expansion. It adds a new map and a new major rule, but the rule only works on this map.

Overall: It’s a neat little experiment on the Ticket to Ride system. Not something I would play too often, and doesn’t improve on the base game. Some may find the terrain cards a distraction to the simpler collecting cards and claiming routes aspect. But it’s a good expansion to have for variety’s sake.
thumbsup

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