Ticket to Ride Pocket - Addictive and Repeatable
Recently, Days of Wonder made a calculated play for the hearts and minds of iOS gamers: they gave away Ticket To Ride Europe for iPhone away for free. I've been curious about the (board) game for a long time and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to pick it up and decide if I liked it. It probably isn't a surprise to anyone that I loved it! I loved it so much, in fact, that I immediately went and bought the actual board game.
An iOS app is usually a couple of dollars at the max. I "saved" $1.99 on it and then immediately went out and spent over $40. I would say that Days of Wonder did very well in this particular regard. It also solidified my belief that if you give someone something to try and they like it they'll probably go out and buy it. Some people won't but I have to ask if those people would have ever bought it in the first place?
Traditional to Mobile
I also think the app is a gateway to the full game. Ticket To Ride Europe is pretty entertaining on the iPhone. The AI is decent enough. I certainly win the vast majority of times at this point but it's entertaining regardless. There is support for multiplayer but I rarely have enough time to sit and play through a whole game with four other remote people. When I do have time to do so I'd rather play the board game with my friends and family. Thus I picked up the physical copy.
The iOS app is an amazing approximation of what the actual game is and by automating everything it makes an already low time investment game go a bit quicker (when you're not trying to play with a bunch of people sneaking in turns at work). You do lose some of the grandeur, however, of the giant map.
Neither version is that complicated of a game. You can pretty much have all the rules memorized in five to ten minutes and gameplay goes smoothly after a round or two. The goal is to collect tickets that link two cities in Europe and build connections between them on the map with train cars.
The depth of the game comes in how you plan your routes and how you compete with the other players. Once a route is claimed it is gone forever! Nobody knows exactly where you're trying to get but they can guess and try to box you out. This leads to a game that changes every time you play and doesn't get stale. My wife might suggest that it suffers "Mario Party" syndrome, however, in the sense that once you're done playing you'll hate all your friends! I'm not so sure about that but I did block her final route last night.
If you've never really been into board games consider picking up the game on iOS and giving it a try. You might discover that it actually is your sort of thing. Then you can buy the board game and get on the path of converting from a digital gamer to an analog one!