As a collective of passionate gamers, we at Ready Up have decided it’s time to come clean: we’ve been cheating on our string of gorgeous digital love interests with a succession of cardboard floozies and it’s been going on for YEARS. Yep, Borderlands 2, XCOM, Guild Wars 2 – we let ourselves be seduced away from each and every one of you with nothing more than a collection of little pieces and the promise of awesome stories and furious arguments.
In Bored? Game! you will find a collection of our best, our worst and our most sordid boardgame exploits – enjoy…
“This is a terrible game.”
“Are you saying that because you think it’s a terrible game or are you saying that because your campaign to destroy my railway infrastructure has failed pretty spectacularly?”
We were five minutes into a game of Ticket To Ride before my friend Ben had decided that, rather than trying to complete his city-to-city rail links in the hopes of earning muchos victory points, he was going to try and grind my fledgeling travel company into the dirt. The Little Rock to Nashville commuters hoping to take advantage of the glorious new Orient Pipspress (yes, yes, stop judging me) line would now find themselves rerouted through Kansas and Oklahoma — hundreds of miles of inconvenience and stress.
Playing boardgames with Ben you quickly learn that as Somerset Maugham once [kind of] said, it’s not enough to succeed but others must fail. Preferably at Ben’s hand.
The amusing part of all this is that as he schemed and plotted and second-, third- and fourth-guessed the expansion policies of the Orient Pipspress, our fellow player Catriona was quietly amassing enough cards to create what turned out to be a coast-to-coast behemoth of a railtrack stretching from Portland, Oregon to Miami, Florida. So that was nice.
“What the hell are you doing now?” wailed Ben as I abruptly turned North heading in the opposite direction to all of his carefully placed obstructions.
“Oh, sorry – did you waste a bunch of train carriages and cards in a pissing contest over a rail line I didn’t actually need? Terribly sorry about that!”
He didn’t need to know that I actually did want that rail line. Desperately badly in fact otherwise my unfulfilled destination cards would see me penalised a catastrophic 23 points. Time for a spot of mindfuckery of my own — so off to Canada I headed. I would deal with the repercussions at a later date.
By about halfway through the game the west of North America was still woefully underconnected while the east bristled and bustled. Travellers could take Cat’s calm direct rail system anywhere along the bottom border of the US. They could also explore odd isolated pockets of America and Canada with Ben’s vindictive and unpredictable set up. Or they could take a meandering trip around the drunk and deformed spidery mess that was my contribution to the continent’s transport infrastructure.
And then suddenly things began to move at an entirely different pace, Small but significant connections saw Ben’s stop-and-start tracks morph into some monstrous sprawling construction which dominated the landscape. Cat built what business lawyers would have happily referred to as an illegal monopoly on the West Coast and I decided that I had enough bizarre connections to start drawing bonus destination cards with the same reckless abandon as a teenager being introduced to Malibu and coke for the first time.
Towards the end the board was creaking with transport frictions, the cards were being watched hawk-like by everyone, and Ben was sitting on his train carriages to prevent us knowing how close we were to end-game.
The latter proved to be a slightly pointless and uncomfortable endeavour as when he suddenly announced we had reached the final turn Cat and I pointed out we all had an extra three trains left in a plastic bag in the game box.
That revelation only bought us an extra turn, however, and as we counted up the final scores I began to seriously rethink the wisdom of all those extra destination cards. Although, as it turns out, not quite so seriously as Cat who saw 20 points cruelly lopped off her total.
And as for who won? I refuse to name them as his renewed gloating would be, frankly, horrendous.
Ticket to Ride
Designer: Alan R. Moon
Mechanic: Route building
Number of players: 2-5 (best with 4)
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