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on August 6, 2010
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries is the same fun boardgame as the others in this series (don't bother with the dice or card version, however). What makes Nordic Countries different is that it combines and revises some of the more advanced rules from both Ticket to Ride Europe and Ticket to Ride Switzerland Map Expansion. You get ferry and tunnel routes like Europe and the locomotives are only usable on them like Switzerland. Ferry routes all require one or two locomotives to build. Unlike Europe or Switzerland, you can "crush cards" when building ferries by "crushing" 3 of any single color card into a locomotive and some of the ferries require you to use cards of a specific color. Tunnels operate the same as Europe; when you try to build one, flip the top 3 cards from the draw pile over; if any of them are the same color as the route you are trying to build or are locomotives, then you need that many extra cards of that same color and/or locomotives in order to build the tunnel. You also get a new vertical game board and ticket cards, of course, depicting Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland (plus a bit of Russia), as well as a bonus 10 point Globetrotter ticket awarded to the player with the most tickets completed at the end of the game. There is no longest route bonus as in the original game or Europe. The new map has a lot of short routes in the south and long routes in the north (including a 9 train route that is incredibly tough to build since locomotives do not act as wild cards on normal routes in this version). There are several diabolical choke-points up north where you can screw over the other players by cutting them off while other areas in the south (the big cities) have a ton of ways into them. You can expect a real challenge from this map and its new rule tweaks.

Like the out-of-print Switzerland, Nordic Countries is only playable by 2-3 players; if you are playing with 3 people then you can use the double routes just as in 4-5 player versions of the other games in this series. Once again, Days of Wonder delivers a deceptively simple, fun but challenging game sure to provide years of entertainment. Production values are durable, beautiful and excellent as usual except well over half of the tickets are confusing. Many of the vertical destination tickets have names of the cities listed in order of south to north or right to left, which is the reverse of how one would expect to read them, and this takes quite a bit of getting used to (note that the Marklin edition of Ticket to Ride, which also uses a vertical map, does not seem to have this problem with its destination tickets). I suppose the logic behind the decision is that the south is the heavily populated region with more available routes but it comes across to me as an incredibly bad design choice. Usually, big cities are listed first on a ticket so maybe that is part of the logic but it took actively staring at the cards and comparing them to the map to finally see some method to the madness. And it is madness, because every single player I've gamed with was totally confused by the tickets that had the aforementioned issues in game after game. Okay, so maybe Days of Wonder can say it's not a screw-up but a design choice, except the rule is not even applied consistently. A few tickets do not follow it. Another problem, which cannot be played off as a design choice, is that all seven of the tickets leading to Finland's capital of Helsinki erroneously point inland to Lahti, the city directly above it. I'm not happy with the destination tickets; they cause unnecessary confusion and time-wasting in what is otherwise an excellent game. It does does get a little bit easier once you play enough games and familiarize yourself with the foreign names and locations of the cities. Days of Wonder customer service didn't seem to care or even consider the tickets an issue when I contacted them.

Nordic Countries is especially handy for when I can't get 4-5 people to play (so we can use the double routes), but I am taking off one star from my review for the ridiculous ticket confusion. Regardless of the problem, after playing several games of it, I still prefer Ticket to Ride Europe (with the Days of Wonder Ticket to Ride 1912 Expansion) because the locomotives are true wild cards and it adds three stations per player you can place to avoid being cut-off by your opponents. However, there is nothing to stop you from adding the station rules to Nordic Countries or any other edition. In fact, I recommend it if you like your games a bit less cut-throat, although the station colors may not match up depending on which edition you are trying to integrate them into; different editions of the game use different colors for their trains (Nordic uses black, purple and white, for example). I also like the variety of Days of Wonder Ticket To Ride - Marklin which adds passengers for an extra layer of crazy bonus point scoring strategy, although this edition can be a bit fiddly due to the extra rules and probably shouldn't be your introduction to the Ticket To Ride series. The original Ticket to Ride is the simplest version but also the most frustratingly cut-throat unless you also get the Days of Wonder Ticket to Ride 1910 Expansion which gives you a lot more choices on tickets and customizing the rules to suit your group's play style (but it's still probably the most cut-throat edition even with the expansion).
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VINE VOICEon January 3, 2011
I am already a Ticket to Ride (TtR) fan, owning the original game Ticket to Ride, but because my daughter really likes to play the original, I thought I would go with the Nordic theme. The advantage this game has over the first TtR is that it is a better game to play when you only have 2 or 3 players. The playing board becomes tighter and it seems you just can't get to your turn fast enough to do all the things you want. The original game can play up to 5 players. As a quick review, with Ticket to Ride games, your turn can only be 1 of 3 different actions available. 1)Pick up 2 train cards. 2) Or place trains on the board. 3) Or pick up 3 more destination tickets. That's it. Train cards are just colored cards with pictures of trains on them, nothing written on them to make things difficult. And you can have 1 train card or 50 in your hand if you want. Simple, yet you need to have a strategy to win.

This Nordic version has full sized train and destination cards also, better than the little ones in TtR. I was a bit leery about the addition of tunnels and ferries in this version, expecting it to be a confusing addition to the game, but it isn't. Again, my fears are totally out of line. The best thing about the Nordic version is that you can't use the wild locomotive cards wherever/whenever you want to. So, if the route calls for 5 green trains, you need 5 green train cards, no wild cards accepted! Still, on a handful of land routes, the colored spaces will have a locomotive printed on it, and that requires the use of a wild card. So, on some you will see 5 green spaces, but the first green space has a locomotive pictured on it, so you turn in 4 green cards and a wild card (which is aka the locomotive card). Tunnel and ferry routes can use wild cards freely, with tunnels being "risky" to build on, because it may cost you more matching train cards to build on than than is shown on the route...but again, it might not. An easy rule to pick up and play with.

Now, if you are reading this and having never played a TtR game, do yourself a favor and try this one. I would pick it over the original game, unless you will have more than 3 players regularly. It still kills me how Monopoly, Life, Mousetrap and other kid games are soooo dependent on paper money, cheap cards, cheap components and boxes that collapse, as well as lots of special rules and fiddly things that you have to keep referring to the rule book for. Ticket to Ride has none of those issues. And you can play this game in 30-45 minutes. Easy set up, easy put away. Do my kids ask to play Monopoly or Ticket to Ride?? Definitely this cool train game wins out, every time.
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0Comment49 of 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 3, 2011
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries is another great addition to the Ticket to Ride series of games. The best part of this edition is that it is only for 2-3 players, which can make for a more available game since it can be difficult to find up to 5 players for the other editions of Ticket to Ride. This makes it much easier for my wife and I to enjoy a great board game without having to organize a "game night." Quality, as always with Days of Wonder games, is top notch. The cards are similar to standard playing cards, and as such could wear over time, but it will take years and years. Everything else is made of a hearty cardboard or plastic.

Without delving too deep into the game play, there are several things worth mentioning.

1. Locomotives (wild cards) may only be used on ferry or tunnel sections, and are treated like normal cards when drawing cards.

2. Finding the routes from the tickets can be a bit difficult. I haven't had much of an issue with this, but several people that I play with often voice confusion due to the cities being difficult to find.

3. The 9 train car route is possibly unfair when scoring. I have played 10-15 times within the past couple of weeks since I received the game, and the person completing the long route has won each game. It makes for a race to see who can complete this section the fastest. If you are unlucky enough to get a route that includes this 9 train section, you'd better hope you win the race, or you'll be forced to find another way around. I don't know yet if this will continue to be the case, but it may warrant a "house rule" by changing the point total for the section from 27 to 18, or treating it like a 6 train car section. I haven't made up my mind what to do about this, but it may possibly need to change at some point.

Other than a couple of differences, this edition is basically Ticket to Ride: Europe with a different map and for less players. Another great addition to this incredible game franchise, I still haven't met anyone that does not enjoy playing. You'll find yourself immersed in no time!
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on November 28, 2008
I have several of the Ticket to Ride games and I can not even begin to let everyone know how wonderful they are. The Nordic Countries has beautiful graphics both on the game board and the playing cards. The tracks are incredible as they go thru the countries.

I would recommend any of the Ticket to Ride games for kids over eight years old. The games require a little bit of attention and the ability to add.

As a teacher I have a wide variety of students play these games and they have held up to wear and tear of playing every week. And with the game changing every time you play it you never get bored.

I know if you are just starting into the Ticket to Ride games you may find them a little pricey but it is an investment in the future.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon May 15, 2014
We are big fans of TTR. We own the Ticket To Ride USA base game with the Ticket To Ride 1910 Expansion, as well as all four map collections: Ticket To Ride Asia: Map Collection - Volume 1,Ticket To Ride India: Map Collection - Volume 2,Ticket to Ride Map Collection Board Game: The Heart of Africa, Volume #3, and Ticket to Ride Nederland Game. And, we love all but one of them because it doesn't work very well with two players (i.e., the Nederland -- I've also written a review of that expansions on its Amazon page with my reasons why for those who may be interested).

But, TTR Nordic Countries, which is specifically designed for 2-3 players, is our favorite base game as it a fun and challenging map for two players (which is how we normally play). We also like that it incorporates both ferries (which require one or more locomotives to claim) and tunnels (which can very in length so you never know quite how long the route you are trying to claim will be) -- neither of which are included on the base USA map. Finally, we also like that it included two new color trains (i.e., purple and white -- the third color is black) compared to the base USA game.

The only negative thing I've noticed about the game is that it does not seem to be the best map to teach new players (especially non-gamers who may be unfamiliar with this sort of game to begin with). It seems one of the things we like best about the map (ferries and tunnels) turn out to be a bit too much to have to learn the first time around. So, it might not be the best way to enter the game or to introduce new players to the game (for that I'd recommend the USA map, but after a while that may feel too be too basic for seasoned players). But, if you are already familiar with any other TTR game, you should not be disappointed with Nordic Countries.
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on February 24, 2014
Being totally new to board games, I had a bit of a learning curve. There are a few rules you need to know before you can play, and it will take at least 2-3 rounds of playing before internalizing all of them. But it is fun to learn those rules and play. I wish I had known that I cannot use other map extensions on this board, the way you can with the US and Europe edition.
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on February 12, 2014
We chose Ticket To Ride: Nordic Countries because we had played the European Ticket To Ride and really enjoyed it. The Nordic Countries Ticket to Ride is a shorter version, as it covers a smaller area. Only three people can play, whereas with the European version, up to six people can play. Also there are slightly different rules with the Nordic version; for example, players can not use towers if their route is blocked. We still enjoy playing it, but it isn't as challenging as the longer version.
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on November 10, 2013
I love the TTR games, and thought this would be a well balanced version for two or three players. I played it with friends for awhile and we all felt like it was not optimally balanced, especially compared with the US 1910 expansion. Still a fun game, but not as good as other TTR offerings in my opinion.
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on February 28, 2013
I am a big fan of the Ticket To Ride series of board games. Europe and USA are my favorites. I asked for and received Nordic Countries for Christmas 2012, however I am not sure if we will play this much at all. A few things I have concerns on are the following:

1. Can only play up to 3 people. Would have been nice to make it 4 max at least.
2. Not as many routes/cities. Surely they could have added some more cities and routes.
3. Locomotive rules are different from the Europe and USA version. Can't use on regular routes
4. This loooong route Murmansk-Lieksa is an exception to the locomotive rule.
5. That Murmansk-Lieksa route can use "substitution" cards for the color you are playing.
6. On ferry routes any 3 cards can be used as a substitute for a locomotive card.

I really hate the exceptions/substitutions listed above as a regular player of Ticket To Ride. You try to explain these exceptions to other players who may or may not be familiar with the other versions of TTR and it ends up just being confusing. On that looong route you can use any 4 cards (including locomotive) for any color played on that route, but on the Ferry route you can replace the required locomotive card with any 3 cards. I would rather have some consistency here and make the exception 3 cards for both cases, or 4 cards for both cases. It is dumb to have to remember the different exception substitution amounts.

Why even have the Ferry Locomotive exception? Why make that Murmansk-Lieksa route so long - 9 spots? Isn't there some kind of tiny town between these places they could have put on the map. Or even just a depot stop or something to break it up - then they would have had a 4 and a 5 route or any other combination.

So they scaled the game down compared to Europe and USA, then for some reason threw in a single crazy long route and tagged "exceptions" to it. And again for some reason decided you can't use Locomotives on regular routes, but again when you are playing a Ferry route you can replace a Locomotive with any 3 cards. This is all crazy to me.

I can't justify 5 stars for this version when comparing it to Europe or USA. I have to knock it down to 4 stars. I think there should have been more consistency between the other two main versions of TTR as well as more consistency in the use of "exceptions".
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on February 28, 2013
I received this game yesterday, and my wife and I have so far played it only once. However, we already love it! This is the first of the Ticket to Ride games that either of us has played, but we decided to get this version as I read it is better for less players (being limited to only 3) and we would often be playing with only the two of us. As we are also moving to Norway later this year that made this version the logical choice, as I even came across an unrelated online review where someone had learned their geography of Scandinavia from this game. That clinched the deal!

The gameplay so very easy to learn that after only one game my wife and I understand it entirely. The rules themselves are only four pages long, including instructional diagrams! The first game lasted about an hour (with my wife defeating me!) and we are looking forward to another. Setup was easy, and the instructions even include a diagram for where to lay the cards and pieces around the board, thus leaving nothing to guesswork. But while the gameplay is easy to learn, the strategy appears to give this game significant replayability, as you are constantly guessing which cities your opponent(s) is trying to connect and you do not know the answer until the game ends.

Also, unlike some other games which can skimp on pieces, this game even came with extra pieces in case you lose some (40 train carriages of each colour are needed to play, while it came with 45 where the extra 5 are referred to in the rules as spares).

All in all, I am very happy with our purchase and recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, easy to learn, and enjoyable game!
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