I’ve been pretty bummed out lately because I haven’t been able to play too many games, but early Wednesday evening I managed to talk my daughter into playing a game with me. It wasn’t hard to do. My daughter is awesome and is always great about playing games. Yay Hailey!
I grabbed TransEuropa, a network building game where players choose five cards that correspond to five different cities across Europe and attempt to be the first to connect all of their cities with tracks.
TransEuropa was designed by Franz-Benno Delonge and first published in 2005. The recommended age is eight and older, which is about right, but I think you could go a bit younger with some kids.
TransEuropa plays pretty quickly and the rules are extremely simple, which is exactly why I chose this particular game. Players draw cards from five different regions across Europe. On your turn, you can lay down one or two pieces of track. The board is a map of Europe with major cities connected by a triangular grid. Most of the grid lines are a single line [ – ] but some are double lines [ = ], which represent an area where it is more difficult to lay track.
You start by placing a marker of your color in a particular city and then on your turn you can start building track from that location. Once your track is connected with another player’s track, your network of travel then expands to include all of their track, and they have access to yours as well. A round ends when a player has managed to connect all five of their cities. That player will score no points, but all of the other players will lose points equal to the number of tracks they would have to lay down to connect all of their cities. [ = ] Double track lines count as two tracks when making this determination. Those players then move their locomotive up on the scoring track accordingly.
I also have the expansion Vexation, which I’m pretty sure is now included as part of the base game. The expansion gives each player three special tracks of their color that allow them to make connections that can only be used by them, so if the rail networks are linked other players may only use the combined rails up to the point that they reach a rail of an opposing player’s color. No particular intersection of the grid can have more than two colored rails adjoining it, which prevents a player from being locked out of a region. We almost always play with this expansion, but I think it’s important to teach the game without it, especially when playing with younger children.
TransEuropa is actually a re-implemented version of TransAmerica, which is the same game but is played on a map of the United States. TransAmerica was first published in 2001, and was a Spiel des Jahres Nominee in 2002.
You can check out a terrific video about these games created by Scott Nicholson over at Board Games with Scott. Yay Scott!
Disclaimer: I have recieved no review copies of this game. I have included links to funagain.com, an online retailer that I support by including affiliate links to games. If you purchase something from Funagain, and include my affiliate code, P2RX, then I get a few pennies of store credit so I can buy more games.