Ticket to Ride: The Heart of Africa - Board Game Box Shot

Ticket to Ride: The Heart of Africa

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Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 - The Heart of Africa, a single-sided expansion map for Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: Europe, focuses on the central and southern "heart" of the continent displayed in a vertical format.

New expansion explores the heart of the continent with new Terrain cards that can double the value of your train routes.

Venture into the Heart of Africa to build routes through some of the continent's most remote and desolate locales. Will you bolster your terrain surveying skills and local knowledge to try and establish more valuable routes – or dare to dash across the continent in a mad race to cut the game short?

Ticket-to-Ride-Africa Not a stand alone game : Requires an original copy of Ticket to Ride™ or Ticket to Ride Europe™ to play.
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“A Challenging Continental Scramble”

Unlike previous entries in the Ticket to Ride Map Collection series – Ticket to Ride Map Collection vol. 1: Team Asia and Legendary Asia and Ticket to Ride Map Collection vol. 2: India and SwitzerlandTicket to Ride Map Collection vol. 3: The Heart of Africa only includes the one new map board and set of rules rather than two. So it has to do the work of two new boards to be interesting, let alone challenging. The good news is that The Heart of Africa is challenging…

Ticket to Ride Map Collection vol. 3: The Heart of Africa consists of the new map board, forty-eight Destination Tickets, forty-five Terrain Cards (a new card type), plus the rules booklet. The map depicts not the whole of Africa, but rather the South and the West as far North as Nigeria in the West and Sudan in the East, excluding both North Africa and the Horn of Africa. As with the Switzerland map, The Heart of Africa map includes destinations that are countries rather then towns or cities, though just Nigeria, Tchad, and Sudan on the map’s northern edge. These destinations are reflected in the game’s Destination Tickets.

Physically, The Heart of Africa map reflects the Ticket to Ride line’s chronological progression. The original board game is set in 1900, whereas the India map from Ticket to Ride Map Collection vol. 2: India and Switzerland is set in the Edwardian period. The Heart of Africa map moves to the 1920s, as reflected in the artwork with its motorcar and its biplane. Elsewhere, the art on the map has a dry, dusty feel apart from the rich illustrations accorded to the country destinations depicted at the northern edge of the board.

Most Ticket to Ride maps reflect their terrain in the routes that need to be claimed. For example, the Swiss map from Ticket to Ride Map Collection vol. 2: India and Switzerland has lots of tunnels that south through the Alps. The Heart of Africa’s map reflects the terrain in the routes available, but not by route type. Instead it groups routes according to the terrain type they cross. Further route colours are not distributed across the map, but grouped – orange, red, and yellow for Desert and Savannah routes; blue, green, and purple for Forest and Jungle routes; and black, grey, and white for Cliff and Mountain routes. These groups are organised geographically; the Forest and Jungle routes threading across the map’s middle with the Desert and Savannah routes to North and South and the Cliff and Mountain routes to the North and the East.

This grouping strongly influences play. First, it makes players scramble for Train Cards of the same colour if they want to make connections through the terrain types. The map has multiple incidences of routes of one colour being connected to a destination out of which leads a route of the same colour. The need to claim these routes quickly is exacerbated by the lack of double routes in map’s interior – they run along the continent’s coast. The map also has few grey routes that can be claimed using any colour Train Cards. Second, it will be obvious to the other players what terrain group a player a wants to claim a route from by the colour of the Train cards he draws.

The new Terrain Cards specifically work with the route groupings and so come in three types – Desert and Savannah, Forest and Jungle, and Cliff and Mountain. When a player claims a route he can also play a Terrain Card (or two Terrain Cards if the route is longer) that matches the route’s colour. This doubles the value of the points scored for the route. He needs as many Terrain Cards of that terrain grouping as any other player – known because they must be kept face up on the table where everyone can see them. Alternatively, Locomotive or Wild Train Cards can be used instead of Terrain Cards. Once played, Terrain Cards and Wild Cards are discarded.

Game set-up is little different to other Ticket to Ride games. Each player receives his forty-five trains and four Train Cards as usual, plus four Destination Tickets, of which he must keep two, and a single, random Terrain Card. Two Terrain Cards are placed face up alongside the usual Train Cards. When a player decides to draw cards during his turn, he can choose to draw Terrain Cards; either two Train Cards or two Terrain Cards, or one of each. Once drawn, a player’s Terrain Cards are placed face up where everyone can see them.

The need to have Terrain Cards and the need to have as many Terrain Cards as another player forces more decisions upon a player. Drawing more Terrain Cards gives the potential for a player to outscore his rivals, though possibly at the cost of drawing and playing Train Cards to claim routes. Ignoring Terrain Cards and claiming routes before anyone else prevents a player from scoring double points. In addition, a player can draw more Terrain Cards in order to have as many as his fellow players or more as a means to stop them scoring double with their Terrain Cards. In other words, Terrain Cards can be used to block other players.

Over the course of the Ticket to Ride line, the distribution of the routes across the various map boards have got tighter and tighter and thus more competitive. The India map from the previous expansion, Ticket to Ride Map Collection vol. 2: India and Switzerland being the most recent evidence of that. With The Heart of Africa, the map is equally as tight and competitive if not more so because of the lack of the double routes and the grouping of the route colours. The tight nature and competitive play of The Heart of Africa map is enhanced by the use of the Terrain Cards making this the most challenging version of Ticket to Ride yet.

 

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