Simon "that sci-fi guy"
TransEuropa is a 'gateway' game of the highest calibre and can be compared to another highly successful train themed gateway series: Ticket to Ride.
Much like ticket to ride TransEuropa consists of a map board, trains to build and cards showing cities where players must go to win. There are two major differences between the two games. The first is that the players are building track and when they cross paths with another player, the track becomes common; that is any player can use any of the track they are connected to, where they build it or not.
The second major difference is that unlike TtR where players attempt to connect 2 cities, in TransEuropa they are trying to connect 5 cities. The cities on the board are divided into 5 different regions, represented as different colours. Each player is given five cards - one for each region. They must connect all 5 cities to win first the round.
On a turn a player may lay two pieces of track over regular surfaces (represented by a single line on the map). If they are going over water or mountains they may lay only one piece of track (represented by two lines on the map). Once a player has connected all five cities they announce this to the other players and the round ends.
The vexation expansion which is now included in the base game gives each player three pieces of track in their own colour. Once this track is laid only they may use it for connecting cites. Other players must build either regular common black track, or their own coloured track, around to connect locations. This expansion is a must and, unless playing with small children who are just learning the game, should not be excluded. The slightly added depth of strategy is crucial for replayability.
After the round is complete player determine how many pieces of track they needed to lay to complete their route of connecting the five cities. That is their score for the round. The player who finished does not score. All players start on 12 points. As they score they lose points. Once a player moves to 0, the player with the highest score wins.
This is a fun, easy to learn and play game. It is hard not to compare this to Ticket to Ride and it doesn’t have quite the same depth but is still a worthy addition to a family’s gaming collection.