One of my favourite magazines, Print, has, of all things, an article about German boardgames: Extraordinary Meeples. It follows the rote approach that most similar mainstream articles take — can you believe that some people are still playing boardgames and they aren’t made by Hasbro? Settlers of Catan is one — but it does touch upon the thematic and visual design of these games. Not really surprising since it’s in an issue focused around European design, but it’s a welcome perspective.
The timing of this is perfect since, this Wednesday, German boardgame Ticket to Ride is released on XBox Live Arcade. If you are new to the whole thing, it’s not a bad place to start. It’s mechanically simpler than the oft recommended Settlers of Catan and it has, compared to some of the more renowned games, less depth (it’s there though, but it’s really subtle) but it’s a decent entry point. It’s accessible, has simple rules, isn’t too confrontational (though, to the joys of some, you can still actively, if indirectly, screw over other players) and the matches rarely feel unbalanced in the end.
I’m not sure what the XBox version adds to the experience but if you were confused by Carcassone and too impatient for Settlers of Catan, check it out. I’d buy it myself, to support such releases, but I’m soon to leave all my consoles behind. My boardgames too. *sigh*