Recently I had the opportunity to try a new-to-me board game with some friends: TransAmerica by Rio Grande Games.

The game is actually rather simple.  First the deck of cards is shuffled up and each player gets one of each of the five colors of card.  These colors represent the five regions of the board: East, Midwest, South, central, and West, and the cards each have one of the cities from the region on it.  The goal is to be the first to connect all five of their cities together with rails.  Each player is given a token and they take turns placing them on the board, doing their best to pick a spot that will allow them to connect all the cites.  Then the play proceeds.  On each player’s turn they can place 2 pieces of rail (or 1 piece of rail across a river or mountain range).  Each player must build outward from their token and pieces can only be played on track contiguous with their token.  However, if two players connect their tracks, then it counts as one entire contiguous track and those players may play additional track on it as if it were theirs.

Once somebody successfully connects their cities, the rest of the players count up the amount of track they would have to place in order to complete their connections.  These points are then tallied against them (similar to golf) and they have to advance their train token across the top of the board.  The board is cleared (aside from the train tokens at the top) and the next round is dealt.  Play continues until one person passes the end of the track at the top of the board.  Once that happens, the person who has the least number of points (moved the least across the top of the board) wins.

It’s a very simple game that’s easy to pick up and fun to play.  The rules are straight forward and accessible, and there is enough strategy involved to keep things interesting.  I had a lot of fun playing this game and hope to see it again.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?