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The rule book says that you need to decide on your tickets even before the next player takes his/her turn. How big a deal is it to allow a fellow player to decide on destination tickets while others are taking their turn?

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You could just make the player choose their tickets in a different room, and then when they have returned and announced their decision, ever other player can announce what they did on their own turn (place cards they drew face down in-front of them, place train cards slightly off the track, etc.) –  user1873 Sep 5 '13 at 4:47

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Allowing play to continue can give the player who is choosing which tickets to pick up an advantage:

  • Other players may place a route blocking one of the tickets the first player was considering keeping.
  • Seeing what colours others pick up can indicate where they're going. Another round of this can only help decide which routes are worth keeping.
  • If play has gone full circle while you're deciding, you also are guaranteed to know which colours will be available for you to pick up once you've selected your tickets. This is huge.

I thought I remembered seeing advice somewhere on the site that said "always let play continue if you're choosing the tickets, never let it continue if it's someone else", but I couldn't find it. While this is certainly the most "effective" way to play, I personally think it's a bit underhand.

I prefer to play as written in the rulebook, but if it's a causal game and people want to keep playing, I'll generally let it happen (no matter who is choosing the tickets). It definitely gives an advantage to the player choosing their tickets, but it's not game breaking.

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Thanks Tim! I accept these advantages, but question is, how influential these are... do they really make a great difference? For example, in fact blocking routes can actually deter the other player from choosing a ticket, or rethink a strategy... –  Neel Sep 5 '13 at 14:36
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If you were going to play the blocking route anyway, it's probably best to wait until the player has selected that ticket- so they end up with the penalty. If you're selecting tickets, I'm not sure there's much disadvantage in allowing play to continue without you, since you can make more informed decisions. –  Timothy Jones Sep 5 '13 at 15:39
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However, I think it's only in rare situations where it would actually affect the outcome of the game - say a player has just drawn tickets, and they have almost completed LA->NYC, except for one 2-train route. One of the other players might choose to conservatively block that route in their next turn. This is obviously useful information. Most times that tickets are drawn, you won't have a situation like that. –  Timothy Jones Sep 5 '13 at 15:44
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I wouldn't say it's underhanded - if there are two players playing by that rule then you'll always have to wait, and then it's even. (We play contrary-wise - you always keep going, so everyone is getting the same advantage) –  Allen Gould Sep 5 '13 at 22:09
    
I think it's underhanded to apply one rule to yourself, and another to everyone else. But, yes, it's easily mitigated :) –  Timothy Jones Sep 6 '13 at 0:46

Given that the ticket picking process is usually the slowest aspect of the game, and that turns are designed to be really short, when I play with my board gaming friends we play with a house rule.

The house rule is:

If a player picks tickets, play may continue until another player indicates that they want to place track. Then play stops until the ticket picker has finalised their decision.

Even though technically picking cards of any description gives information that the ticket picker should not have, we have found that the difference that this makes is negligible and the time saved is worth the marginal advantage that we give the player.

Of course track placement is the most important information in the game and the ticket picker should, under no circumstances, ever be allowed to see track placements before making their final decision.

In a tournament setting or playing with untrustworthy players I would recommend sticking to the official rules.

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