Here's a scenario to illustrate my question. My wife and I were playing Ticket To Ride: Nordic Countries earlier this evening - apologies if you don't own this particular edition, but hopefully the basic situation will be obvious to anyone who's played any TTR, even if you're unfamiliar with the map.
We'd both drawn a poor selection of Destination cards and kept only two each. My first play was Orebro - Stockholm. The next two routes were played by my wife: Kobenhavn - Karlskrona, and Karlskrona - Norrkoping. At this point, with a spare red ticket in my hand, I opportunistically played Stockholm - Norrkoping!
With both the southern entries to Stockholm blocked, my poor wife now had no choice, if she wanted to link Kobenhavn to the top right segment of the board, to undertake a cruelly circuitous route, involving three turns and ten tickets, instead of one single ticket and a single turn. I patiently endured the two minutes of dire recriminations and imprecations that followed my dastardly move, and ended up winning the game by in the region of 20 points - hardly a landslide.
I'm just wondering whether this kind of thing would be considered poor sportsmanship in other groups. I ask because there was a question on this very site about whether it was poor form, in Settlers of Catan, to pretend to want to trade for a good, to sneakily fish for information before playing a Monopoly card. To me that seems like a perfectly sensible procedure, but a lot of people seemed horrified at such unsportsmanlike practice!
There's an argument that one should play Ticket to Ride only "by the book" - making only plays that actively help to score Destination cards in one's hands. I would counter that, in an exclusively 2/3 player game like Nordic Countries, blocking one or both of the other players can be just as beneficial as straightforwardly aiming to score routes, if not more so. If another player has drawn and kept 5 amazingly compatible routes and I am going to struggle with my 2, why is it unfair for me to "even the odds" a little by throwing a spanner into my opponent's works? Essentially, I don't understand why it's okay for me to try to crush an opponent by "above board" means, and not okay to do that by "devious" play.
In a game with many players I think a purely blocking move could be slightly more dubious, on the ground that it will probably only mess with some players, allowing others to pull ahead: it's kingmaking, basically, and that can be really annoying. But is there anything wrong with such tactics in a 2-3 player game, where it can obviously be an effective route to victory? Would a player who regularly tries to spoil your plans rather than concentrate on his own be persona non grata before too long?
Certainly it really gets my wife's goat - I'm lucky I'm not sleeping on the couch tonight!