We got TTR-Marklin today and immediately opened and set up a 4 player game. A preliminary reding of the rules promised a very good game and the experience was really worth it.
I have played all the 3 games and I feel that TTR-Marklin is the best of the three. This retains most of the tension and feel of the original game and adds some an excellent dimesion with the passengers and tokens. We were not entirely happy with TTR-Europe when we played it a few times. The only good thing was the separation between the long and short routes that equalised a bit of the luck of the draw in the original TTR. The concept of tunnels and stations were ok but did not add much to the original game. After a few plays we definitely preferred the original.
But Marklin is a different cup of tea altogether. It has brought back the bounce that the original had and that seemed missing in Europe. The tension element remains. The passengers and the separation between the 2 types of destination tickets gives everyone an opportunity to come back into the game.
Firstly the trains are the same. The scoring tokens which were wooden in the original have become plastic which is a shame. The passengers look nice. But the tokens are too small and cause some problems because we are all not pianists! Another thing about the train cards is that they have depicted original Marklin trains. The problems is that the different black train cards would have different trains on them. This can be disconcerting if one is used to the original and the europe version of the cards. I also missed the small cubes showing all the colours in the original locomotive cards. The map is a map of Germany with connections to Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria and France with each country having between 1 and 3 spots to connect to.
The game follows most of the original rules with the addition of passengers. I will assume that people reading this are familiar with original rules. If not please read a review of the original game. The passengers can be placed on one of the 2 cities that are being connected by placing trains in a turn. The passenger then can move and collect point tokens placed on the cities and collect extra points. One can also use the route of another player and collect tokens if one has a passenger card which is part of the train car deck. Now there are 4 actions per turn. Drawing cards, drawing destination tickets, Moving a passenger and collecting tokens or placing trains and collecting 2 cities. Because of the 2 ifferent types of destination tickets depicting long and short routes, one can now pick up any combo of 4 tickets and choose to retain only one. a very good option and also better to the rules in the original. The game play is streamlined and proceeds very smoothly.
The game is the best in the TTR series. The first play really had us all vey excited with a feeling of wanting to play more. We did not get this in TTR-Erope sadly. While the game is not as simple as the original to serve as a gateway game it can stilll be played by gamers with a little experience easily. I have a couple of young boys aged 13 and 15 in our apartment complex who join us for weekly gaming sessions. Both of them have never played TTR though they have tasted Transeuropa. They both understood the game very well, caught on to the strategy and thought the game was very good. I think TTR-Marklin is an excellent addition to any games shelf and is really my favorite TTR game of the 3 released so far.