Review: Travel Blog

Posted by James (admin) on December 10th, 2010

Travel Blog challenges players to travel around the USA or Europe and be the one to have the most money remaining at the end.  The game primarily consists of two decks of location cards (US states and European countries) and a board which has 7 spaces for location cards.

In each round, 7 location cards are dealt out onto the 7 board spaces and players place their marker(s) next to location cards.  In round 1, a location card is placed in the middle of the board and players must place one of their two markers next to one of the 7 location cards (or next to the space marked ’40’).  Players place their markers simultaneously and there’s a small penalty for picking the same location after another player.

Once everyone has placed their marker, players use the maps of the US and Europe that come with the game to work out the cheapest route from the start location to the location shown on the card next to their marker.  Each border crossed costs 10 euros; however, there is an additional cost of 30 euros for each of your locations that are adjacent to each other, and an additional cost of 10 euros for each player marker that yours are on top of.  So, taking time to make your decision will cost you money if you’re not the first to pick a location.

In later rounds, you need to visit more locations in one trip.  For example, in rounds 5 and 6, players are given a start and end location and must select 2 locations they will visit in between.  In 7th and final round, your blog has become successful so you are being paid to go on your final trip – this time, you pick locations as usual but get paid money (instead of paying out) and it’s up to the other players to calculate your shortest route so you get as little as possible.

The game ends after 7 rounds.  Players receive some money in rounds 1, 3 & 5 and the player with the most moneyat the end wins the game.

It sounds like an interesting enough premise but Travel Blog just didn’t work for me.  The part when working out where to place your markers is the best part of the game as it’s the main decision-making and thinking of the nearest location without being adjacent can be quite tricky; however, I found we spent more of the game working out the shortest routes on the map after picking our locations and not actually making decisions about our routes.

Placing the markers simultaneously did add to the fun because there’s extra pressure. Interestingly, no-one in our game used the ’40’ space at all, but I think it could be very effective especially in the first round when all of us paid out way over 40 Euros for our one stop trip.

Production-wise, the game is well made with small, plastic Euro notes for the money.  Whilst I usually dislike paper money, the plastic notes worked well.  Having a deck of location cards and a map for both the US and for Europe is a nice touch as, it not only makes it appealing to countries both sides of the Atlantic, but also adds replay value and a choice of difficulty level (as you’re bound to know one map better than the other).  If you play the Europe map, you’ll have a definite advantage if you know your Eastern European countries.

I can imagine families and lighter gamers may enjoy Travel Blog, but it didn’t have enough meat for me.  I found there wasn’t enough action and it felt too much like a geography quiz and not enough like a game.


[Played with 3 players]

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