TransAmerica is the first “track” game I’ve played. Good thing. We could actually understand the rules in about maybe 5 minutes. Its rules, but not exactly what they mean…

You play on a simplified map of the US. Nice, big board. There are cities. There are cards – one for each city on the board. Nice, little cards. Pretty. In 5 different colors. Then everybody takes one of each. And that way, you get your cities, scattered across the country, coast-to-veritable-coast.

You want to be the first to have all of your cities connected. You build tracks using little wooden sticks. Lots of little wooden sticks. Not fun for the feeble-fingered. You place them along a network of lines that connect hither to yon.

What’s deliciously hard to remember, at first, is that you’re not building your own separate railroad. So as the game continues, and you connect more tracks, you all take advantage of the connections that everyone else has already made. Kinda if you wait long enough, someone else might just as easily make the connection you need. And therein the strategic subtleties are at play.

The game doesn’t take long to play, either. And you can honestly play it with 2 as well as with 3 as well as with 4,5, or 6. And it almost doesn’t matter if someone joins in after the game has started, because, like I said: we’re all on the same track.

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