Recap: Travel Blog First Impressions | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Recap: Travel Blog First Impressions

Image via Czech Games Edition

Image via Czech Games Edition

Vlaada Chvatil is by far my favorite designer and I’ve loved everything that he’s created. But I never tried Travel Blog. It’s a geography game. Which made me hesitant. Educational games are, almost without exception, totally dull and dreary. I left it on my shelf for a long time for fear that it would be the first Chavtil title I disliked. But it finally came down this week. My fears were unwarranted.

Travel Blog. We played on the Europe map to keep things interesting. There is a random assortment of cards with one in the center. Your job is to pick the one that is the closest to the center card without sharing a border. What’s more, the players make their choices simultaneously. And, if you make a choice someone has already made, there’s a modest penalty. So speed is important.

But the game also ramps up nicely. After two rounds the easy way, you then switch over and start going to two locations. So you take longer trips which costs more money. Then, you spend two rounds where you have a start and end destination set for you and you still need to visit two outside countries. Finally, in the seventh round, you reverse things and try to go the long way. Because this time you get paid for each border you cross.

The game was surprisingly fun. I really enjoyed the way each few rounds built on the others. So you weren’t just doing the same thing over and over. Instead, just as you felt like you might be getting the hang of it, it layered on a new quirk that you had to deal with.

I also learned that I have Western Europe down pat. But as we slide over to central, and especially Eastern Europe, I have no clue. I know the names of the countries over there (mostly by process of elimination since they aren’t in Western Europe), by I’m not super solid on how they fit together.

Still, I came in a respectable second place behind the group’s geography queen. What I lacked in solid knowledge I was able to (mostly) make up for in speed and gut instinct.

Travel Blog isn’t on the same level as Tash-Kalar or Mage Knight, but it is still a pretty fun game. And one that I’d play again some day. Vlaada Chvatil can make a good educational game. The guy is basically a design wizard.

Also Played. Sentinels of the Multiverse (x2) and Modern Art.

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