Review – Catan: Logic Puzzle & Ticket to Ride: Track Switcher

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Publisher Mixlore, Days of Wonder, Catan Studio

Category Solitaire Puzzle

Release Date 2021

Player Count 1

Ticket to Ride: Track Switcher and Catan: Logic Puzzle are new entries in the Logiquest line from Mixlore. How well do these puzzles tickle the gray matter? And how much do they feel like their source material? Let’s find out!

Review

I love solitaire puzzle games like Rush Hour, Roller Coaster Challenge, and Turing Tumble. Mixlore has released a new line of games in this genre, including tie-ins to tabletop blockbusters Catan and Ticket to Ride. Both spinoffs include 40 challenges in various difficulties.

Catan: Logic Puzzle

This puzzle is all about connecting points on a hex grid. Inside the box are a ton of plastic pieces representing classic Catan materials: robbers, knights, rivers, resources, etc. Each scenario has 2 or more settlements/cities which the player must connect via roads. Road pieces feature different resources, and the resources shown on adjacent tiles must always match (e.g. sheep next to sheep, wheat next to wheat, etc.).

Obstacles get in the way, however, limiting how/where tiles can be placed. For instance, robbers frequently show up, and only knights can be placed next to them, nothing else. Likewise, rivers block the way, forcing the player to go around them, and so on.

Ticket to Ride: Track Switcher

This one is more in the vein of Rush Hour—it is all about getting the different trains from point A to point B in the fewest possible moves. The player can only move the locomotive piece(s), but locomotives can push or pull other cars. Occasionally, broken track pieces are used, which act as obstacles.

Each scenario has a starting and an ending state, and the player must figure out how to get from one to the other within a certain number of moves. The game uses a star system for scoring, so for a given puzzle, a 3-star (perfect) execution might take 5 moves, a 2-star (good) execution 6, and a 1-star (meh) execution 7.


Both of these games provide tricky, engaging puzzles. Like most solitaire logic games, the scenarios start out on the easy side, but get legitimately challenging by the end.

Production-wise, these games look great. They are designed to be portable, with the play surfaces doubling as travel cases. The Ticket to Ride game contains a hidden drawer for cards and trains, and the Catan game comes in a handsome, plastic box which easily stores all the components.

With that said, I found 2 minor production issues with Ticket to Ride: Track Switcher. First, the physical movement of the trains can be a bit cumbersome. The cars don’t always glide easily along the tracks, and they occasionally get caught on a corner, particularly when trying to move multiple cars at once. Second, in the center of the board is a dial, shaped liked a railway turntable, that helps players to keep count of their moves. This dial only rotates in 1 direction, meaning that if a player makes a move, ticks down the dial, and then wishes to backtrack—and this will certainly happen—they must rotate the dial all the way around to return to where they were, rather than just moving it back a single tick. Thankfully, neither of these issues are big enough to truly hamper the experience, but they are potential annoyances.

In terms of the puzzles themselves, I find the Catan game more interesting than the Ticket to Ride game; it feels more unique, and Track Switcher is fairly derivative. Neither of these games really feel like their source material except in aesthetics, but this doesn’t bother me personally. I just like doing the challenges.

If you, too, are a fan of logic puzzle toys, these might be worth a look.

Review copies were provided by Asmodee.

The Bottom Line

While these puzzles do not feel like their source material, they do provide some entertaining challenges. Personally, I prefer the Catan puzzle to the Ticket to Ride puzzle.

 

7

Author: Stephen Hall

A bard pretending to be a cleric. Possibly a Cylon, too. I was there when they dug up the "E.T." cartridges.