This is another Train Game, an unofficial designation for board games related to building or controlling railroad lines and companies. Designed for two to six players, TransAmerica is a simple, pleasant game of resource management and opponent reading.
Each player is dealt one card from each of the five color-coded city decks. So everyone will have a green west coast city, a blue East coast city, etc. There are seven cities per region; even with six players there’s some mystery of who has what. Each turn players can build two tracks (represented by the black blocks) or one track over the difficult terrain of rivers or mountains. Every track has to connect to your current line, but once you connect to players’ you can build off their lines and vice versa. The goal per round is to be the first to connect to all your cities. Once a player finishes, everyone else loses points based off how many spaces they are from their unconnected cities. The game ends when a player goes over the edge of thirteen missed connections, resulting in a score of zero. The highest score/ fewest missed connections wins. The trick is to try and only what you need and take advantage of other players work.
There’s a part of me that hates this game. I’m not that good at it, seem to have bad luck drawing cities, and I have trouble getting into other players heads to figure what cards they have. On the other hand, it’s a fun, easy to learn, and fast. A long game takes a half hour. There’s nothing morally objectionable and there are some interesting house rules (link) out there. I would recommend it.
The original price was $29.99, but since the game has been out of print for years, it can be rather expensive. But if you can find it, or a friend has it, try it. On that note, happy Mother's Day everyone, and HI MOM!