Spice it up! with New York 1901


Sometime, somewhere, someone introduced you to Hobby Gaming. You probably started out with a gateway game like Ticket to Ride. You taught it to your friends and family, and everybody’s happy enjoying “the train game.”

But after playing Ticket to Ride a few dozen times, your game group is looking at you for the next big surprise. Now what?  Here in Louisiana, we’re never satisfied with anything boring or bland.  We like to SPICE IT UP.

This blog is all about board gaming and board games in the Deep South, with a Louisiana flavor. We will look at various next step games to help your group experience the wide world of gaming.

But back to Ticket to Ride. If your game group thinks Ticket to Ride is getting a little bland, spice up your game night and grab a copy of New York 1901.


New York 1901 is a 2015 release from Blue Orange Games, designed by Chenier LaSalle from Quebec with beautiful art by Vincent Dutrait.  (You might remember Dutrait from his work on Elysium and Lewis & Clark, among many others.)  It is essentially a Card Drafting & Tile Placement game, sort of a Blokus meets Ticket to Ride, and serves as the perfect next step game up from old favorite Carcassonne.


The rules are fairly straightford and very easy to teach in 5 minutes.  There’s even an excellent visual FAQ that you can get from the Geek created by the designer which explains some of the NOT SO CLEAR rules questions.

Each player tries to earn the most victory points  by placing buildings on the cityscape of turn of the century New York.  Players fill up the map with ever larger and more complicated buildings — demolishing a few smaller and older properties on the way.  You can rack up big bonus points at the end if you build on the random favored streets

NY1901.pngThere are only a few actions you can take each turn, so this is a good next step game for your new players.  Once any player gets down to only four buildings left, the game is over and the points are tallied.  The play time says 45 minutes, and once you get a couple of games under your belt, you will be setting up, playing and tearing down easily in about an hour and maybe less depending upon the players.

IMG_1699WHY IS THIS SPICIER than Ticket to Ride and Carcassone?

Because even though I consider New York 1901 a relative light game, there is so much more to think about in NY1901 than in those games. It makes for the perfect game to introduce that next level of strategy to your fellow new gamers.  Even with the limited number of options, you still have to be efficient with your planning and your moves. You have to keep an eye out on your fellow builders. Plus, there are bonus cards and legacy buildings that add another layer of strategy. imageThe designer has even snuck in a little bit more player interaction, at least more than in Ticket to Ride. Timing the placement of your buildings, and the location, can elicit cheers and/or groans from your fellow players as you stymie one of the architects best laid plans to build a huge legacy building.  And finally, you have that juicy tension that comes when one of the players gets down to 5-7 buildings, especially if you still have a lot left to build.

So if your game nights are getting bland, SPICE IT UP with New York 1901. I give it 4 out of 5 Cayenne peppers.  Until next time, Laissez les bon temp rouler!

B. J.

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