Trends are a constant in the board game industry, as they are in any industry. Gamers looking back through the years will see pirates, vikings, Rennaissance happenings, European expansion, European merchantilism, haberdashery and many other topics rise and fall among trends in games hitting the market. For 2011, the trend appears to be giant monsters that destroy things, with Richard Berg's Godzilla: Kaiju World Wars coming from Toy Vault, Richard Garfield's King of Tokyo coming from IELLO, and now the newly announced Alvin & Dexter – A Ticket to Ride Monster Expansion from Alan R. Moon and Days of Wonder.
Alvin and Dexter, you might wonder? Those names don't sound too monstrous, and the first word to come to mind when viewing the homespun artwork of DoW regular Julien Delval probably isn't "panic". Well that may be, but perhaps you'll change your mind once these beasts start smashing your scores in any of the various standalone Ticket to Ride games that Moon and Days of Wonder have released since 2004.
These monsters stymie players both during the game and once it ends. During play, no routes can be built into or out of a city where Alvin or Dexter are currently nesting, and during the final score tallying, any destination ticket showing a city where either monster stands is worth only half its normal value. Desperately need to build a route to Seattle, Paris or wherever else a roaming monster has set up shop? Discard one (or two) wild locomotive cards, and you can move the monster up to three (or six) cities away from its current location. Move a monster more than any other player, and you'll pick up an endgame bonus for your role as monster minder.
Alvin & Dexter – A Ticket to Ride Monster Expansion, which includes twenty monster cards, two bonus cards and rules in eleven languages in addition to the two figures, retails for $13/€10 and will stomp into stores in February 2011.