Alexa ‘Ticket to Ride’ skill brings AI to boardgames for the masses

    Amazon's Alexa assistant can now play a boardgame with you and the family, or simply explain the rules.

    Alexa can now beat you at two popular board games

    Next time you want to try something new with your Echo speaker, say this:

    • “Alexa, launch Ticket to Ride.”

    Ticket to Ride is a popular — and very well reviewed — board game in which players “connect iconic North American cities and build your train routes to earn points”. (Buy Ticket to Ride on sale at Amazon)

    The game uses cards and a board with rail lines marked across North American and train pieces.

    Game length is typically 60 minutes so time commitment is reasonable for most. Per the rules Ticket to Ride requires 2-5 players.

    Now, however, if you find yourself alone and wanting to enjoy some solo game-time, Alexa can help out and be your partner/competitor.

    Saying “Alexa, launch Ticket to Ride” will start right from the… start. That is, your witty and increasingly sophisticated and worldly smart speaker will take you through the setup of the board game, the rules, and through the actual game itself.

    Stark Insider - West coast culture, tech news, reviews, videos by Clinton and Loni StarkTICKET TO RIDE

    Alexa-capable board game.

    Ticket to Ride by Alan R. Moon - How to enable Alexa

    From the manufacturer: “Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities through North America!”

    There are a few things you need to do to enjoy a board game with Alexa.

    1. Buy a physical copy of the board game Ticket to Ride

    The neat thing about playing with Alexa is you’ll still use an old fashioned board game with actual pieces and cards. Ticket to Ride is not an expensive game (it’s cheaper than most new video game releases), and features lots of fun, inspiring parts that add that classic board game appeal to the proceedings.

    2. Enable the Ticket to Ride Alexa skill

    Once you have a copy of Ticket to Ride, open your Alexa app on your iPhone or Android phone. There open the skills section. Search for “Ticket to Ride” and enable the skill.

    Finally with all that you’re ready to play. So say the final command to get things going:

    3. Say, “Alexa, launch Ticket to Ride.”

    I’d expect more games to follow in 2020 and beyond.

    Note there’s also Ticket to Ride Europe so if you get bored of the North American map you can try something new to keep things interesting.

    So grab some popcorn and your favorite beverage and gather the family (or youself) and Alexa around the family room table and enjoy some quality game time. All aboard!

    Tip: if you just want to play Ticket to Ride the normal way, that is with only human beings, you can of course. In this case Alexa, if you want, can just help you setup the game and explain the rules. She is so giving.

    How to Play Ticket to Ride with Alexa:

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    Mike Carrall
    Mike Carrall is a tech executive by day in Silicon Valley who writes under a pseudonym. Mike's passions include extreme sports, testing audio gear, trying (not so successfully) to restore a vintage 70's McIntosh receiver and spending time with his seven year-old daughter.