I recently went on an international vacation where I was primarily using public transit, so I needed small, portable games to bring with me. Avenue fits that niche perfectly. With only a deck of cards and some player sheets, it's easy to travel with and can be play with virtually any small table. To top it off, it's super fun and my desire to improve always keeps me coming back!
Synopsis: Avenue is a draw-and-write game played over several scoring rounds. Playing the part of vineyard owners, players must draw paths on their player sheets to connect as many grapes to their farms as possible. Each turn, a card is drawn that shows which path type the players can copy onto their sheets. At the end of each scoring round, players score based on how many grapes are connected to their farm. The catch? During each round, the players must score more than they did during the previous round or lose points.

Designers: Eilif Svensson, Kristian Amundsen Østby

Artist: Gjermund Bohne

Publisher: Aporta Games

Player Count: The Avenue box says it supports 1-10 players, but truthfully, as many players as want can play. Avenue is simultaneous multiplayer solitaire, so player count is not important.

Game Length: Avenue will last about 15 minutes, but I rarely play just one game in a sitting.
The goal of Avenue is to score the most points, which can be accomplished by connecting grapes to the target farm during each of the five scoring rounds and by having grapes connected to the two colored castles (red and green) at the end of the game. To start, all players receive an identical player sheet and the two decks of cards are shuffled.

At the beginning of the first round, and each subsequent round, a goal card is drawn to indicate the farm that will score at the end of the round. Players must connect grapes through that farm to score during the round.

Next, a path card is drawn showing one of the six types of paths. All players must draw the shown path on their player sheet. Paths can be placed anywhere and do not have to connect to previously drawn paths. Once all players have drawn the path, the next path card is revealed and players draw it on their sheets.

Instead of drawing a path, a player may peak at the next farm goal card, thereby knowing which farm will be scored during the next round.

Play continues in this fashion until four yellow path cards are drawn (path cards are grey or yellow) at which time the target farm is scored for how many grapes are connected to it. Whenever scoring, the target farm has to score higher than the previous farm or it scores zero points; all zero-point farms result in a -5 point penalty at the end of the game.

Once scoring is complete, a new farm goal card is revealed and play continues.

After five scoring rounds, the game ends. Players add up their points, receive additional points for grapes connected to their corresponding castles (the number of red grapes connected to the red castle and the number of green grapes connected to the green castle), and take a -5 point penalty for each zero-point farm. The player with the most points is victorious.
My Opinion
What I Like
The Portability: As mentioned previously, this is a perfect on-the-go game. Only requiring a small deck of cards and a few player sheets, Avenue can be easily transported and played anywhere. Not only that, gameplay is quick enough that it is easy to pull out in any situation.

The Puzzle: I love puzzle games, and I love planning ahead! Avenue is just one big puzzle that keeps me coming back for more. To do well, you have to plan ahead but also roll with the punches. If the path you're waiting for isn't coming up, do you keep hoping it will be drawn before the scoring round or give in and play a suboptimal path? Decisions like this get me excited.

The Difficulty: Games that are too difficult break down my spirit and make me not want to play them, but easy games lose their luster too quickly and also end up sitting on the shelf. Avenue sits in the nicely middle; it's difficult enough that I want to keep improving but not difficult enough to be frustrating.
What I Dislike
The Game to Game Variability: Avenue comes with a pack of 150 player sheets, but they're all the same. The randomness of the scoring rounds and paths drawn change up the game, but my final sheets end up looking similar from game to game. A few different sheet layouts would add even greater replayability to a game I already play a ton.
Final Thoughts
People who enjoy puzzle or roll-and-write games should stop right now and buy Avenue. It's almost a perfect game in that genre, and for my part, I can't get enough. I always have to play multiple games in one sitting just for the hope that I can beat my previous score. Actually, I have to stop this review here so I can play another round of Avenue...