Chart Remodeling: Mekko’s Presidential Resumes

Graph masters Mekko put out a slide the other day that shows the most recent work experience of every US President, divided neatly into 5 categories. It’s interesting to look at, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it could be improved.


Specifically, it was the color that bothered me. I wondered if the hodge-podge of colors might even detract from the visualization, as it seems to have themes (blues, greens, etc…) that don’t actually signify anything. Furthermore, US politics have a well established color-code, wouldn’t that make this chart more informative?

Thankfully Mekko left the slide downloadable and editable, so it took just a few minutes and hey-presto, party affiliation is baked right in! I went with the standard Democrats in blue and Republicans in red, made Whigs a dark slate, Democratic-Republicans purple, and left the relatively speaking non-affliated Washington and Adams white and grey, respectively.


So, dear graph enthusiast: have I improved the chart, or added an unnecessary detail? Does reinforcing the political divide take away from the intended message? Are there any other enhancements that come to mind?


Most Valuable Cities in “Ticket To Ride”

Update 2016-08-14: This article was translated to Japanese by the team at Big Cats Game Blog.

Ticket To Ride is a great board game where the premise is that you’re a railroad baron at the start of the 20th Century. Along the way you collect “Destination Tickets” and you need to need to connect up two specific cities to score extra points.

Not all cities are created equal, however.  Some cities are represented on “Destination Tickets” more frequently, and some cities only have a few pathways into and out of the city.

We calculated the Most Valuable Cities in Ticket To Ride through a simple formula.  Add up the number of points that you get with a given city, and divide it by the number of paths connecting up that city.

For example, New York City has 57 points associated with it, but there are four paths into the city in a 2 or 3 player game, and seven paths in a 4 or 5 player game.  Compare that to Miami, which is worth 50 points but only has three paths regardless of how many people are playing.  This make Miami and much more “valuable” city to connect up with.

Essentially, the more “valuable” a city, the sooner you need to establish a train line into it.  If not, you run the risk of being cut off from any current points you have in your hand, and any future bonus points from already having a connection there.

We’ve crunched the numbers for the US Map and for all four versions of the game (Original, 1910, Big Cities, and Mega Game) and produced a PDF for your reference to use while you’re playing.

“Ticket To Ride” Most Valuable Cities downloadable PDF

And since we’re a site all about graphs, we offer some key information in graph form.

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