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Ticket to Ride Europe

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Ticket to Ride: Europe takes players on a journey along the famous railroads of the continent in this sequel to the ever popular Ticket to Ride! Ticket to Ride: Europe, a game suitable for 2-5 players, shares much of the same great features from the original. Not only does it keep the fun, fast-paced gameplay rooted in its core, it also brings three brand new elements to the table. …
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  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • An excellent gateway game
  • Great production quality
  • Quick pace and plenty of fun

Might Not Like

  • The elements of luck
  • Potential for take-that mechanics
  • Base game's replayability isn't huge
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Ticket to Ride: Europe takes players on a journey along the famous railroads of the continent in this sequel to the ever-popular Ticket to Ride!

Ticket to Ride: Europe, a standalone game suitable for 2-5 players, shares many of the same great features from the original. Not only does it keep the fun, fast-paced gameplay rooted in its core, it also brings three brand new elements to the table. If you find yourself having to build a Tunnel, be prepared to pay out extra cards to finish it off! Ferries make it easy for your trains to get across the water but make sure you have a wild card to hand. And if you ever find yourself at a loss when your opponent secures a route that you desperately need, Stations will let you claim that route as well! Be warned though, once used, you can’t score them at the end!

Ticket to Ride: Europe will see players become even more strategic and even more cunning with their moves, as they journey across Europe in the quest to build the longest railroads! This game is sure to be a hit with all the family, with its colourful and vibrant artwork and easy to learn gameplay. Absolutely anyone can be up and playing Ticket to Ride: Europe in no time at all. The fast and fun gameplay will have you coming back for more time and time again!

So, what are you waiting for? Hop aboard and make sure you have your Ticket to Ride!

Player Count: 2-5
Time: 30-60 Minutes
Age: 8+

Trains have been a thematic mainstay of the board game hobby for many years, ranging from the simple pick up and delivery of Ivor the Engine to the heavy and meticulous Russian Railroads. But chugging along comfortably at that lighter end of the track is Ticket to Ride Europe.

As the highest-selling train game on the market, Ticket to Ride takes pride in its colourful accessibility, bringing families around the table to compete in a nostalgic trip of locomotive card-play.

So, What's It About?

Trains. Well, not quite. Ticket to Ride is more specifically about train routes. In this case, across the continent of Europe. But there are still plenty of trains, so don't worry. In fact, the base game packs 240 of the lovely little locomotives, which will spread out across the map like erratic paint strokes on canvas.

Up to five players will take 45 trains in their colour and take a beautiful tour through Europe, completing routes in an attempt to become the greatest train magnate. From brief travels across the Channel to continental escapades through Spain, Russia, and Turkey, players will need to contend with unpredictable tunnels, greater lengths of track, and erect stations.

How Does It Play?

Refreshingly simply! This hand management set collecting, and route building game serves as an excellent gateway title in the same vein as Carcassonne, Splendor, and Codenames. From set-up to game turns and end scoring, Ticket to Ride maintains an accessible, laid back, but satisfying feel.

Once players have received all their train and station pieces, all that is left is to deal out everyone's Train cards and initial Destination Tickets, as well as set up the display of five Train cards used to claim them. Train cards come in eight different colours, as well as a multicoloured 'wild' locomotive. These colours match specific sections of the track on the map. For example, a trip from Budapest to Sarajevo would require three pink train cards, which when discarded will allow that player to place three of their train pieces along that route. The longer the track, the more points that player will score immediately.

But, this is not the only way to score points. Remember those Destination Tickets dealt out at the beginning? Completing these routes will earn extra points at the end of the game. Destination Tickets can be worth anywhere from five to 21 points depending on the length and difficulty of the journey. A quick excursion from Athina to Angora would net you five points, whilst a lengthy South to North slog from Cadiz to Stockholm promises 21.

The Actions

Every turn, in clockwise order, players will do one of four actions. The two you will most commonly come across are either taking cards or playing cards to claim a route. Players can take two cards (or one if choosing the 'wild' locomotive), either from the display or blind from the top of the deck, replenishing the display as they go. There's no limit to the number of cards you may hold, but as you build up particular colours it's best to play them before someone else claims a route!

Playing the cards is as simple as discarding the required colour and amount for a particular route, and scoring the points on the track framing the board. Only one route can be claimed each round. If you happen to complete one of your high scoring Destination Tickets, don't tell anyone! They'll be scored at the end.

At some point, you may want to acquire some more Destination Tickets. If that's the case, you may use your action to take three from the deck and choose to keep any number of them. Although, bear in mind that incomplete tickets will grant negative points at the end of the game!

Finally, players may wish to construct a station. These cute plastic pieces may be placed on any city without any other players' stations, to essentially share an already claimed route in or out of that city. This can help with completing Destination Tickets in areas heavily congested with other players' pieces. Building your stations is simple. Discard one Train Card of any colour to build the first station, two matching cards for the second, and three matches for the third. Furthermore, any unbuilt stations at the end of the game are worth four points each!

End of the Line

The game end is triggered when one player's collection of trains is down to two or less. Each player will then have one more turn to finish up any Destination Tickets or quickly claim a few points. Points for Destination Tickets are added (or subtracted!) to the points collected throughout the game, as are points for unused stations.

Finally, whoever achieved the longest continuous path of trains takes the European Express card scoring a bonus of 10 points! The player with the most points wins and proclaims themselves Europe's greatest train magnate!

If you'd like a more detailed guide on how to play Ticket to Ride: Europe, we have one for you here.

Why Should I Play Ticket To Ride Europe?

Despite my personal preference for heavier games in recent years, I'm always happy to return to Ticket to Ride Europe. Its colourful and tactile simplicity is captivating, making it that much easier to slip back into its gentile mechanisms when it does reach the table.

As a gateway game, Ticket to Ride Europe actually reaches the table quite often. It's just a terrific game to introduce to new players. I mean, who's going to be put off by the prospect of playing with some tiny trains? It helps that the rules are easily explained and that the game runs at a nice smooth pace, with turns zipping around the table like a bullet train.

More seasoned gamers may be put off by the game's limits to strategy and planning, made clear through Ticket to Ride's emphasis on luck. It doesn't happen all the time but sometimes a player strikes it lucky with their Destination Tickets, stringing off a number of conveniently located smaller ones on their journey to their high-scoring ticket. Of course, this is down to personal taste and will likely not be a problem for many players.

Similarly, matters of taste may come under scrutiny when considering the occasionally mean take-that elements at higher player counts. Understandably, with the full complement of players, Europe becomes pretty crowded, making some tickets harder to achieve. On the other hand, even at two or three players, Ticket to Ride Europe allows for players to block each other, laying down routes they anticipate others are eyeing up. As with the elements of luck, some players may be fine with the occasionally aggressive take-that potentials of the game, whilst others may not.

Final Thoughts On Ticket To Ride Europe

Days of Wonder have a habit of putting out colourful and inviting games and Ticket to Ride: Europe is no exception. But it's more than aesthetically pleasing. Some may take issue with its simplicity or particular mechanics, but overall Ticket to Ride Europe is undeniably satisfying. Placing down your little trains is lovely, introducing newcomers to it is joyous, wrapping up that agonisingly long route is thrilling. It looks good on the table and feels good in the hand, whilst scratching that light gaming itch in the brain. 

An obvious but accurate addition to a growing game collection, Alan R Moon's Ticket to Ride is sure to bring plenty of fun to the table for you and your family for years to come. And if you find yourself tiring of the same old journeys across Europe just seek out some of the excellent expansion maps

Editors note: This blog was originally published on April 30th, 2018. Updated on April 13th, 2022 to improve the information available.

The Ticket to Ride family of games is one of the most expansive and most well-known series in the gaming world, and Europe is one of its most famous expansions. Not only is the Europe version great fun to play, but it also includes some twists on the classic USA version. Twists such as tunnels, ferries, and stations. The premise of this version is much the same: gain the most points by claiming routes and fulfilling Destination Tickets. Simple! Ticket to Ride Europe also received a fancy 15th-anniversary edition with upgraded components, prettier cards, and a much bigger board. So, let's climb aboard and learn how to play…

All Aboard

First players must lay out the map board in the middle of the table. Next, each player places their scoring marker on the 0 space on the edge of the board. Shuffle the colourful Train Cards and deal four to each player. Place the deck face down by the board and draw the top five cards, placing them face up next to the deck. If three or more of these are the shiny locomotive cards, discard these five and draw another five. Along with this deck place the European Express card and reference card face up by the board.

Sort the Destination Tickets into two piles. Short routes (indicated by a light background in the top corner), and long routes (indicated by a red background in the top corner). Randomly deal one long and three short routes to each player and return the long routes to the box. These cards act as objectives; if you can connect the two cities on the card then you win the points written in the top left corner. However, if the game ends and you haven't been able to complete any Destination Tickets, you lose the points shown instead. When you get your Tickets you can discard up to two, but you can keep all four if you're feeling lucky. Make sure to keep all your cards a secret throughout the game. And just like that, you're set up! Whoever has visited the most European countries is the starting player, and then play moves clockwise around the table.

How do I Win?

The objective of Ticket to Ride Europe is much the same as previous iterations of the game. There are four ways for players to gain points. The simplest is claiming a route. This is where a player discards a set of Train Cards and places their train cars on a route. Another way to score is to connect the two cities shown on a Destination Ticket, or to have the longest string of routes out of everyone. The final way to score is through stations. I'll go into more detail about these later, but at the end of the game each unused station wins you four points.

Welcome Aboard

Now you know how to win, let's find out how to take a turn. On their turn a player can take any one of four actions. These are: claim a route, draw Train Cards, draw Destination Tickets, or build a station.

Claiming A Route

To claim a route in Ticket to Ride Europe, a player must discard a set of Train Cards which match the colour of the route. This set must also match the number of spaces of the route. When a player has claimed a route, they place their coloured train cars on that route and win the points indicated in the top corner of the board. To claim a route players can also play a locomotive card in the place of any card. Also, when claiming a grey route players can choose any colour to claim it, so long as all cards played are of the same colour. For example, to claim a route of four yellow spaces, I would have to discard four yellow Train Cards or swap any yellow card for a locomotive. Simple, right? Well, for the most part, yes. However, Europe adds in new mechanics for players to get their heads around. 

The first is ferries. These are easy to spot as one of their spaces has a locomotive icon on it. To claim these players need to play a locomotive card. The next is tunnels. These routes have a black boarder around them and can carry an extra cost. When a player tries to claim a tunnel, they must draw three Train Cards from the deck. If any match they colour of the route that player must pay that many extra cards of the same colour. Across the board are also double routes. In groups of fewer than three players, only one of these routes can be claimed.  

Drawing Train Cards

If you can't claim any routes, you might want to pick up some Train Cards. In Ticket to Ride Europe, when a player draws Train Cards, they draw two cards from either the set of face-up cards or the face-down deck. When players draw from the face-up set, they first draw one and replace it. They can then either draw from the set again or draw a face-down card. If, however, the card they selected from the face-up selection was a locomotive, they cannot draw any more cards from either set. If at any point three of the face-up cards are locomotives, discard the set and draw five new cards. In Ticket to Ride there is no hand limit, so draw as often as you need to! If the deck ever gets depleted just shuffle the discard pile and go again.

Draw Destination Cards

If you have completed all your Destination Tickets and want some more challenge, you can draw more. When doing this action, players draw three new Destination Tickets. From these the player must keep at least one but can choose to keep them all if they want to. Be warned though, there is no way of getting rid of Destination Tickets once you have selected them, so choose carefully.

Building A Station

Each player in Ticket to Ride Europe has three stations along with their train cars. Each station allows its player to use one route belonging to another player to or from that city. These can be useful to help fulfil Destination Tickets. Each city can only have one station, and to build the first one the player must discard one Train Card from their hand. To play a second or third station that player must discard a matching set of two or three Train Cards. These stations are handy, however, if you don't use them, you will get a bonus of four points per station at the end of the game.

You Have Arrived At Your Destination

The game end is triggered when any player's stock of train cars is reduced below two. Each player including that player then get one final turn before the scores are calculated. Most of the scoring should be done gradually as the game goes on, but there are one or two end game bits to add. Firstly, the Destination Ticket scores must be added or subtracted depending on if they were achieved or not. Secondly, four points are awarded for each station a player did not use. Finally, the European Express ticket is a bonus of ten points for whichever player had the longest uninterrupted route of the game. And just like that, Ticket to Ride: Europe is complete, and you should have a winner!  

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • An excellent gateway game
  • Great production quality
  • Quick pace and plenty of fun

Might not like

  • The elements of luck
  • Potential for take-that mechanics
  • Base game's replayability isn't huge