Ticket to Ride, from Days of Wonder, is one of those ultimately simple yet compelling gateway games that continues to prove its place in the world of board gaming.
In Ticket to Ride, 2-5 players compete against each other to earn the most victory points by placing train routes across the United States of America. Points depend on the length of the train route, the longer the better. Routes are claimed by collecting and playing coloured cards that match the colour of the routes across the map. As the game progresses, the map starts to become crowded and the game can become more cutthroat as players start to cut each other off - or try to.
Players get tickets that link two cities on the map. If the player with the ticket gets to link them together, they win more points at the end of the game. However, if the player cannot link them together they will lose points. Players can't discard the tickets that they decide to keep. So, keeping a watchful eye on your opponents to see where you can head them off or where they might head you off is key to victory.
Ticket to Ride is already a classic in gaming that has won endless awards and sold millions of copies worldwide. It's suitable for newcomers to the hobby and gaming veterans alike.
Player Count: 2-5
Time: 60 Minutes
As a couple who had been together for almost eight years we loved spending time together, but also started to have our own hobbies and interests to keep us busy. We had collected the usual suspects of gaming. Namely games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Pass the Pigs etc. We loved playing a good game now and again, but I could see that there was a diﬀerent breed of board games that were being played.
One game I saw time and time again looked big, complicated, expensive and yet beautifully illustrated and interesting. Ticket to Ride came in a large box, decorated in awards and was a game about…trains??
About Ticket To Ride
At a Comic Con we visited a vendor’s stand, asked about the game and we were directed towards a sales assistant who loved Ticket To Ride. He explained the concept and we were sold.
The board itself is a good size. The map of the USA is a thing of beauty, highlighting main cities from Montreal and Vancouver, to Los Angeles and Miami with everywhere in between all connected by rail. The concept of the gameplay is complicated at ﬁrst, but satisfyingly simple once you grasp the mechanics of the game.
Taking two to five players and coming in at around 60 minutes per game, Ticket to Ride is the perfect strategy game.
Playing Ticket to Ride
Starting with three destination tickets, each player keeps at least two. The destination tickets are the object of the game, awarding with much needed points at the game's end. Each ticket has a point value and will be added to your end score should you successfully complete it.
The score for each completed ticket is on the card and they vary depending on how long and complicated the journey is. You could choose to keep the longer, more complicated tickets or ( as there is no maximum number of tickets you can attempt ) build up a handful of shorter, potentially easier journeys.
Extra scoring at the end of the game may inﬂuence which tickets you attempt as 10 points are awarded to the player with the longest continuous path of trains. You may choose a longer ticket and over the course of the game try to complete shorter tickets along the same route. But beware! Your planned route may be blocked by your opponent(s) also trying to complete their tickets and taking a route you need.
Some routes between two cities beneﬁt from two train lines, however these only come into play when there are three to five players. When there are just two players these double routes are not in play and you will need to ﬁnd another way around.
Scoring happens during the game and also at the end. When you place trains to connect two cities you score depending on how many trains you placed and there is a handy scoring guide on the board. Once a player is down to their last two trains or less, everyone takes their last turn and then the end game scoring takes place. You score for the completed tickets and deduct points for incomplete tickets. A ﬁnal 10 points are given to the player with the longest continuous route.
We get great satisfaction at the end of Ticket to Ride, discussing what our initial tactics were, what was going on in our minds at crucial moment and where a player blocked you oﬀ and how you overcame it.
Ticket to Ride looks stunning, plays really well with so much replay-ability it really is just a great way to spend an evening. For a great introduction to European style board gaming this is certainly the best way for you and your friends to start.
With any game there is usually a ﬂy in the ointment. One little thing that impedes on the gameplay, or makes it repetitive or even one sided towards one player who does this or has this. I can honestly say that Ticket to Ride is one of the only games where we cannot actually ﬁnd anything wrong with it.
Oh ok, the cards were too small and fiddly in the ﬁrst game. However Days of Wonder ironed this out very quickly in the subsequent game. The cards are almost a standard playing card size. This was even rectiﬁed in the expansion to the original game. Not only did they add more routes to include cities that weren't played in the original, but they included all of the original cards from the ﬁrst game in a more manageable size.
Once you have been bitten by the Ticket to Ride bug there is no going back. The game has now developed so many spin-oﬀ games covering Europe, Asia, a Nordic map and many, many more. They have even just announced a brand-new map collection - France and the Old West!
No matter which new board games we buy and play we will always come back to this amazing game that started our current obsession.