So let’s take a look at Ticket to Ride France. Alan R. Moon’s sixth map collection from his hugely popular game Ticket to Ride. Published by Days of Wonder and some fantastic artwork by Cyrille Daujean and Julien Delval.
The Train is Delayed Due To Lack Of Tracks!
Ticket to Ride was one of the first games that got me interested in the hobby, and I have collected a few versions of this game along the way. But what caught my eye for this one? Well, the concept of the game is pretty much the same as the others, you draw destination tickets, collect train cards, and then claim your routes. But first, you need to build the tracks! That’s right, none of the tracks has been constructed apart from a couple of single lines that are dotted across the map. Playing 2-5 players you will have to lay “track beds” whenever you draw a train card. Construct your rail network as you go.
If You Build It, They Will Come
There are only a limited number of track sizes and colours available to use. Do you just focus on building routes for yourself? Bluff to try and throw people off the scent of where you are heading? You can even make it difficult for your fellow players by laying one colour of the track to make it more difficult for them to complete? The options are plentiful so deciding on the best action to take can affect your whole game. There are also some crossed lines that once one is laid it closes the other available route.
Just because you lay the track does not mean you have the right to claim it. It’s fair game for anyone to claim it and trust me it can lead to some pretty interesting conversations across the table. If you collect enough points and complete routes to collect end game bonuses, you will claim victory. This new dimension of the game is welcomed. It offers a great level of replayability across the series.
In the usual Days of Wonder style, the game components are quality. The cards have a lovely textured finish to them, making them great to handle and move about the table. The artwork of the map is fantastic. Based on the impressionism art movement, it really feels like the board has been designed by Monet or Renoir and complements the game perfectly.
But Wait There Is More
In usual Ticket to Ride fashion, the game board comes double-sided. Inviting us into the Old West, so saddle up and explore the wide-open plains. This map reverts back to the traditional printed tracks, but this game also has a twist of its own. At the start of the game each player chooses a starting city, and every one of your subsequent routes must connect back to your starting city. So, there are no grabbing routes at opposite ends of the map and if another player builds into your city to complete a route, then you claim those points instead.
This will allow you to steal as many points as you can off your opponents during the game with some clever placing of your cities. You can control up to three cities on the map which will always strike fear into your opponents in case you place one on someone’s projected line. With the game playing up to 6 players in this version (6th player trains included) it could well be pistols at dawn. As an extra little quirk, if you build a route into Roswell and capture Alvin the alien, you will score an additional 10 points. But this is an alternative variant if you wish to play it.
End Of The Line
Overall, this expansion is great fun on both sides of the board. Combining fantastic artwork and new ideas to the game, keeping the gameplay fresh and giving you a choice of how you want to enjoy your Ticket to Ride game nights and stop it from becoming monotonous. If you’re a fan of the Ticket to Ride series, this will be a welcome addition to your game shelf collection.