As fans of the popular Ticket to Ride game collection by Days of Wonder, my partner and I were delighted to discover the Ticket to Ride Poland expansion (Map Collection 6½) or Wsiąść do Pociągu Polska. This expansion does not disappoint and for regular players of Ticket to Ride, this is one you should definitely consider adding to your collection.
With destinations and map in Polish, as the game was originally produced only in Poland, there is now an English translation of the rules. The board is decorated with iconic buildings for each of the destination cities, and the tickets give you helpful pointers as to where the places are in case, like me, you aren’t sure where Płock is (turns out it is relatively central and at least one player will go via it in most games)!
How To Play
Played mostly according to the base rules from the original game (check out the blog on How to Play), this expansion adds an additional bonus mechanic to the game. This special rule focuses on connecting to neighbouring countries to form a ‘country network’. This nicely complements the regular aim of completing tickets, i.e. the usual connecting cities/destinations by laying down trains on a map board.
For each country you connect, bonus points are gained by drawing from stacks of country cards. It pays to connect to neighbouring countries early, given that the point value for each country decreases each time a player connects to it. It’s a balance between completing your tickets and extending your routes outwards, as country stacks can rapidly shrink before everyone has connected, and you won’t get any points if all the country cards have already been picked up by other players.
Every connection is eligible for a card pick-up, so if you are adding a third country into your network, you could pick-up three country cards as a reward. Plus, you’ll want to keep an eye on how many routes go into each country, as they do vary – for example, Czechy (Czech Republic) has four whereas Litwa (Lithuania) only has one, and the number of country cards reflect these. Rather charmingly, the colours needed to connect tracks across the borders are reflective of each country’s flag, which is the attention to detail I have come to expect from Alan R Moon across the Ticket to Ride collection.
Remember though, if you are purchasing, this is an expansion pack and you will need a copy of the base game to play (original or Europe). You will need the trains, scoring markers and train cards from one of the base games, as this pack only contains a new-map board, 35 new destination tickets and 20 new country cards.
Used To Ticket To Ride
Unlike other Ticket to Ride maps, this one uses shorter track sections (the most you’ll get is a single 5-train long stretch between Gdansk and Płock), so there is less opportunity to aim for those longer higher-scoring individual connections. This makes for a board that appears deceptively well connected between almost everywhere, with plenty of pinch points to navigate. There is no longest train or globetrotter bonus in this version, but the country network requires you to reach to the very edges of the board.
Whilst this board plays 2-4, you will interact with other players much more when there are more of you scrabbling for routes that criss-cross the board. Having said that, I do enjoy that the Poland board fills up relatively fast even with two players, so blocking is still a valid game-play strategy with the added interaction of racing to the edges (though the detours are mercifully not as long with only two players compared to four). With card choices, it’s not unusual to pick up tickets that have most of the core route you’ve already laid, e.g. if you pick ones on either a north-south or east-west axis from the start, so overall point scores are pleasingly high by the end. It’s also worth bearing in mind that you only play with 35 trains (instead of 45), which can make for a slightly quicker game time.
Ticket to Ride Poland has become a firm favourite in our ever-growing Map collection. We love that the rules are kept simple with most of the same base rules – I’d argue it is simpler than Europe as there are no stations or tunnels to worry about, and most of the cities have more than two possible connections (even when double tracks are not used). This makes it a great introduction to friends or family members less used to Ticket to Ride or boardgames in general, as well as being a lovely starter expansion for those looking to try a slight variant of a much-loved game.
The new bonus mechanic is very complementary to completing tickets, giving you more options in tactics, though you will need to do both to win as the destination tickets are (relatively) low-scoring. As we are a two-player household, it’s great to play a map that works for a lower player count, but gives the flexibility to expand to four when guests come around, giving the game a slightly different feel but without changing the basic premise.
That concludes our thoughts on Ticket to Ride Poland. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Ticket to Ride Poland today click here!