San Francisco, the home of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the 49ers, clam chowders, Sea Lion colonies at Pier 39, there’s endless to see and do in San Francisco. But how to get around such a vibrant city known for its steep hills and sprawling Bay area? Cable cars of course!
Ticket to Ride San Francisco is an updated take on the classic Ticket to Ride board game. The new map is based on San Francisco in the 1960’s and is played on a much smaller board than the original but packs in so many fun destinations to make your connections to! The iconic San Francisco cable cars take the place of the standard trains in this version.
The game is for 2 to 4 players. Each player selects a colour, either pink, blue, purple or white, and takes the corresponding 20 cable cars in their colour. Place the board in the centre of the table and deal out the Transportation cards, 2 to each player, this makes up your starting hand. You then place the pile of Transportation cards that are left at the bottom of the board and deal out 5, face-up. The transportation cards come in 6 different colours that match the colours of the routes on the board. There are also the multi-coloured ferry cards which can be used to claim the ferry crossings to Alcatraz or as a wild card substitute for any other colour on the board.
Each player is then dealt 2 destination cards – you can choose to keep both or just one at the start of the game. The destination cards show the 2 areas of San Francisco you need to connect to gain the points in the upper right hand corner of the card. Next place the tourist tokens in the allocated places around the board. Place your score markers at the ‘0’ point on the board and you are ready to go!
The aim of the game is to finish with the most points! You can gain points whilst playing the game by laying down cable cars, and at the end of the game by having completed routes shown on your destination cards and for collecting tourist tokens.
So How To Play
On your turn you can take one of three options. You can use your transportation cards to lay down a number of cable cars and claim a route, you can take a new destination card or you can take new transportation cards.
To place cable cars on the board you need to play Transportation cards, for example you want to connect the route between Mission District and Potrero Hill you would need 2 blue transportation cards or 2 multi-coloured ferry cards, which are wild cards can be used for any colour. Grey routes on the board accept any colour transportation card but they must match, so you could pay for a 2 grey spaces with 2 pink cards or 2 yellow cards for instance. As you place cable cars on the board you immediately receive points, which are marked using the tracker around the edge of the board, depending on how many cars you place in that turn. You receive one point for one cable car, if you lay down 2 in one go you gain 2 points, 3 cars and you gain 4 points and if you manage to place 5 cars in a row in one go you can gain a massive 10 points! Don’t forget to look out for the tourist tokens on the way. If a route you have just claimed ends or starts at a site with a tourist token on it, you can take it! You can only collect one of each type of tourist token in the game, these add up to give you some extra bonus points at the end of the game.
The second option for your turn is to take a new destination card. As you go through the game and make connections you will complete the routes on your starting destination card or cards. To get the most points at the end of the game you will need to make the most routes you can, so use this option to get yourself some more objectives for the game.
The third and final option for your turn is to take new transportation cards. You can take up to 2 cards from either the face-up row below the board or take a gamble and pick 2 new cards from the face-down deck. The multi-coloured ferry cards are a pretty valuable in this game so if there’s one of those on display in the face-up row, take it! Unfortunately they are so valuable that if you choose this option you can’t take a 2nd card this turn. Add your new transportation cards to your hand and continue playing. Hopefully you’ll pick up some of the colours you need to create connections!
I Met Up With A Gambler...
Using your turn to take new destination cards is a smart move, connecting these destinations with your cable cars during the game gets you the points displayed in the upper right corner of the card at the end of the game. But if you don’t make the connection during the game, you lose those points! Towards the end of the game this is a big gamble! You don’t see the cards in advance, you simply draw two and choose one. This could mean you draw 2 cards which you don’t have time to complete and will lose those points at the end. You could also draw 2 cards which you could easily complete or may have already have a near connection.
The End Game
Once a player gets down to their last 2 cable cars, the game is near its end. Players then take a final turn each and the game ends. To calculate the final score the completed Destination cards for each player are added together, minusing any incomplete connections. The Tourist tokens collected through the game are then added onto the score, you get 1 point for 2 tokens and 12 points for all 7 tokens collected, any other number of tokens is scored as per the grading scale in the rulebook.
The player with the highest score on the tracker is the winner!
Ticket to Ride San Francisco is a fun, quick, family friendly game with very easy to follow rules. The box and board itself are compact and are very easy to store and transport making this a great game for those UK staycations. Its very easy to learn, and the cable cars and cards are beautifully designed.