Each is simple to learn for new players but also has the depth to keep us veterans on our toes. Today we will be delving more into Ticket to Ride. Ticket to Ride has a huge collection of maps. Each map is unique, ranging from tight three players to larger 'core' maps like Europe and the USA.
With so many options, how do you know which to play? Well, we here at Zatu are going to try and help you out as we present our top 5 Rails to Ride.
Ticket to Ride's largest map comes in at number five on our list. Taking between two and six players Asia is a great double-sided board that contains two different scenarios. The first is Team Asia. This mode is for four to six players and has everyone playing in teams of two. This has some interesting new mechanics such as, when you draw, you will be placing some cards into a communal cardholder, allowing your teammate to draw from them if so desired. However, you cannot show your teammate your cards, so there is a degree of intuition required in this game.
The Second is Legendary Asia. This is more akin to standard Ticket to Ride but adds a new element to the core mechanics, this being mountainous routes. These routes will cost you an additional train but do also score you two additional points. Asia, being a larger map, is more akin to Europe and the USA, as it is quite open, as opposed to the tight routes found in many of the expansions. As such this is a great starting map, having minimal new rules in the Legendary version. Why this was not released as a standalone is a mystery to me.
This is the map that started it all for me. Europe is a two-to-five-player map spanning, well, you guessed it, all of Europe. Compared to the USA map, it does have quite a few more concepts, however, these are very easy to learn. For me, these extra rules are what makes Europe a much more engaging game compared to its 'core' counterpart. The map is quite open, being tight only around the board's extremities such as Russia and Northern Europe, making this map the perfect starting place for any budding board gamer.
2007 was a good year for Ticket to Ride maps, seeing the release of my two personal favourites. The first of these being Switzerland. Released as a standalone before being combined with another great map, India, Switzerland takes between two and three players and is a real gem. Introducing the concept of country destinations, which means that a card may score differently depending on which country you connect it to, as well as bringing back tunnels from the Europe version. Switzerland is a really tight map, and I mean TIGHT. This is far more confrontational than many of the other maps and, for me, this additional element of scuppering people's plans was a real bonus to the game.
My all time favourite map, Nordic, has a special place in my heart. A tight map that takes two or three players, Nordic introduces very few new rules and instead concentrates on the game's core concepts. This map really makes you plan ahead, as it is very easy in this version to have your destinations cut off. Not only is this map fantastic for veterans, but it also comes with its own unique card art sure to inspire any Ticket to Ride enthusiast. Having the trains and locomotives depicted covered in snow was a really great touch. Nordic also happens to be a standalone edition of Ticket to Ride, so for an experienced gamer who is new to franchise this would be a great place to start.
Our top spot goes to Switzerland's map collection partner India. Taking between two and four players, this map features few double routes and has an interesting new scoring feature. You can score on this map in the traditional way, but you can also earn points for building two distinct routes, connecting cities on one or more tickets. This adds another option to consider. And on this small map, options are certainly what you will need.
It is also important to mention that India is the only four-player map that has made our top three, as even at a higher player count it still retains a great level of player interaction.
Map collection two is the real winner here, containing two of our favourite maps. However, remember that you will need a copy of Europe or the USA in order to be able to play these. There are a few more maps that I found to be particularly engaging such as the UK map, which adds a technology tree, and the Netherlands, which is covered in double routes and introduces a new toll system.
Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails is quite different to the standard game, and as such I made the decision to not include it. However, if you are looking for a different challenge with some familiar rules then Rails and Sails should most certainly be your port of call.
Editors note: This blog was originally published on 26/01/2017. Updated on February 15th, 2022 to improve the information available.