I enjoyed the premise of the game and watching it being played so much that I went out over the weekend and bought a copy from my local games store. Since then, I have played the board game five times and have bought the digital version on steam with all the DLC and played it in solo mode a couple of dozen times.
What can I say? It is really, REALLY good!
What is Ticket to Ride?
Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points. If you complete specific routes according to ticket cards you get bonuses; be warned, however. If you have a ticket and do not complete the required route, that bonus will turn into a penalty.
In more detail
For 2-5 players, Ticket to Ride has possibly the simplest / shortest rules book I have ever seen for a board game. Standing in at a measly 4 sides of A4, at least a page and a half are cover artwork and advertising. Ticket to ride is quicker to pick up than an Essex girl after a litre of White Lightning.
Players take it in turns to perform one of three simple actions.
- Drawing cards from the carriage deck, there are 8 different coloured carriages in the deck and a multi-coloured card which acts as a wild card in place of any of the others. A player may take up to 2 cards from the face up row of 5 carriages or the top card of the face down deck. The only exception to this is the multi-coloured locomotive, if you take this from the face up cards you may not draw another card, before or after.
- Claim a route. On the board are a series of routes connecting cities together, ranging from 1 to 6 units in length and each of these with a colour, any 1 of the 8 primary colours or grey. To claim a route, a player must play a set of cards matching the colour of the route, or in the case of grey routes any single colour, with the number of cards equal to the route’s length: So, a length 5 orange route requires 5 orange cards and multi-coloured locomotives can count as any colour in this role. When the route is claimed the player places an appropriate number of their 45 starting train carriages onto the route and moves their score counter along by however much the route is worth.
- Get more tickets. Players start the game with 3 tickets, a ticket lists 2 cities on the board and a number value. If at the end of the game a player has an unbroken route from city A to city B, they score the number value as bonus points, however if they fail to do this the number is subtracted from their total. On a player’s turn they may, if they wish, draw 3 tickets and then may discard up to 2 of the tickets drawn, thus increasing the gamble of routes for more points.
Play continues like this until a player only has 0, 1 or 2 of their 45 trains remaining, at which point the end game is triggered. Once this happens, each player (including the player who triggered it) gets one final train to play in order to maximise their points.
Once concluded, all scores are adjusted for tickets accordingly and the person who has the longest unbroken route on the board receives a bonus 10 points for the accomplishment.
Ticket to ride has won countless awards, and I can see why. My other half enjoys board games but it is hard to get her to play the same one more than once a month. Ticket to Ride as I said before has been played five times in less than a week, and every game except the first was her idea. I love it, and if you’re a fan of spending an evening with friends around a table with a solid game, it’s more than likely you will love this, too.