Ticket to Ride (board game)
|Designer(s)||Alan R. Moon|
|Publisher(s)|| Days of Wonder
|Age range||8 and older|
|Setup time||<5 minutes|
|Playing time||45+ minutes|
|Skill(s) required||Set collection
Ticket to Ride is a railway-themed German-style board game designed by Alan R. Moon and published in 2004 by Days of Wonder. The game is also known as Zug um Zug (German), Les Aventuriers du Rail (French), Aventureros al Tren (Spanish), Wsiąść do pociągu (Polish), and Menolippu (Finnish).
The game won the 2004 Spiel des Jahres, the Origins Award for Best Board Game of 2004, the 2005 Diana Jones award, the 2005 As d'Or Jeu de l'année, and placed second in the Schweizer Spielepreis for Family Games. Ticket to Ride: Europe won the 2005 International Gamers Award. As of August 2008, over 750,000 copies of the game have been sold according to the publisher.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Strategy
- 3 Spinoffs
- 3.1 Board games
- 3.2 Card game
- 3.3 Computer games
- 4 Expansions
- 4.1 Add-On Expansions
- 4.2 Board Expansions
- 5 References
- 6 External links
|Card color||Car depicted|
At the beginning of the main game, players are dealt four train car cards as their playing hand. They are also dealt three 'destination ticket' cards, each of which shows a pair of cities on the map. These become goals, representing two end-points which players are secretly attempting to connect. The player must keep at least two of these destination cards and discard unwanted tickets to the bottom of the stack, if any. Once kept, a destination ticket may not be discarded for the rest of game. Each player also selects a group of 45 colored train pieces with a matching scoring marker.
Each turn, players have 1 of 3 options to choose from. They may (1) draw two railway car cards in various colors (or a single wild Locomotive card) from the draw piles, or (2) draw three additional destination ticket cards and keep at least one (replacing undesired tickets at the bottom of the stack), or (3) play their collected railway car cards from their hand to claim routes on the board which is a map of the United States and southern Canada and place the corresponding number of train pieces from their store on the claimed route, thereby earning points. The routes are of varying lengths (requiring varying numbers of matching coloured cards), and each discrete route marked on the board can be claimed by only a single player. Some cities are connected by two parallel routes that can each be claimed by a different player. The same player may not claim both parallel routes between two adjacent cities. Longer routes are worth progressively more points than shorter routes, e.g., a route of length four is worth more than two routes of length two.
On his or her turn, a player can claim any route anywhere on the board that has not already been claimed, regardless of whether the route helps to complete his or her destination tickets. The routes score points by themselves, as mentioned above, but routes not connected to a player's destination do not help him or her in reaching the destination or completing his or her destination ticket.
The game ends when one player has exhausted or nearly exhausted his or her supply of coloured train pieces. When this occurs, every player then plays one additional turn, after which they each reveal their previously hidden destination tickets. Additional points are awarded for having successfully connected the destinations on the cards, whereas points are subtracted for any incomplete tickets. A ten-point bonus is awarded to the player who has the longest continuously connected set of routes, not including branches.
||This section possibly contains original research. (January 2013)|
There are a couple of basic strategies for this game.
Longest Connections Strategy
This method focuses on playing the longest legs. Typically a player will draw several cards over the beginning of the game. He or she will draw cards from the shown train cars to increase the count of individual colors, without regard to individual colors. Once enough cards have been drawn, and the player has enough cards to play, the colors played can even be used to block other players. When playing this way, a player can also foil other players by implementing the I Want What You Want tactic. That is, drawing the colored trains that is obvious that your opponents want.
With this tactic, the idea is to pay attention to your route length. In some versions of the game, the longest at the end will get extra points. An often overlooked way to extend the route is by adding a loop to one end of the existing route. That is to say, connect two spurs to the main route.
This blocking methods uses up the routes between short connections. There are the Houston-Dallas, Atlanta-Nashville, and Kansas City-Omaha routes as the basic "key shorts". Portland-Seattle and Vancouver-Seattle are also key shorts for few, but more valued routes.
Since the game's release in 2004, Days of Wonder has released three additional stand-alone board games, one card game, and multiple electronic game versions.
Released in 2005, Ticket to Ride: Europe takes place on a map of Europe as it was at the turn of the 20th century. The game includes two new types of route: 'Ferry' routes, which require 'Locomotive' cards to be played when claiming them, and 'Tunnel' routes, which add an element of risk and chance to the game.
This version has six designated 'long route' destination tickets, therefore the distribution of destination tickets at the beginning is different as compared to the base game. Each player is dealt four destination tickets, one of which is a 'long' ticket and must keep at least two. The game: Each player is also given three "Train stations", which allow a player to sacrifice points to use a route already claimed by another player. This allows each player an additional option during their turn. They may choose to discard a matching set of train car cards and play a station on top of any open city. For their first station they must discard a single card, for the second station they must discard a set of two matching cards, and for their final station they must discard a set of three matching cards. Any unplayed station gives the player additional points at the end of the game.
Days of Wonder released Ticket to Ride: Märklin in 2006, based on a map of Germany. Märklin is a German toy company, best known for model railways and technical toys. Whereas railway car cards of each type in the previous games were identical, the cards in Ticket to Ride: Märklin each show a different image of Märklin rolling stock. While this has no impact on actual play, it provides additional theme and flavor.
The game adds passengers and goods as a new point-scoring mechanism. This allows each player to place up to three passengers (over the course of a game) in cities when establishing routes between them. At any later point in time, players can then choose to move their passenger, causing the passenger to traverse a set of connected points, collecting available point tokens (or goods) at each city which is visited. Doing so consumes the passenger, which is then removed from the game. Because the point tokens themselves are removed as they're collected, doing this early in the game earns tokens of higher value, while doing so later in the game tends to traverse longer routes.
This version of the game also uses two different type of 'Locomotive' wildcards. In addition to the standard type, there are "+4" locomotives, which can only be used as wildcards on routes of at least length four. The upside of this is that these locomotives can be freely selected from the available face-up cards without counting as a double-draw.
In late October 2007, Days of Wonder released a local version of Ticket to Ride in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. While it was initially intended to be sold only in these countries, this version also became available in English, French and German.
The gameboard is located in the Nordic countries, including part of Russia and Estonia. It includes ferry routes and tunnels, like Ticket to Ride: Europe. Players only receive a set of 40 colored train pieces for this version and is playable by 2 or 3 players only.
Ticket to Ride: The Card Game
The card game was released in the summer of 2008 and includes a similar artistic style and theme, and general game mechanism of set collection. The card game is playable in 30-45 minutes and supports 2-4 players. Players start with 1 locomotive card and 7 other random train cards in their hand. Players are also dealt 6 destination tickets of which they must keep at least 1. The destination tickets have 1 to 5 colored dots which match the colors of the train cards. In order to complete a destination ticket, players must move cards from their hand, to their rail yard (playing area directly in front of the player), and finally to their on-the-track stack (scoring area). During play, players can "train rob" another player, by playing more of a specific color, than their opponent has in their rail yard. When the train card draw piles are exhausted, the players use the train cards in their on-the-track stack to complete their destination tickets, by matching the colored train cards with the colored dots on the destination tickets. Completed tickets are added to the players score, while uncompleted tickets are subtracted. Additional bonus points are awarded to players who complete the most tickets to the six big cities, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Seattle.
Ticket to Ride: Online
Ticket to Ride and most expansions can be played online at Days of Wonder's website. A four-game free trial subscription is available.
Ticket to Ride: The Computer Game
Days of Wonder has also released a computer game for Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X, which allows players to play the original game. Ticket to Ride: Europe, Ticket to Ride: Switzerland and Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 expansions are available as purchaseable enhancements to the game.
Ticket to Ride: Xbox Live Arcade
Ticket to Ride: iPad
The iPad version was released on May 18, 2011, and supports play with up to five people using the Game Center or Days of Wonder own servers. Its offline mode originally only supported a single player with up to four computer players; however pass and play was added later.
This version was released with three additional extensions available for purchase and download: "Ticket to Ride: Europe"; "Ticket to Ride: Switzerland"; and "Ticket to Ride: USA 1910", which itself includes three separate game modes.
The iPad version of Ticket to Ride was named the 2011 Digital Game of the Year by the Danish Guldbrikken (The Golden Pawn) Awards, which referred to the game as “the exemplar of how a board game makes the leap to the digital world without compromise. The iPad version dazzles with its superb finish, easy availability and unparalleled expandability, as well as the ability to play on just the iPad or over the Internet.”
Ticket to Ride Pocket: iPhone and iPod Touch
The iPhone version was released on November 16, 2011, which is a simplified version of the iPad game. Online play was added as an update on February 2, 2012, and users can also play a multi-player game on a local network via WiFi or Bluetooth. The iPhone version now offers expansion packs as in-app purchases. 
The expansion packs build on the original game. Some come with new map boards and can only be played if the gamers have either the Original Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: Europe, while others are add-ons, that increase the strategy or dynamics of any full game version.
The Mystery Train expansion for the original Ticket to Ride was released in 2004 as a free giveaway in the December edition of Game Trade Magazine and at the Spiel 2004 game festival in Essen, Germany. The expansion cards are also available as a free download from the official site, or may frequently be purchased on eBay. Mystery Train includes a total of twelve cards:
- Four short destination cards: Vancouver to Portland, Boston to Washington, Winnipeg to Omaha, and Montreal to Chicago.
- Five character cards: Station Agent, Tycoon, Engineer (x2), and Inspector.
- A blank card for players to create their own unique character card.
- Two rule cards explaining the expansion.
The new destination and character cards are shuffled into the destination ticket deck after players have drawn their initial destination cards. While the destination cards simply function as normal destinations, the characters each have special rules associated with them. Engineer cards can be played to allow the player to search the entire destination ticket deck and select a desired destination. The remaining character cards provide various score bonuses at the end of the game if certain conditions are fulfilled.
The second expansion for the original game released in 2006, Ticket to Ride: USA 1910, contains large format reprints of all the cards from the original deck, including 4 routes with revised point values. Additionally, the expansion adds 35 new destination tickets (with the 1910 logo in the upper right hand corner), a new 15 point Globetrotter bonus card for the most completed tickets, and the 4 destination tickets from the long out-of-print Mystery Train expansion. Released at the 2006 Essen game festival, it also includes three new ways to play Ticket to Ride which include:
- 1910 - Play using only the 35 new destination tickets with the 1910 logo in the corner as well as using the Globetrotter bonus card instead of the longest route bonus.
- The Mega Game - Play using all 69 destination tickets and both bonus cards.
- Big Cities - Play using the 35 destination tickets that connect to one of seven big cities (printed in red), Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Seattle.
The Ticket to Ride Dice Expansion, compatible with any map (although the 9-train route in Nordic Countries is unclaimable with this expansion), was released in 2008. Instead of drawing train car cards, players roll dice and use them to claim routes, take destination tickets, or perform other actions. Tunnel dice are used instead of drawing cards when players try to build tunnels in maps that include them.
On September 9, 2009, Days of Wonder announced that the Ticket to Ride Europa 1912 expansion was expected to be released on October 22 in Europe and October 28 in the USA. The expansion includes 101 destination tickets — the 46 original tickets, plus 55 new ones that enables 3 new variants to the Ticket to Ride Europe map:
- Europe Expanded - Play with the 19 new regular destination tickets (with the 1912 logo) as well as the original 46 destination tickets.
- Mega Europe - Play using all 55 new destination tickets as well as the 46 original Destination Tickets.
- Big Cities of Europe - Play using the 45 destination tickets which connect to the 9 big European cities (marked in green): Angora, Athina, Berlin, London, Madrid, Moskva, Paris, Roma, and Wien.
Europa 1912 also introduces Warehouses and Depots — two new game elements that brings a new layer of strategy to any version of Ticket to Ride. During the game, train cards are added to the various warehouses (one warehouse for each player). Players who build a route to a city that includes a depot can collect the train cards stored in the warehouse of matching color, making them an important part of any strategy.
Alvin & Dexter
The Alvin & Dexter Expansion can be used on any version of the game. Alvin (the Alien) and Dexter (the Dinosaur) are placed on different cities just prior to the start of game play. When Alvin or Dexter occupy a city, it is said to be "in chaos" and no routes can be claimed into or out of the city until the monster is moved. Any player may move Alvin or Dexter on their turn provided they discard 1 or 2 locomotive cards and can move the monster up to 3 cities away for each locomotive card discarded. Players collect Alvin or Dexter cards when they move one of the monsters, and additional bonus points are awarded to the player who moves the monster the most during the game. Destination ticket points are cut in half for tickets with the city occupied by Alvin or Dexter at the end of the game.
Released in October 2012, the Halloween Freighter expansion is a set of Halloween themed trains and stations that can be used to replace one of the train sets from any Ticket to Ride game.
Ticket to Ride: Switzerland, originally released as part of the computer game, was released as a board game expansion in 2007. The game features several changes. The first is that it only uses 40 train markers (instead of the usual 45). The second is that 'Locomotive' cards may only be used for tunnels (instead of as general wildcards). Lastly, some routes end at specific national borders rather than cities. This version is out of print and not currently available, but has been re-released as part of the Map Collection 2 described below.
Map Collection 1: Team Asia and Legendary Asia
Released in 2011, map collection 1 featured two different Asia maps; Legendary Asia, designed by François Valentyne, paired with Alan R. Moon's Team Asia.
The Legendary Asia map has ferry routes, similar to the Europe version, but also adds the new mountain route element. To claim these mountain routes (marked with an X on the board) players must discard an additional train piece to the mountain crossing area for an additional 2 points. The bonus in this version is 10 points for the player who connects the most cities together via connected routes and branches.
The Team Asia map is design for 4 or 6 players divided into 2 or 3 teams of two players. With the addition of 9 trains per color, each team has 54 trains split equally between the two members, 27 each. Teammates sit next to each other and play sequentially. Each player has his or her own train cards and destination tickets, but each team also has an additional set of shared train cards and destination tickets placed in a common holder so both members can see them. Teammates are not allowed to discuss game play or strategy between themselves, but must try to complete their personal destination tickets as well as the shared ones. Train cards can be used from both your own hand and the common team hand, but not from your teammate's personal hand to claim a route. Teammates score together but must play with only their own 27 trains, they cannot play their teammate's trains. Players also have one additional option for their turn. They may use their whole turn to transfer 2 destination tickets from their personal hand to the team's shared hand. The tunnels in this version are marked with a 4, 5, or 6. The player who wants to claim a tunnel route, must draw additional train cards equal to the number on the route, instead of just 3 like in the Europe version.
Map Collection 2: India and Switzerland
Released in 2011, map collection 2 featured one India themed map, designed by Ian Vincent, with the reverse being a re-release of the by then out-of-print Switzerland expansion.
The India map is for 2 to 4 players and includes ferry routes. The Grand Tour bonus is earned by connecting the two cities on one of your destination tickets by two completely distinct routes. Players can earn 5 additional points in this way for the first two tickets, and 10 points each for the third, fourth and fifth tickets for a maximum of 40 bonus points.
The Switzerland map plays exactly as described above.
Map Collection 3: Heart of Africa
Released in December 2012, map collection 3 contains a map of central and southern Africa. Along with destination ticket cards, this expansion also includes terrain cards which can double the points earned for a route under certain conditions. The terrain cards match up to the corresponding route colors; yellow, orange, and red for Savanna/Desert routes; green, blue, and purple for Jungle/Forest routes; and black, white, and grey for Mountain/Cliff routes.
Map Collection 4: Nederland
Released in 2013, map collection 4 contains a map of the Netherlands. This expansion includes bridge toll tokens used in addition to the train car cards to pay the toll marked on each route when claiming it. Bonuses are given at the end of the game for the player (or players) with the most bridge toll tokens left in their stash.
Fans of "Ticket to Ride" have created their own boards and destination tickets for this game, which can be printed for private use, and played with the original wagons and train cards. Links to unofficial expansions can be found in the external links section.
- "Origins Award winners (2004)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Days of Wonder Website, August 3, 2008
- Boardgamegeek.com, 24 November 2010
- Gamerscore Blog, March 12, 2008
- Days of Wonder blog, October 17, 2011
- iTunes Product Information Page, Dec 27, 2011
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ticket to Ride (board game).|
- Days of Wonder's Ticket to Ride site
- Ticket to Ride at Bruno Faidutti's Ideal Games Library
- Ticket to Ride and the Ticket to Ride series at BoardGameGeek
- A list of fan-produced maps and variants at Naturelich Games