Ticket to Ride is a classic board game wherein players collect matching train cards to build railway routes to connect cities throughout North America. Ticket to Ride Europe transposes the same fun and excitement across the greatest cities of Europe. There is even an Asian rendition of the game, should you wish to take your exploration eastward.
If you’re considering buying this game or have already ordered one and can’t wait to find out its ins and outs, you’re on the right page. In this article, you’ll learn about Ticket to Ride’s rules and how to improve your chances of winning. You will also get a better idea of its different expansions and what they’re all about. Let’s get right into it!
How to Play Ticket to Ride
The original version of Ticket to Ride is based on the USA and southern Canada’s railway network.
Rules and How to Win
To set the game, the first thing players must do is put the map at the table’s centre. The players then selects what color they would like to be and grab the 45 train cars that match the color. Each player should pick a special marker that will be placed at the starting point.
When the game begins, a player will shuffle the train cards and give each player four cards. The remaining cards will be placed beside the board. The top five cards on that deck will then be revealed and placed face up. The card for the Longest Path Bonus will also be revealed and placed face up.
Afterwards, a player will shuffle the destination cards and give each player three cards. The players will then decide what destination cards they want to pick. They should at least keep two cards, but if they want to keep all three, that is also allowed. The destination cards they have picked must not be revealed to other players until the game is finished.
The objective of the game is to gather as many points as possible and here are the main ways players can do this:
- Finish the longest route in one continuous path
- Finish a route indicated on your destination cards
- Claim a route located at two adjoining cities on the map
Finally, if you fail to complete a route on your destination ticket, those points will be deducted from your total.
Tips and Tricks
Now that you know the basic rules of Ticket to Ride, and how to win, here are a few tips and tricks you might find useful:
- When choosing destination tickets, you must only keep the ones you think you will complete. Note that bigger routes will be more challenging when there are more than 4 players in the game.
- Avoid making your train route obvious because other players might try to block you.
- Try and identify the critical train routes as soon as possible.
- A simple winning strategy is to block other players. Don’t worry about this coming across as selfish ambition; it’s all part of the fun. Besides, this is where most of the excitement and challenge of the game comes from.
- Get a face-up locomotive if possible, rather than drawing face down cards.
These are not the only winning tactics; as you gain more experience playing the game, you will be able to pick a strategy that best works for you. Are there any tips we missed? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Similarities and Differences Between Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride Europe
Since Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride Europe are from the same family; but just like no two siblings are exactly alike, there are distinct differences between these two games.
As you would expect, the most fundamental difference between these two variations of Ticket to Ride would be the map on which the adventure is played out. While in the original version of the game you will be looking to connect Oklahoma City, Houston, Los Angeles and other American cities, the European presents you with such destinations as Berlin, Warsaw and Paris.
The European Ticket to Ride presents you with ferries to make connections over areas separated by masses of water. You also have tunnels in this version, which add a welcome twist.
But that’s not all; in Ticket to Ride Europe you can identify a city that is not served by train routes and build a station in it. Besides giving you access to a city to which all train routes have been filled, an unused station will give you an extra four points come the end of the game.
3. Number of Players and Play Time
Both games are designed to accommodate two to five players. However, according to many forums, Ticket to Ride is best played by four players while its European sister works best with two to three players.
The number of players playing both versions can significantly affect the overall dynamics of the game. For example, when playing the original version of Ticket to Ride with only 3 players, each participant will have more time to get new destination tickets.
However, when there are four players, getting new destination tickets is a little more challenging i.e. more fun. Hence the recommended four players.
The playing time for both versions of Ticket to Ride is around 30 to 60 minutes. However, the more players there are in the game, the longer it will be, especially if each player actively tries to block the other players’ routes. Some games can even last up to two hours.
4. Setting Up the Game
The Ticket to Ride US setup described above differs slightly from the way it’s done on its European incarnation. In the latter, after the game board has been laid out, every player will be dealt with four route cards, three train cards, their train stations, and trains. The players must choose at least two route cards and return the others.
The routes must be kept a secret until the end of the game. Then, at the center, the player shall flip five train cards face up while the others remain face down.
5. Longest Route
Whereas you couldn’t build a route more than six trains long in the original game, Ticket to Ride Europe has a route that is eight trains long that can earn you 21 points when the game ends.
For Ticket to Ride, the players must keep track of their scores; but to be sure, they must recount the points for every player’s route. The total points will then be added or subtracted based on the destination tickets that they reveal.
The player with the longest path will add an additional 10 points to their overall score. To calculate the path length, only the continuous lines of trains with the same color will be taken into account. The player with the most points wins the game.
The same scoring system also applies for Ticket to Ride Europe. It also follows the same principles when deciding who gets the European Express bonus for the player with the Longest Continuous Path. The player with the most points takes the win.
However, in case there is a tie between two or more players in points, the deciding factor will be based on who has completed more destination tickets. If there is still a tie, the winner will be given to those who use the least stations.
2. Player Interaction
In both games, players can interact with each other by blocking a specific player’s route to make it difficult for them to reach their destination. Players can also claim routes by playing a set of cards equal to the spaces on a route.
Ticket to Ride Expansions and Full Versions to Consider
The Ticket to Ride series has come a long way since its first released in 2004. Here are the different expansions and full versions of the game:
List of Ticket to Ride Expansions:
- USA 1910 Expansion– This contains new destination tickets and a replacement deck.
- Europa 1912 Expansion– This expansion includes 101 destination tickets on top of the 46 original.
- Ticket to Ride: Map Collections– This map expansion has 7 volumes that include Asia, India + Switzerland, Africa, Nederland, United Kingdom + Pennsylvania, France + Old West, and Japan + Italy.
- Ticket to Ride: Stay at Home– This version was released in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a home expansion that can be printed for free with a domestic life setting.
List of Ticket to Ride Full Versions:
- Ticket to Ride- This is the original version from 2004.
- Ticket to Ride: Europe- This version takes place in multiple European cities such as Moscow, Lisbon, Constantinople, and Edinburg.
- Rails & Sails Board Game- This version was released in 2016. It has water routes, so it comes with ship pieces as well.
- Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries- The map setting is in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark.
- Ticket to Ride: Germany- This is a standalone version with Germany as its setting. Also, the rules and cards are in German.
- 10th Anniversary Edition- This version is a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Ticket to Ride series. It includes an oversize US board map that is almost 50% bigger than the original.
- Ticket to Ride: Marklin- This is the third installment of the series, and it is based on the far cities of Germany.
- Ticket to Ride: First Journey- It’s designer for players as young as 6 years old.
Which is Better? Ticket to Ride vs Ticket to Ride Europe
The nice thing about Ticket to Ride is that each map offers a different feature that widely affects one’s strategy for the game. This is why identifying which one is the better can be subjective.
However, many people say that the best version is Ticket to Ride Europe because the map is more challenging than the original. It also has unique rules that enable you to sacrifice points for somebody else’s route.
Frequently Asked Questions?
Is Ticket to Ride Europe a Standalone game?
Yes, it is a standalone game and a follow-up of the original Ticket to Ride board game. It has new features, including brand new gameplay, elements, and train stations.
Can you play Ticket to Ride Europe with 2 players?
Yes, you can play Ticket to Ride Europe. It is a great board game for 2 players.
What age is Ticket to Ride for?
Ticket to Ride can be played by children as young as eight years old. It is an easy game to learn, which is why it is a great family board game.
What is the best strategy for Ticket to Ride?
The best strategy for Ticket to Ride is to get max train points, waste no turns, and end the game as soon as possible. However, doing this may defeat the spirit of the game and make it less fun.
How many versions of Ticket to Ride are there?
Ticket to Ride has around six standalone versions and over seven expansions. There are also Ticket to Ride card and computer games.