Personally, I really enjoy board games. I’ll admit that sometimes its difficult to gather up enough willing participants though. Perhaps it feels too much like a slow and antiquated activity to some. Perhaps that’s part of the appeal to others?
I had purchased Ticket To Ride about a year ago but unfortunately it ended up sitting on the shelf unloved for about that much time. I purchased it for my sister, who is a bit of a geek when it comes to trains. Think Sheldon Cooper with a little less severity. We finally busted it out yesterday, and while I’m aware that its a game with PLENTY of reviews, we decided to share our thoughts on the game as well.
Ticket to Ride comes to us from Alan R. Moon, and is produced by Days of Wonder. There are now TONS of different game options with maps of Europe, Africa, Nordic countries and more. It’d be easy to want to collect a bunch of different versions.
First impressions after taking the game out of the box were that it was incredibly great quality. This isn’t your typical Monopoly or Clue board. It feels a bit thicker and has a coated texture … which is great for when, say, you’re playing in the kitchen and someone walks past your game and accidentally spills lemonade on it. Luckily there was no damage to the game (given that it was our inaugural play, I would have been real bummed if there had been)! The cards and train pieces are also great quality – nothing feels flimsy here and I was quite impressed by that.
Initial set up of the game took us a minute, I don’t know if it was the fact that the game was completely new to us, or if the instructions were a bit confusing but it felt somewhat overwhelming and I was wary of how actual game play was going to be if we couldn’t get past the instructions! However, game play was actually what helped us smooth it all out. I’m typically someone who learns better visually and through doing, so I think that just simply reading instructions can sometimes overwhelm me. So I think the hiccups are on my end (mostly).
The basic goal of the game is to complete as many train routes as you can. The longer the route, the more points it is worth. There are destination cards you can collect which give you bonus points if you complete them. Be careful though: if you have any destination cards at the end of the game which you haven’t completed routes for, those points will be deducted from your final score! There are many ways to complete a route from point A to point B, but other plays can make it more challenging as they might create routes that make it harder for you to complete yours. Detours take up more trains and time, and you might not always be able to get there in time, or before you run out of trains. We played the game with two players, but I could easily see how this would be even more challenging with more players.
In order to complete a route, you need to collect enough train cards to “buy” it. If the route is all green, you need all green cards. If it’s pink, you need all pink. There are routes that are gray, which you can buy with any color train card – so long as you have enough of the same color. There are also “Joker” or “Wild” cards, also called locomotive cards, which act as any color you choose. They can be helpful in order to fill in the blank when, for example, you might only have four blue and you need five. There’s quite a few in the game so they’re definitely helpful in securing routes when the color card you need is hard to come by!
Scoring in the game is pretty easy to track as the border of the game features numbers you place your game marker on in order to keep score. I like how this eliminates any need for pen and paper, meaning no one has to also carry the job of scorekeeper. At the end of the game however, a little math is needed when you add your bonuses for the routes you have completed (or subtract if incomplete). The points per route/train length are also printed on the game, making keeping score super easy.
Overall, we really, really enjoyed this game. We ended up playing three full rounds of play back to back which I think, is truly a testament to exactly how much we enjoyed ourselves. I would love to pick up a second edition, but honestly, it’s really hard for me to choose which one I’d go with next! I’m thinking perhaps Europe? There’s a ton of different options and I’m intrigued by all of them. I like how this game has strategy but also feels easy-going in a way that allows you to get a good balance of challenge and enjoyment. I can’t remember any game that I’ve ever wanted to play three full games back-to-back of before! I could see it being suitable for nearly any age. Whether it’s for family game night, or just adults, the game isn’t too complicated, or simple for either demographic. Ticket to Ride was truly a blast to play!