Classic Callback: Ticket to Ride

Welcome to Classic Callback, where Marti, @fluffymeeple, checks out some of the great games of the past so that new gamers can get a fresh look at what we think of them! This month, we’re going to check out the cross-country train game, Ticket to Ride!

Game: Ticket to Ride
Publisher: Days of Wonder
Designer: Alan R. Moon
Main Game Mechanisms: Set Collection, Route Building
Number of Players: 2 to 5
Game Time: 30 to 60 minutes

The Game: Ticket to Ride is a set collection game where you are collecting train tickets in order to complete train routes that you have in your hand as hidden objectives. In short, you’re collecting cards of the same color, laying them on different tracks on a large map, and then completing routes for points. There are also bonuses based on whoever has the longest continuous track. If you want to see more gameplay about the game, check out the Tabletop episode.

Why It’s Worth a Classic Callback: 

Easy to Learn, Hard to Master. Ticket to Ride is incredibly easy to learn, which is why it is a game that gained a lot of traction as one of the best gateway games on the market. The real challenge of Ticket to Ride is learning the most efficient way to get your routes completed, figuring out how to get from point A to Point B, and building up routes in a way that you can get more points when you pull more cards toward the middle and end of the game.

Variants of Gameplay and Maps. As of the time of writing this, there are 8 base games (including Europe, Germany, Marklin, and the 10th Anniversary edition), 7 map-only expansions (including the Heart of Africa, United Kingdom & Pennsylvania – which is my personal favorite, and France & The Old West, which is slated to release this month), and a half-dozen or more miniature expansions. You can find the complete list of these here.

And they aren’t just maps. They have variations on the base game. For example, the Pennsylvania map adds a stock collection component; the Europe map added tunnels and ferries, and the United Kingdom map added technologies that you needed to use to get to other parts of the map. These bring new levels of strategy to the base experience, and some of them are definitely a lot more brain burny than others.

Also, as an aside – if you’re going to get into Ticket to Ride for the first time, be sure to get the 1910 expansion (if you buy base Ticket to Ride) or the 1912 expansion (if you go with Europe first). They add a lot more destination objectives to the game, and the destination cards in these expansions replace the destination cards in their respective base games. Why? Because the cards are bigger and easier to handle.

The app is freaking awesome. I don’t get Ticket to Ride to the table as often as I used to because the app is out of this world. It’s available on Android, Amazon, iOS, Steam, and almost any other platform out there. And other than Star Realms, I consider it to be one of the best digital implementations of a board game ever. You have a number of maps, there’s asynchronous play, you can play pass and play, and you can choose all sorts of modifications to it.

Who Won’t Like Ticket to Ride?

  • Don’t enjoy set collection games? Probably should avoid this. The core of the game is set collection so that you can set up your trains on the routes that you are looking to complete in order to get points.
  • Colorblind people may struggle with the game, sadly. While there are symbols that differentiate the different colors, they can be hard to make out (and I’m someone who has problems with different shades of certain colors).
  • If you don’t like at least a little bit of player interaction, you may not enjoy Ticket to Ride too much. It isn’t so bad with two, but once you get into three and four players (four is where I think the game shines), you are going to be competing for routes and likely blocking each other off from different cities that you may be trying to reach.

Who Will Like Ticket to Ride? 

  • People who love geography will probably get a kick out of Ticket to Ride. The best part is, with all of the expansions and extra maps that are out there, you can get even more of your “world traveling” in with this game.
  • Do you enjoy games where you may have to plan a few plays ahead to be sure that you are going to be able to complete your objectives properly? Ticket to Ride lets you do that.
  • Do you like solving problems as they come up? If you get blocked from a location, you may need to start thinking about changing your route – and if you like on the spot thinking like that, it’s going to come up when you play Ticket to Ride.

Have you played Ticket to Ride? If so, do you enjoy Ticket to Ride? What’s your favorite map to play? Do you have any of the fun content that is available? What is your ideal number to play with? Leave thoughts in the comments or send me a tweet with #ClassicCallbackTtR!

Game On!
Marti – The Fluffy Meeple

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