Quick to Learn
Low Age Requirement
Theme Works Well for Gameplay
Best at 3-4 Players
Theme May Not Interest Some
Are you an aspiring train conductor? Are you fascinated by the expansion of train routes that spread across North America? Do you still grasp your childhood fascination of locomotives? Yea, me either. BUT once you get past all of that and finally plunge into Ticket to Ride, you will realize that this is a game you must play. Now, it’s not for everyone. Hardcore, experienced gamers will usually pass on this. However, it is a game an experienced gamer can play without wanting to throw themselves in front of a train, and best of all, they can play Ticket to Ride with others that might be new to the hobby.
In Ticket to Ride, you place train routes across North America in an attempt to connect particular cities which complete routes. How do they place these routes and how do they know which cities to connect you ask? Well, on your turn you are allowed one of three actions: 1) Draw Cards, 2) Place a Route, or 3) Draw Destination Tickets. When drawing cards, you are trying to get train cards of the same color that match the distance count of the route you want on the board. If the route is red and four spaces long, you need four red cards. Once you have those cards in your hand (remember, one action per turn), you place your train cars down and claim that route. You will also want to occasionally use your turn to draw destination cards. These cards tell you which routes to complete and give you an added score bonus at the end of the game for doing so. Setting aside some additional details, that is essentially the whole game.
And guess what? Ticket to Ride is a BLAST. I will be honest: the theme alone put me off from buying this game for a long time. I couldn’t imagine how a game about trains could be that enjoyable when compared to the highly imaginative choices you have with other games. The thing is, the theme is perfect for this game and I couldn’t imagine playing it any other way. Placing your little plastic train cars on the board to claim a route is oddly satisfying. You will feel anxious as you are hoping to get a route before one of the other players does. This is particularly the reason I recommend playing with at least three players. The game takes a little longer, but really adds tension to the game as route spaces are limited. If you have no available routes or have to try and take a path to far out of the way because other players have screwed you, you can be, well, screwed. At the end of the game, if you didn’t claim all of the routes on your route tickets, those points count AGAINST you.
This game has a few shortcomings, mainly the mini cards that have been included with this version. They take up less space, but are a terror to handle and shuffle. These have been replaced with standard sized cards in other versions. The rest of the components are top notch.
Buy Ticket to Ride if you enjoy something light once in awhile or want to introduce other non-gamers to the hobby. It is also a great choice for younger children since the concepts are fairly easy to grasp, and what kid doesn’t like trains? If you want something slightly more complex and with larger cards, check out Ticket to Ride: Europe.