All Aboard – A Review of Ticket to Ride

The most popular family games have been immortalized in the modern age of gaming. Few games can keep up with the vastness that is Settlers of Catan, but perhaps the closest on its tail is the Ticket to Ride series. It is a flagship game for most collections, and one of the few games with enough expansions/variations to be as big as Catan. With elegantly simple gameplay, Ticket to Ride can be learned in under 15 minutes, while providing players with intense strategic and tactical decisions every turn.

The Basic Idea

Throughout the game, players collect cards of various types of train cars that they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points players can earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets – the goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.

“The rules are simple enough to write on a train ticket – each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets,” says Ticket to Ride author, Alan R. Moon. “The tension comes from being forced to balance greed – adding more cards to your hand, and fear – losing a critical route to a competitor.” The hidden information of each player’s routes creates a major sense of tension as the game progresses, as points begin to rack up and players desire to increase their lead.

Ticket to Ride continues in the tradition of Days of Wonder’s big format board games, featuring high-quality illustrations and components including: an oversize board map of North America, 225 custom-molded train cars, 144 illustrated cards, and wooden scoring markers. Each of these components allows for players to feel immersed and invested in a relatively simple game about train tracks, and in turn creates an infinitely replayable classic addition to the legacy of board gaming.

~ Kevin Gaffuri