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Ticket To Ride Board Game Review

Updated on June 2, 2011

Ticket to Ride Game Versions

There are four versions of Ticket to Ride. USA and Europe are easy to find and most common. Marklin is a specialized version using a map of Germany, and a special, limited edition version featuring Nordic countries exists, but is hard to find.
There are four versions of Ticket to Ride. USA and Europe are easy to find and most common. Marklin is a specialized version using a map of Germany, and a special, limited edition version featuring Nordic countries exists, but is hard to find.
The North American board for A Ticket to Ride features prominent cities in the United States and southern Canada. This version is for 2-4 players.
The North American board for A Ticket to Ride features prominent cities in the United States and southern Canada. This version is for 2-4 players.
The European version of a ticket to ride features cities across the European continent, and is for 2-4 players.
The European version of a ticket to ride features cities across the European continent, and is for 2-4 players.
The European game board connects cities in European countries.
The European game board connects cities in European countries.
An expansion pack for Switzerland includes a new board and destination cards, but you must use the tokens from one of the other original games.
An expansion pack for Switzerland includes a new board and destination cards, but you must use the tokens from one of the other original games.
Here is the Swiss board from the expansion pack.
Here is the Swiss board from the expansion pack.

Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder game company has been on my radar for quite some time, since after all, it was the winner of several board game awards, and members of my uber-educationally-minded family have been talking it up for the last few years. But I wasn't convinced that I needed to run to the nearest mall and buy this game. After all, sometimes award-winning products are riding on the hype surrounding their awards. But I finally sat down and played this game with my family, and now I'm a true believer.

This fast-paced game requires the player to use skill, strategy, and luck to build a series of interconnected railway lines from city to city across the board. This game combines matching and collecting skills of rummy card games with strategic elements borrowed from well-known board games like Monopoly and Risk, and uses some friendly blocking tactics borrowed from more recent games like Jax' Sequence family of card games.

This game has a complicated-looking board, and each player uses a Monopoly-esque set of plastic colored train tokens to show their rail lines on the board. During each turn, a player may collect colored train cards, collect destination cards, or build a segment of their railway line. It is all a bit daunting at first, but learning to play this game isn't as difficult as I expected it to be. After one game play, which took a little longer than an hour, I understood the basic rules of the game and started formulating some opinions about player strategies, which I put to the test during my second game.

Buy A Ticket to Ride Online

Ticket To Ride - Europe
Ticket To Ride - Europe

This version of the game features the European game board

 

Poll

Which Version of Ticket to Ride Do You Prefer?

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A Fun, Educational Game

As a parent, I love the educational element of this game. The USA version of the game features a map of the United States with major border cities from Canada and the United States. Play this game 5 or 6 times and you and your family will develop geographic awareness of major cities in all parts of the United States and some major ciities in Southern Canada. But another educational aspect of this game is the strategic element. It quickly becomes evident from playing this game that building lines from one end of the nation to the other can be complicated if you don't have access through the middle parts of the board, and connecting various cities can be easy or difficult, depending on your opponents' goals.

One of the real measures of this game's success in my family was how enjoyable the game was to play, even when we were losing. The nature of game play discourages some of the underhanded strategy that I experienced (and dished out) with Monopoly. Inhibiting other player's progress is fun to do, but at a cost to yourself, because each player has a finite number of train cars, and you may find you need those pieces to score extra points connecting cities that are geographically distant.

This is a fun game to play, and though the Days of Wonder company recommends for players ages 8 and up, a smart six or seven year-old could probably play this game without much difficulty, though the finer points of strategy may be lost on this younger age group. The only downside I can possibly foresee for this game is the need to make sure each player has the exact number of train tokens at the beginning of game play. Depending on which version of the game you are playing, the boards and possible train routes vary in size and difficulty. Check out the game board images.

Ticket to Ride Game Versions

  • USA Version, features United States and Canada. You can purchase the 1910 expansion pack for this version, which features larger game cards and more destinations, which make the game more interesting.
  • European Version. This version connects cities on a map of Europe, including some port cities. You can purchase a 1912 Europa expansion pack which introduces more cards and an additional level of strategy.
  • Switzerland Expansion Pack. This is not a self-contained version of the game, though it probably should be at the price! You will need game tokens from the European or USA version of the game.
  • Marklin Version. This version features specialty game pieces from the model train company, Märklin, and uses a map of Germany on the game board. This version comes highly recommended by model train enthusiasts.
  • Nordic Countries Version. This limited release version of the game uses Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Finland, and Denmark on its game board. This version of the game is self-contained and is not an expansion pack, like the Switzerland version of the game. The Nordic Countries edition was released as a limited edition and is hard to find. At the time I wrote this article, this version was sold out by the Days of Wonder company.

Ardent fans have also created alternate boards for the game. I even saw a China game board on the internet, but several of these game boards must be printed from the internet and aren't sold by original makers of A Ticket to Ride.

Additionally, historical versions sold as game expansion packs are also available on the market, and these expansion packs introduce additional levels of complexity to game play, and because the cards in these expansion packs are larger than the ones introduced in the original game versions, they are easier to shuffle.

Electronic Version of A Ticket to Ride

If you grew up playing Stratego or Risk, you will really enjoy this game, which doesn't require hours upon hours of time commitment. You can even play the game online on an XBox 360 gaming system. The game is currently sold only on the XBox 360 game system and requires an online game code and an internet connection for play. Personally, I prefer the tactile experience of moving the game pieces around on the board.

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Ticket to Ride [Online Game Code]
Ticket to Ride [Online Game Code]

This XBox 360 game download is only available to residents of the United States and requires that the buyer accept the company's terms of service.

 

Comments

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  • wannabwestern profile image
    Author

    Carolyn Augustine 7 years ago from Iowa

    Thands Ldrtchbrd, I think that's a great endorsement for the Nordic and Swiss versions of TTR. This is one of my favorite games and I think the designers have balanced the strategic and luck elements of the game rather nicely. I'm looking forward to playing the European versions.

  • Ldrtchbrd profile image

    Ldrtchbrd 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

    I love this game, definitely one of my favorites! I have the Nordic Countries version and it's only for two or three players whereas the others go up to five. The map is smaller and as such it has its own unique qualities. Like the Switzerland map it has tunnels, but it also has ferries and one really long route that's insanely hard to complete. This can be more cut-throat than other versions of TTR as you can easily get locked out of a city/route by just ONE segment! It's still a LOT of fun, though! :)

  • wannabwestern profile image
    Author

    Carolyn Augustine 8 years ago from Iowa

    deltamonk, I think you will enjoy this game. It is so addictive. We played it 5 times while we were on vacation over the Christmas holidays here. Happy playing!

  • deltamonk profile image

    deltamonk 8 years ago from UK

    Thanks for the review, I'm considering adding this to my collection.

    Cheers!

  • wannabwestern profile image
    Author

    Carolyn Augustine 8 years ago from Iowa

    Thanks Dim, this is a great game to play in a family setting, and it doesn't take too much time, so it could be played after dinner and before bedtime!

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

    Dim Flaxenwick 8 years ago from Great Britain

    This sounds great. We love games that get children away from computer games for a while and intergrate with adults. Thanks for the info.

  • wannabwestern profile image
    Author

    Carolyn Augustine 8 years ago from Iowa

    @janiek13: I think this game is more like Risk than Stratego, but it takes less time to play and is a little less world domination-oriented. I hope you get a chance to play it. It is a lot of fun.

    @dahoglund: This is a fun game to play with anyone, and would make a great ice breaker because it is relatively non-competitive. I think us writer types walk a fine line between being social beings who need the comradeship of others, and being introverted enough to spend hours inside our own heads. And you seem like a thoughtful and interesting person, Dahoglund, I hope you find some wonderful friends this year that share your interests.

  • dahoglund profile image

    Don A. Hoglund 8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

    It looks like a game I would find fun. I rather miss game playing but I seldom have anyone to play them with. I used to be big on Chess although maybe not a great player, but aas I grew away from my friends of younger days I find few others.

  • janiek13 profile image

    Mary Krenz 8 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

    I used to love risk and stratego, I think I would like it.

  • wannabwestern profile image
    Author

    Carolyn Augustine 8 years ago from Iowa

    @dohn121: You would really enjoy this game, with or without nieces and nephews. It is fun to play with the kiddos, though. But it also would be a good party game for adults, since it is short and feasibly you could have couples play on teams. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    @Hello, hello! Thanks--I hope you have a chance to play this game. It is a lot of fun.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for you good suggestions and we will try them out.

  • dohn121 profile image

    dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    This really does look like a lot of fun. Suddenly, I wish I had kids! Thanks, wannabwestern! I do have 3 nephews and a niece so far...

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