Ticket to Ride has quickly ingrained itself as a game night favorite. Unlike Zombicide, Pandemic or Betrayal at House on Haunted Hill, Ticket to Ride is a purely competitive game. What I think has set it apart from other competitive games I own like Settlers of Catan, Acquire and Monopoly is that it’s fun and you can win without directly hurting a competitor. Also, if someone happens to mess you up, there are multiple ways to adjust and still win.
So, the basic premise is that the player is a railroad magnate trying to complete routes between cities across the United States. There is a deck of tickets in the game that provide point bonuses for completing a route between the two destinations. Each player is dealt three tickets to begin the game and must retain two of them. Any routes not completed by the end of the game are subtracted from the player’s point total. Each player begins the game with 45 colored train cars. These are used to denote claimed routes. You claim a route by turning in a number of train cards equal to the route’s length and of the route’s color (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black and white). Grey routes can be claimed with any color (though all cards used to claim must be of the same color). In addition, there are locomotive (rainbow) cards which can be used as any color.
On a player’s turn, that player has three basic actions he can choose from. He can only perform one of these actions per turn. The first action is to draw additional destination tickets. He draws three and must retain one. The second action is to claim a route. The player must discard the appropriate number and color of train cards to claim the entire route between two cities. Claiming a route gains the player points based on the length of the route. Finally, the player can draw train cards. He can draw two train cards from either the five revealed cards or from the top of the deck. If a player draws a face up locomotive card, she cannot draw any other cards.
The game ends when one of the players has two or less colored train cars to use. Every player receives one additional turn including the player who just triggered the last turn. An additional 10 points are awarded to the player with the longest continuous train (excluding branches). Then ticket points are tallied and the player with the most points wins.
Ticket to Ride is a competitive game but fun and quick enough that nobody ever really minds losing. This has made it a group favorite. As an avid train person, I’ve always known that I would love this game but never really had the opportunity to play it before recently. I’ve picked up the base game, several of the maps and expansions and purchased it for my computer, my iPad Mini and my iPhone. Basically, I’ve decided I can’t support Days of Wonder enough for this great game.