Tabletop Game: Ticket To Ride
Ticket To Ride
is a board game produced by Days of Wonder games. The premise is that you are a railroad tycoon creating the first railroad empire in the United States. All five players are in competition for the railroad tracks.
The board has several major cities and hubs as railroad destinations. Each player draws 3 route cards at the beginning of the game. These are the routes that the player will get credit for if completed by the end of the game. Gameplay is accomplished by drawing colored railroad car cards. There will be one or two routes between each city, some of which are neutral (gray) or a specific color. The player must collect enough cards of the same color to fill in every link on that route. There are also locomotives, which serve as wild cards and can be used anywhere.
At the end of the game, the routes are added up. Each route is worth a certain amount of points based on the length of that route. If a player has a route in their hand and did not complete it, they lose those points. Bonuses can also be gained, depending on the game, for making the longest train or having the most destination cards.
There are Expansion Packs
for the game. These include new boards and gameplay mechanics for Europe, Germany, Switzerland, the Nordic countries, India, Asia, and Africa, as well as card and mechanic expansions for the USA and Europe editions.
- Europe added three new gameplay mechanics:
- Ferries, for which a player must use at least one wild card to complete the route.
- Tunnels, which force the player to turn over the top three cards on the stack and pay additional cards if the flipped cards match the route color.
- Stations, which allow players to connect up using other players' routes, but at the expense of points.
- Marklin, played on a map of Germany, introduces passengers, which allow a player to collect merchandise tokens worth points from cities along the routes they've built. It also includes separate decks for "short" and "long" tickets, and routes leading to neighboring countries.
- Switzerland also includes routes from the surrounding countries, presented as Border and Hub cards, which net bonuses if certain borders and cities are linked up along a route.
- Nordic Countries combines the ferries of Europe with the tighter, more competitive map layout of Switzerland.
- India allows players to net bonus points for hooking their routes up as a "mandala," or complete loop.
- Legendary Asia forces players to discard extra trains to pay for certain mountain routes.
- Team Asia has players working in teams, each keeping their hand secret, even from their teammate.
- Team Asia also includes tunnels that require flipping four to six cards from the deck instead of three, greatly increasing the chance of having to pay additional cards.
- Africa allows a player to double the points of any route using special Terrain cards.
- Netherlands introduces toll bridges, which allow the first player who purchases a bridge to collect payments from other players for its use.
There is also an online version available for purchase that can be played via Java through a web browser, through Steam
, through an app available for Macs or iPads, or through an Android app.
Tropes appearing in Ticket To Ride:
- Alien Invasion / Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Alvin the Alien and Dexter the Dinosaur of the Alvin & Dexter expansion. They prevent players from building routes into or out of the cities they're rampaging in.
- Anti-Frustration Features: The train stations in Europe ensure that it's almost impossible to get blocked out of a destination city by other players, which can be a problem in other versions, especially when playing with cutthroat opponents who deliberately try to sabotage your plans.
- Artistic License – Geography: Some cities, especially on the US east coast, are very creatively placed to fit them on the board.
- Boston is all the way up in Maine.
- The bulk of Maine itself is now part of Canada.
- Raleigh is located ninety miles to the west in Greensboro.
- Chicago is part of Indiana instead of Illinois.
- Long Island and Vancouver Island are connected to the mainland.
- Duluth is placed in the vicinity of Minneapolis/St. Paul, rather than at the edge of Lake Superior.
- Awesome but Impractical:
- The gigantic eight-train tunnel in Europe. It's worth an epic twenty-one points, but you need anywhere from eight to eleven matching resource cards or wild cards to build it, a prospect that can be tricky if your chosen color stops showing up. The iPhone version of the TTR Europe actually has an achievement for building a 45-train, non-branching route that uses this tunnel.
- Nordic Countries has a nine-train route. It's a bit out of the way for most tickets, but it's worth 27 points. It has a special rule: any four cards can substitute for one card of the needed color.
- Chokepoint Geography:
- The boards have a few areas that can get blocked off very quickly, forcing a player to construct a roundabout route to reach their destination, or even getting it blocked off completely. On the USA Board, the closely-set northeast cities are a prime example, and it's not uncommon for players, as their first move, to snag the short New Orleans to Houston, Nashville to Atlanta, or Los Angeles to Las Vegas routes to ensure they can get through there later on.
- The single-train routes from Vancouver to Seattle and Seattle to Portland, in two-player games where double routes are treated as singles. One player can can quickly snag both of those, making it an incredibly long way around for the other player if they need to make a run up the West Coast.
- Europe has its share of these. God help you if you and two other players all need to make it down to Cadiz or Lisboa. Or if it's a two player game and both players need to go to Edinburgh, which is a dead-end.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In the IOS version of Switzerland, Escherbot can use wild cards wherever he wants, even though the rules state that they may only be used in the tunnels.
- Istanbul Not Constantinople: In the European game, cities (including the Trope Namer) are referred to by the names they had in the early 20th century, in the country's native language (or at least pronunciation). This can cause confusion for players familiar with modern European cities but not their historical names, who might have to look around the board for a bit before realizing that Wien is Vienna, Smyrna is Izmir, Petrograd is St. Petersburg (which was called Leningrad in between), etc.
- Also used for the Africa map, which uses colonial names for cities.
- Lethal Joke Item: This can happen with some of the shorter routes. Not terribly valuable from a scoring perspective, but completing them sooner than other players complete their initial routes makes it less of a gamble to draw more tickets from the deck. Often, those shorter routes allow you to quickly get those first points, and then use the short routes to complete the much longer trans-continental route that you have inevitably drawn. They also come in handy when you draw a shorter route from the deck after already having connected those cities to complete longer routes.
- The 1910 Expansion for USA introduces several of these, but two variants of the game (1910 and Mega) include a 15-point bonus for most tickets completed. This can make that measly 2-point route from Vancouver to Portland a deciding factor in a close game.
- Switzerland is full of these short tickets, to the point where if you've connected the major cities on the board to at least 3 of the 4 international boundaries, there's a high likelihood of drawing tickets you've already completed.
- Market-Based Title: Zug um Zug (Train to Trainnote ) in German, Les Aventuriers du Rail (Adventures of the Rail) in French, and Aventureros al Tren (Train Adventures) in Spanish, among others.
- Obvious Rule Patch: New rules introduced in the expansion games can come across this way, especially if you're familiar with game-breaking elements of previous versions. As an example, there's a rule unique to the Switzerland expansion that states rejected tickets gets discarded outright, rather than returned to the bottom of the deck. Because the tickets in Switzerland have a great deal of redundancy (including outright duplicates of the country-to-country tickets), this exhausts the deck sooner, preventing the game from dragging out forever due to everyone scrambling to draw as many tickets as possible once they've completed their initial set.
- Rage Quit: The online game uses the concept of "karma" to combat this tendency. Players who frequently quit games before they are completed will have lower karma ratings, making them less likely to find others who are willing to compete against them. Leaving a game early also replaces you with a bot, so that anyone else involved can still finish the game and get credit for the win.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: Most of the expansions are designed to make the game a lot trickier than the basic USA/Europe maps. Some examples:
- Nearly half of Switzerland is made up of tunnel routes.
- Africa groups the colors into types of "terrain", making it much harder to come up with contingency plans, since you will often need the same one or two colors to approach a city from any direction (unlike most maps, where the color scheme appears to be random). Double-tracked routes are pretty much nonexistent except at the edges of the board. The instruction manual flat-out warns you that a 5-player game will be total mayhem.
- India may require the most careful planning of them all, due to the "mandala" bonus it awards for completing tickets two different ways. The usual strategy goes like this: 1) Mentally draw a circle on the board that contains all of your ticket destinations. 2) Pray that none of the routes along that circle get blocked. One missing link can rob you of a 30 or 40-point bonus at the end of the game.
- Shout-Out: The Excuse Plot references the wager from Around the World in 80 Days.
- Not to mention the (English) name of the game comes from The Beatles song of the same name.
- Steampunk: The USA game board has a decorative steampunk Verne-ish submarine on it, thus nudging it into this genre by the thinnest of technicalities.
- Time for Plan B: Happens in nearly every game. Your Plan A will almost always go wrong, and the game is often determined by who can think on their feet and work around a blocked route that seemed crucial to completing a ticket, or even decide when to abandon a ticket and take the penalty for it, in order to avoid wasting the time it would now take to get there.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The "tunnel cards" in Switzerland, which function like the "locomotive" wild cards in other games, but have slightly different rules concerning their use. You are allowed to draw two of them in one turn (Yay!), but you can only use them in tunnels (Boo!).
- Variable Player Goals: No two players have the same route (each one is unique). However, there can be competition for overlapping routes.
- Yodel Land: Unsurprisingly, Switzerland is depicted this way. The electronic version even has a bit of yodeling in the soundtrack.