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Tabletop Game / Ticket to Ride

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Ticket to Ride is a Eurogame produced by Days of Wonder. The premise is that you are travelling the United States by rail as part of a wager. All five players are in competition to claim the most and longest railroad tracks, and visit the most cities.

The board has several major cities and hubs as railroad destinations. Each player draws 3 ticket cards at the beginning of the game. Each ticket depicts two (or more) map destinations which needs to be connected at the end of the game. Gameplay is accomplished by doing one of three things, drawing up to two train cards, drawing new tickets, or playing train cards. When you play a set of train cards, you may then place a number of your wagons on the board on a route of the same color and length as the set of train cards you played. On gray routes, cards of any one color may be used. Locomotives may be used as wild cards instead of any color. Some maps limit the use of locomotives, and some of them require you to use locomotives on certain routes. When you place wagons on the map, you receive a number of points depending on the length of the route. When a player has used up their allocated 45 wagons (for most large maps, but variations exist including 15 vehicles for the mini games), the game is over.

At the end of the game, the tickets are added up. Each ticket is worth a certain amount of points based on the distance between the destinations on the card if the player has managed to build an unbroken line of wagons on the board between the destinations. Failing to complete a ticket in the above manner results in the ticket being worth negative points instead. Bonuses can also be gained, depending on the game, for making the longest train or having the most completed ticket cards. Some expansions also have other types of bonuses at the end. The person with the most points at the end is the winner.

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.

    Expansion Packs and Spinoffs 
  • Europe (stand-alone game) 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 (stand-alone game), 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 neighbouring countries.
    • A simplified version of this which removed the passenger tokens and corresponding cards was later released as Zug Um Zug: Deutschland in Germany. A small expansion to this game added a new passenger mechanic to the game.
    • Germany is the international version of Zug Um Zug: Deutschland which includes the passenger expansion.
  • Map Collection 2 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.
    • This was released as a single map expansion at first but was later paired with India in Map Collection 2.
  • Nordic Countries (stand-alone game) combines the ferries of Europe with the tighter, more competitive map layout of Switzerland.
    • This was at first only released in the Nordic countries, but was later made available world wide.
  • Map Collection 1 Legendary Asia forces players to discard extra trains to pay for certain mountain routes.
  • Map Collection 1 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.
  • Map Collection 2 India allows players to net bonus points for hooking their routes up as a "mandala," or complete loop.
  • Map Collection 3 Africa allows a player to double the points of any route using special Terrain cards.
  • Map Collection 4 Netherlands introduces toll bridges, which allow the first player who purchases a bridge to collect payments from other players for its use
  • Map Collection 5 United Kingdom, where players are limited to where they can build at the beginning of the game, and must buy technology cards to expand their capabilities.
  • Map Collection 5 Pennsylvania, where building routes gives players access to railroad company stocks: at the end of the game, the player with the most stocks in a company gets a point bonus.
  • Map Collection 6 France, uses a map where players first have to color the routes using markers placed on grey routes before trains can be placed.
  • Map Collection 6 Old West, The first official (non-team) 6-player map.
  • Map Collection 7 Japan, In addition to the map of the whole of Japan it also includes a small map of Tokyo where a secondary network is placed in order to reach specific parts of Tokyo rather than the whole city.
  • Map Collection 7 Italy, with a new bonus function based on regions of the map.
  • Rails and Sails, introduces ships and harbours to the previously train only Ticket to Ride. The game contains two maps, two separate decks of cards for trains and ships. Some ship cards additionally allows the player to place two ships when played. The harbours give bonus points to tickets ending at the harbour.
    • Rails and Sails: The World which is a world map wrapping around the edges. This map also introduces difficult terrain which costs two train cards to build a single train on the map, and double ship cards which allows you to put two ships on the map for just the play of a single card. There are also tour tickets which depict 3 cities on the map and which score differently depending on which order you reach them - Building a straight line from A to B to C nets more points than just connecting A, B & C, using forks or going A->C->B.
    • Rails and Sails: Great Lakes which takes place around the Great Lakes of the US using most of the rules from The World except the wrapping world and the tour tickets.
  • Poland (stand-alone game) (released internationally September 2022 as Map Collection 6½).
  • Express (stand-alone game) A middle sized game on a map of Europe, so far only released in France.
  • New York (stand-alone game) A new mini game using taxis on Manhattan
  • London (stand-alone game) The second mini game using buses in central London.
  • First Journey (stand-alone game) A simplified version aimed at younger children.
  • Ticket to Ride Legacy: Legends of the West (stand-alone game) A legacy game with a twelve game campaign in the United States over the later half of the nineteenth century.
  • Ticket to Ride, Europe and Deutschland have minor expansions with extra tickets and a replacement train deck available.
  • There is also a huge number (~100) of fan created maps available for Print-n-play.

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:

  • 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. This is especially notable, due to Edinburgh only connecting to the rest of the cities via London.note 
  • Anti-Rage Quitting: The electronic versions use a karma system where finishing a game raises your karma by 1 point and leaving a game early or timing out lowers it by 1 point. When you create a game, you can set a minimum karma level, meaning that people who rage quit (or regularly idle during games) will have a smaller pool of games to choose from.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Bots in the Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation will not place their train stations on the Europe board, even if it's the only way to complete their routes.
  • 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, which is apparently part of Canada.
    • Washington, D.C. is now located in Virginia.
    • Las Vegas is located in Arizona.
    • El Paso is now a part of New Mexico instead of Texas.
    • New York City is no longer located in New York State, but instead on the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
    • 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.
    • There seems to be a massive bridge spanning Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
    • The other maps aren't immune to this either - the Europe map places Vilnius in Belarus.
  • 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.
    • In United Kingdom, the Right of Way card allows you to build on any route you have the technology for, even if it's already fully occupied. However, it costs a whopping four locomotives to purchase, and in addition, you have to pay the resource cost for the route you wish to build on immediately. Unless you desperately need to complete a ticket that's been rendered impossible due to other players blocking you off, it's generally not worth the exorbitant price.
  • Chokepoint Geography: Most boards have a few areas that can get blocked of easily. Workarounds, if any, will take a lot of trains to complete.
    • On the USA Board, the closely-set northeast cities are a prime example, and it's common 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. Cadiz and Lisboa only connect to each other and Madrid, which itself only connects elsewhere through Pamplona and Barcelona. If the ferries from Essen to Kobenhavn is blocked, the only other way into Scandanavia is a long tunnel top-right corner of the map. Not to mention, Edinburgh only connects to London, which only has two connections to mainland.
    • Nordic Countries pretty much runs on this trope. Two players getting in each other's way along the Norwegian coast or up in the Arctic can pretty much guarantee Mutually Assured Destruction, due to how difficult and costly it will be to navigate around each others' obstacles.
  • Christmas Episode: The artwork in Nordic Countries has a Christmas-y feel to it, with snow-covered train illustrations on the cards and the words "Father Christmas Tour" on the back of the ticket. One of the characters on the box bears a strong resemblance to Santa Claus (possibly as a nod to these countries' tradition of claiming he lives within their borders).
  • 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.
  • Crossover: The 'Marklin' edition of the game is one with the German model railway maker.
  • Darkest Africa: This is implied by the time period in which the Africa expansion takes place (which is the early 20th century as in the rest of the series), the separation of route colors into different types of terrain (Jungle, desert, mountains), and the presence of nameless outposts on the map that allow routes to branch while illustrating the vast and wild nature of the continent's interior.
  • Developer's Foresight: On the rare occasion where players hoard enough cards that every combination of face-up cards has three or more locomotives, the game will stop shuffling after a few loops to prevent a Soft Lock.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: United Kingdom has the Southampton to New York route. Completing it requires three locomotives, along with seven more matching cards, thus gobbling up anywhere from ten to nineteen cards. However, if you can pull it off, it's worth a gargantuan 40 points, essentially winning you the game outright as long as you didn't completely botch everything else. As an added bonus, it doesn't require any technology to build, meaning that a player can theoretically hoard cards and build it before anything else if they really want.
  • Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation: An official dedicated version is available on Steam and mobile app stores, with many of the extra maps available as Downloadable Content. An official dedicated version of First Journey is also available.
  • Euro Game: It's considered one even though Days of Wonder is based in America. (Alan R. Moon, who designed the game and most of its expansions, is a Brit.)
  • French Accordion: When playing on the digital version of the France map, of course.
  • Here There Be Dragons: There are various early 20th century vehicles drawn on the maps, such as ships, airships etc. There are also land vehicles, such as a troika in Russia on the Europe map.
  • 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.
    • The Asian maps also qualify, especially India, which renamed of several of its cities (Madras to Chennai, Bombay to Mumbai, etc.) in 1995.
  • 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.
  • Literal Wild Card: All variants of Ticket to Ride require matching cards equal to the length of the railroad be played in order to build on that stretch - with some routes requiring one color in particular. However, locomotives, which are gold on a rainbow background, may be substituted for any other color. However, if a player claims a face-up locomotive on their turn, they may only take one card, instead of the typical two.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Any route that is significantly tunnel-heavy in Europe and especially Switzerland. Until you try to claim a tunnel segment, you don't know how many cards it will cost you. If it's a 3-train tunnel and you only have three cards of the designated color, you could get it on the first try, or waste several turns trying to complete the tunnel. Collecting one more card than necessary seems like the best way to mitigate this risk, but it's still a crapshoot.
    • Drawing tickets late in the game can be this. A player could either get a ticket they've already completed or draw a route that cannot possibly be finished due to lack of trains or blocked routes.
  • Market-Based Title: Zug um Zug (Train by train / Turn by turnnote ) in German, Les Aventuriers du Rail (Adventures of the Rail) in French, and Aventureros al Tren (Train Adventures) in Spanish, among others.
  • Non-Player Character: The Nederland expansion introduces one in the 2-player version. This character takes routes randomly according to the text on the bottom of ticket cards drawn from the deck, and can either block routes needed by the two human players, or repay them for routes they managed to build first.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Excuse Plot references the wager from Around the World in Eighty Days.
    • Not to mention the (English) name of the game comes from The Beatles song of the same name.
    • On the cover of Ticket to Ride United Kingdom, one of the people depicted is Sherlock Holmes, in period dress (including deerstalker and cape) but with the face of Benedict Cumberbatch.
    • The cover of Ticket to Ride London, built around bus routes in 1960s London, depicts various stereotypical '60s English people, including a man in a bowler hat who bears a striking resemblance to John Steed.
  • Snowy Sleigh Bells: Very prominently featured in the Nordic Countries music in the digital app.
  • 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: Every expansion has some sort of additional cards, tokens, and/or rule tweaks to make it stand out.
    • 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!).
    • Nordic Countries follows this rule as well, while also allowing locomotives on the ferry routes. It also allows players to substitute any three cards for a locomotive only on the ferry routes. Then there's the 9-train route at the top of the map, on which any four cards can substitute for one of the color needed.
    • Team play in the Asia expansion and the passengers in Marklin are among some of the more unusual gameplay changes in other editions.
  • The Unpronounceable: You're dealing with the names of foreign cities, in some cases as they were spelled in the country's native language, roughly a hundred years ago. Chances are someone, if not everyone, in your gaming group is going to mangle names like "København", "Nijmegen" or "Ngaoundéré". Even in the original game, "Sault Ste. Marie" is bound to trip up a lot of Americans.
  • 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.