Alan Moon’s strategic Ticket To Ride games are massively popular, selling in their millions, and range from a ten minute trip around London or New York to a planet spanning network of railways and shipping routes in Rails And Sails that can take 2 or 3 hours. Most of the game boards are reversible, so players can play one of the two games in each box. Some of the expansion games need a base game to supply train cards and tokens, but usually change the game in a unique way at the same time.
The basics are that on your turn you can either
Take train cards to enable you to claim a route.
Claim a route between two joined locations using the correctly coloured train cards.
Take more tickets, these when completed provide an end game bonus
The different versions all add a different twist
The original game, Race to build routes across the USA, completed end game tickets bonuses can easily double your score. Plus there is a bonus for the longest route.
In Nordic Countries you have the complexity of ferries and route through mountain tunnels. An end game bonus for the most completed tickets will change how you select them.
Rails And Sails is a world encompassing version of the game involving shipping routes, rail lines and harbours linking them together for bonus points.
In New York you use Limo’s to complete your routes, with bonus points for tourist attractions visited. In London you use Double Decker Buses and the bonus is for linking up stations in an area.
In Japan you have Bullet Trains, that all the players share, whoever lays the most gets the biggest bonus. This is cleverly combined with the Tokyo underground system, so many routes need to be completed using both maps.
Germany is all about passengers, stations have meeples on them and the first player to reach that town gets to take one. The meeples are worth nice end game bonuses
Great Britain, birthplace of the railway, fittingly this version is all about the technology, players buy licenses to use various technical innovations and to lay tracks in other country’s, these enable them to make use of longer routes, ferry crossings and to lay rails in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
In France after you have selected train cards, you must then select and place a link, at the start of the game most of the links are blank until you fill them in with a playing piece. Do you bluff your opponents and lay a link nowhere near where you want to go? Or do you telegraph your next move, enabling them to complete the route if they can before your next turn, leaving you frustrated and blocked off.
There are many other variations of the game, all with their own twist, unique map or maps. As well as expansions, such as the Orient Express expansion for the Europe map. This is a massively popular game that has sold in its millions for a reason, its very good.
And now we also have the European 15th Anniversary issue or at least we do while stocks last. See here for details.