Game: Ticket to Ride: Europe
Manufacturer: Days of Wonder
Designer: Alan Moon
Ticket to Ride Europe is a 2-5 player route control game and follow-up to the popular game Ticket to Ride. In case anyone has managed to miss the Ticket to Ride phenomenon it’s a game in which you collect coloured cards in order to build your train routes and connect cities, connect the right cities and you complete tickets which are worth bonus points at the end of the game, but fail to complete your tickets and you’ll be penalised. The European version of the game isn’t just a new map, it also adds a handful of new rules and a balance tweak in the tickets.
|The game set up ready to play, each player has a set number of trains, the game ends when these get down to 2 or less.|
In Ticket to ride you get only 1 action per turn, this can be spent picking up new cards from either the open market or blind drawing off the top of the deck. Alternatively you could claim a route by playing a number of cards of the same colour equal to the length and colour of the route you want. This earns you points, with longer routes getting you more points per card played. The final option is to draw tickets, in which case you draw 3 tickets and have to keep at least 1, you don’t know what cities the tickets will want you to connect so you might be lucky and draw cards you already complete, or you might get a hand full of cards on the wrong end of the map. In the European version you have 1 additional option which is to build a station, stations let you count 1 opponent’s route as yours at the end of the game for the sake of completing tickets. However you get some points for not using them, so be sure that you need to before committing.
Ticket to ride Europe also adds ferries, which are routes that need one or two of the rare and sought-after multi-coloured train cards (essentially wild cards), tunnels which require you to draw three cards off the top of the deck and play an extra card for every colour match you draw, the aforementioned stations. Finally it has a distinction between long and short routes, at the start of the game you get given 1 long route (worth around 20 points) and the rest are removed from the game. This prevents the rare, but unfortunate, situation in the American version where a player could draw 2 long routes that are similar enough to be easily doable and gets far too many points for their effort. For the record most tickets are worth ~6-12 points.
|A zoom in on 2 of the new features, tunnels, with the black borders, may need extra cards to play. Ferries, with the locomotive symbol, require a multi-coloured locomotive card to be played for every locomotive on the ferry.|
There is a reason that Ticket to ride is one of the more mainstream modern games, you can often find it in regular toy stores! The game is fast paced (one action per turn makes this work, your turn can often be seconds long and is rarely more than a minute), fun, and has mercifully simple rules. I would say that the European version is a touch better than the base game, the extra rules give you a bit more to think about/aim for, do you try and play a tunnel with only the right amount of cards, or do you save up and risk someone else taking it? The game does suffer at the lower player counts as there is such a vast amount of terrain you can often find you aren’t really racing your opponent for routes, but instead casually building side by side. Tickets also take a frustratingly long time to chose compared to other actions, since the player needs to decide how many of the 3 cards to keep this does ruin the games flow, fortunately you probably will only take tickets twice in a game so it isn’t a very common move. MY Favourite thing about it though? That Fi’s family are willing to play it! Ticket to ride is a true family game, but unlike most family games it’s actually fun for gamers and non-gamers alike.