Skip to main content

Ticket To Ride (Acquire-To-Zendo)

🚂 And She Don't Care...

2004, 2-5 players
Complexity: light/moderate

Ticket To Ride is one of the games at the vanguard of the modern gaming renaissance. It's a wildly popular eurostyle game that is easily accessible to both children and adults. And it's about trains, so it's automatically populate with the old-man/little-boy set.

Let's See It In Action

In Ticket To Ride, you and one-to-four friends are developers building railroad lines during the US railway expansion boom. Each player gets 45 trains in their color, two to three tickets to try and fulfill, and a hand of train cards.

On your turn, you take one action. Your first option is to take cards. There is a row of five cards, and you can take two of them--although if you take a wild card, that is the only one you can take. For either of your card draws, you can choose to take a card blindly from the top of the deck. Cards in the row are immediately replaced, and if there are ever three or more wilds in that row, then you discard them all and re-deal.

Your second option is to play cards from your hand to claim a route. You need to match the color and number of the route in order to claim it. If you want to claim the route from San Francisco to Salt Like City, you need to discard either five orange cards or five white. When you claim a route, you gain points. Some routes have multiple ways to score them. In a two or three player game, only one player may claim any specific route, but in a four or five player games, both sides of the route are available.

Your final option is to take more tickets. A ticket gives you points for connection multiple cities. When you take tickets, you draw three and keep at least one of them. Be careful, because any tickets you don't successfully complete at the end of the game will cost you points.

Once a player is down to two or fewer of their 45 trains, the final round of the game starts. Each player gets one last turn. Then all players tally up their scores from their tickets. The player with the longest contiguous route gets a bonus ten points. Whichever player has the highest score wins.

As in real life...

What Makes It So Good?

This one hits all of the eurogame sweet spots. It's easy to learn, easy to teach, fast-paced, and friendly. The little trains are pretty cool, and the map is nicely detailed. Not much to say about it other than that. It's a popular game because it's actually a lot of fun for a lot of people. 'Nuff said.

What's Not To Like?

The board is huge, meaning this game has a pretty hefty footprint. Not only does it have the big board, everyone starts with forty-five trains in their play area. The cards that that come with it are eurostyle, which in the case of cards means really tiny. And if you're gunning for the long tracks, then you're very likely to wind up with a hand of twenty-plus cards. It can get to be a bit much.

It's a game where jostling the table can scuttle the entire thing. When the game was featured on Wil Wheaton's TableTop YouTube show, someone bumped the table pretty hard and obliterated the board. If they hadn't been filming the entire game, they would not have been able to recover it. Beyond that, the gameplay isn't very varied from game to game, so if you're looking for variety, you aren't going to find it here.

Is It Expansible?

There's a ton of content for this game, mostly in the form of new maps that tweak the formula by adding in tunnels or stations or ferries, or something like that. I've played a few of them and not found any of them to be essential. The one expansion that I heartily recommend is the USA 1910 Expansion Pack. It's a set of cards--standard size cards, not tiny eurostyle--that replace the train cards and tickets, as well as adds a few more tickets and adjusts values on the old ones. With the new tickets come a few different game options that can make the game more open or more cutthroat, depending on which tickets you include.

Final Thoughts

Kind of a modern classic, gaming-wise, and its status is well-earned. Choo-choo!

Tune in next week when we create some Tiny Towns...

In Acquire-To-Zendo, Kurt is going through his favorite board games in alphabetical order. Read the explainer or see more posts.


Popular posts from this blog

On Getting Laser Eyes

Last week I got Lasik. I was looking forward to not having to deal with glasses getting smudged by my kids or slipping off my face. I figured that not needing them would be pretty convenient. However, the words I heard over and over from other people who'd already done it were: "life-changing." That seemed to be overstating a bit. Convenient, yes, but life-changing? I didn't get it. I get it now. I've had some kind of vision correction, either glasses or contacts, for the last thirty-odd years, which is nearly as far back as I can remember. And what I hadn't realized was the extent to which this had become part of my identity. It's not that I thought glasses were cool because I wore them--although I did and they are. It's that the ability to see was, for me, artificial and temporary. And my vision was pretty bad, so my natural state was one of... not so much "blindness" as "isolation." There was a layer of vagueness that sat bet

Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition: A Thoroughly Unnecessary Review

 Time to save the multiverse A couple years ago I was blogging about my love of tabletop games and described Sentinels of the Multiverse  as being either my first or second favorite, depending on what day of the week it was. Then last year they announced a new "Definitive Edition" of the base game with expansion content to follow. This would be a ground-up rethinking and rebalancing that would, amongst other things, be mostly incompatible with the existing content. Of which I have a lot. This has been a "shut-up-and-take-my-money" IP for years now, so it's not like I  wasn't  going to buy it, but I was at first trepidatious. I mean, was this even necessary? And then I saw an interview with the creators where they talked about what they were trying to accomplish with the new edition, and I was on board. And then the Kickstarter launched and more information was available and I got excited. After all, as I mentioned in the above-linked write-up, the oldest Sen

100 Album: "Game Of Thrones Season 3 Soundtrack" by Ramin Djawadi

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the  explainer  or view  the master list . Artist:  Ramin Djawadi Title:   Game Of Thrones, Season 3 Soundtrack Released:  2013 Genre:  DAH duh, duh-duh-DAH duh, duh-duh-DAH duh He's not as big a name as Hans Zimmer or John Williams or the various Newmans out there, but Ramin Djawadi is easily the most interesting composer working in television right now (with due respect to Bear McCreary). Soundtracks, especially television soundtracks because they're produced so quickly, have a tendency to serve more as a wall of atmosphere than anything else. But Djawadi's work here and on Westworld  has generated some amazing musical themes. There's a strong undercurrent of leitmotif informing the way the music flows together and the themes those motifs are built around are damned  catchy--which you know if you got the joke in the genre description above. While all of the soundtracks for GoT  are very listenable, this is m