Ticket to Ride - Board Game Box Shot

Ticket to Ride

| Published: 2004

A game almost everyone loves to play. It’s easy to learn and quick to play, which makes it ideal for introducing you, your friends and your family to board games.

go to: Who would enjoy this game?


Ticket to Ride small train and ticket cards

Ticket to Ride is all about claiming routes between cities. In the end, whoever has the most points wins. The longer the route you claim, the more points you get. The further the cities are from each other on the destination tickets, the more points you’ll get by connecting them.

You start with a set amount of “destination tickets” that tell you which cities you will want to connect to, and how many points you’ll gain by doing so. The board is a map of the United States, with various cities connected by train routes of 2 to 6 spaces. Claiming routes is done by collecting train cards that match the color of the routes on the board. When you have the right amount of matching cards, you turn those in and place your trains on the route, claiming it as yours!

A route cannot be claimed by multiple people (though some connections do have two available routes), and each player has a limited amount of trains, so you have to watch where the other players are going, and try your best to make sure they don’t claim routes that you need before you do, otherwise it will take more time connecting your destinations. Note that the game gets more competitive and difficult with more players. I’ve found that in a 2 player game you rarely ever compete over routes, but with 4 or 5 players you’re definitely going to feel the tension in the air.

It’s the anticipation and competition that makes this game so fun, along with the satisfaction and relief you get each time you claim a route, especially when that route completes one of your destination tickets.


Set in the early 1900’s, you take the role of travelers with the goal of claiming the most valuable routes between cities in the United States. The train theme is very appealing because there is something nostalgic about traveling by train.

Ticket to Ride trains


The board is a good size, and has a convenient scoring system printed around the edge that you can place tokens on and see your progress through the game, though I’ve found that it is fun to wait until the game ends and then total up your points. The pieces you use to claim your routes are plastic trains, which is a lot more fun than having chips or cubes. My one gripe about this game is that the cards are so small (around 1.75”x2.75”). They’re a pain to shuffle. This can all be remedied with the Ticket to Ride: 1910 expansion. Let me just say that along with new destination tickets and game variations, it replaces the original cards with a new set that is regular sized. To end on a positive note, everything fits nicely into a plastic insert that has spots for your cards, trains, point tokens and board.

Ticket to Ride contents

Learning Curve

If you’ve never played, the rule book is a quick read, and you’ll be up and running in less than 30 minutes. If reading rule books isn’t your thing, Days of Wonder has made a video tutorial that will have you playing in under 7 minutes! The age range on the box says 8 and above, but I’ve seen younger children play and enjoy the game!

Who would enjoy this?

Family Gamer {yes}
This is a great game for families. The rules are quick and simple to learn. Even really young children can, with the help of someone older, enjoy playing the game. With up to five players, it’s a great fit for most family sizes.
Strategy Gamer {maybe}
If you’re a strategy gamer that prefers games with little to no luck, this might not be the game for you. (but it’s worth a try!)
Casual Gamer {yes}
BUY IT!!! This game screams perfection for the casual gamer. I’ve yet to play this game with someone who doesn’t love it and want to play again.
Avid Gamer {yes}
This is the perfect game to introduce your friends and family to board games. And if you play it a lot, get the USA 1910 expansion which will give more variations of strategy and game types.
Power Gamer {maybe}
Though this isn’t a very strategic game, it is one you can play with pretty much anyone. Great for the times you can’t make it to the game store.


Play it online!
If you’ve never played, I highly recommend watching the video to learn how to play online. In fact this video is great even if you just want to learn how to play. visit site

Video tutorial
Here is another good video that will teach you how to play the game. watch video

User Reviews (111)

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I play black
Guardian Angel
Platinum Supporter
Marquis / Marchioness
121 of 125 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“A Great Gateway (or: how to cause a riot at your dining room table)”

When I made the decision to get into board gaming I submitted myself to the mercy of those that came before me, relying entirely on internet board gamer’s user reviews and feedback to dictate my gateway game purchases. Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan were the two that I went with despite misgivings about my interest level in them. In both cases there’s a “period piece” theme going on (I avoid anything set before 1970 when it comes to other forms of entertainment), and Ticket adds to that an automotive motif (I have no interest in this). But the masses persisted, so I went along. Here’s my experience.

Observed Set-Up and Play Time
Ticket to Ride comes relatively ready-to-go out of the box. There are no cardboard pieces to punch, only cards to remove from their wrappers and easy directions to read through. Anybody should be able to play this game within 20 minutes of opening the box. My first dozen games were all 2-player, and none reached an hour in play time. In general, games take about 20 minutes per player. The most cumbersome administrative task of the game is putting it away… you’ll have 45 trains per player to get into their individual bags and cards to sort and store.

My Learning Curve and Teach Time
While I felt I had Ticket mastered in well under 10 games, a very smart person in my gaming group took an astounding 18 games before realizing the benefit of holding cards and not playing individual segments as soon as you get them. On average I guess we can say it takes between 5 and 15 games to master. And the game can be taught to a complete newb in 5 minutes easily.

Group Sizes and Dynamics
None of my board gaming friends get excited to play this game anymore. This really only gets played with family and casual board gamers. It’s kind of odd, as this game gets tense and competitive as quickly as any game I’ve played and strategy always trumps luck. The more people you play with (up to 5) the more antagonistic the game will get, so keep that in mind if you’re playing with parents or children.

Objectionable Material
Ticket to Ride is as unobjectionable as games come. There is no violence or adult material, no graphic images or mature themes. In fact, there is very little reading required to play the game. It can be played with a child who can’t read simply by showing them which cities on the board they need to connect. This will be an early introduction game for my son, likely when he’s around 4 (there are still a bunch of small trains a child could choke on).

Comparable Titles
There are so many good train games out there: Railways of the World, Steam, Trains, Age of Steam, Railroad Tycoon… not to mention the plethora of other full Ticket to Ride games which introduce different mechanics and need to be considered separate from the original. I’m pretty certain every one of these games are better than Ticket to Ride, but I’m unlikely to try any of them because Ticket is about all the train game I need (as I mentioned, not a fan of the genre). If I’m going to play a train game it may as well be the least-complicated, easiest to learn option. My one potential future train-game purchase is the brand new Trains and Stations… I would normally avoid it, but it’s by the designer of Quarriors! and Chaos in the Old World, and that guy can do no wrong by me.

If you’re looking for an easy transition into board gaming, there are few easier than Ticket to Ride. Easy to pick up and more than enough to make you want to get deeper into board gaming. If you’re an established board gamer who somehow hasn’t played Ticket yet, you’re probably better off with any of the titles I mentioned above. One thing that dampens it for me is that this is (by quite a large margin) the game most likely to cause a loud/childish outburst in my house, occasionally including the uprooting of the board (and the million pieces on it). It gets so tense and competitive in the second half of the game, and every single move an opponent makes that hinders you will feel like a personal affront. It’s for this reason more than any lack of strategy/abundance of simplicity that Ticket to Ride comes out once a month at most in my house. One other warning… don’t play the game without the USA 1910 expansion. It’s not really fair, but you’ll have to spend this $15 to get the regular-sized cards to make the game playable, as the miniscule versions included in the base game won’t suffice.

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I play black
130 of 141 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“A Game the Entire Family can Enjoy”

Ticket to Ride is a two to five player route/network building game designed by Alan R. Moon. Players begin the game with at least two destination tickets that show which cities on the game board they need to connect. They then collect sets of cards for the various colored trains routes between each city. As each card set is discard a player places their train tokens on the board. Players score points for connecting the cities shown on a destination ticket and for each train route a player is able to claim. The winner is the player is the one with the highest point total at the end of the game.

Gameplay in a Nutshell
At the beginning of the game each player is deal four train cards and three destination tickets. A player can keep all three destination tickets or they can discard one of their choice, but they must keep at least two tickets. On a player’s turn he has three options: they can draw more train cards, discard a set of colored train cards to claim a route, or draw more destination tickets.

When a player chooses to draw more train cards they can either draw two cards from the deck or two cards from a set of five face up cards next to the card deck. If a wild card is present, indicated by a multi-colored border surrounding a locomotive, in the cards that are face up and a player selects the wild card that is the only card they can draw during their turn. A player can draw one card from the deck and one card from the face pile if they wish. If a player draws a wild card from the deck they can select an another card since this the other players are unaware of their choice.

After a player has collected the proper amount train cards of a given color they can claim a route. The game board consist of different colored routes that correspond to the train card colors. There also exist routes on the board that are gray. A play may claim these routes with any colored set of cards. Wild cards my also be substituted for another color in a card set.

At anytime during gameplay a player may choose to draw more destination tickets. When drawing these tickets the player takes three and must keep one ticket of his choice. Any destination tickets left uncompleted at the end of the game cut your final score by the point total listed on the ticket.

Each player only has forty-five train token claim routes with. As the game play progresses they will exhaust their stockpile of tokens. Once a player has two or fewer train tokens, the last round of play begins. The other players will have one last turn in wich to claim any routes. You can not claim a route longer than the amount of train token you have left. Once the game is over players move their scoring marker reconciling their completed or uncompleted destination tickets. The player with the longest continuous train scores an extra ten points. The winner is the player with the highest point total.

Overall Impression
Ticket to Ride is a game the entire family can enjoy. The simple to learn rules and short game player make it an excellent game to introduce non-gamers into the board gaming hobby. However there exist a couple of flaws in the game. One thing that drives me crazy is lack of hand limit. This allows for the first twenty minutes of the game to consist of players randomly drawing cards. This is easily overcome by a house rule for a hand limit size. The destination tickets in the base game of Ticket to Ride are also unevenly spread among the following routes: Settle to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Miami , and Miami to New York. The Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 game expansion addresses this issue, while simultaneously providing larger train and destination cards. If you plan on purchasing Ticket to Ride I would also recommend purchasing the USA 1910 game expansion as well.

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Comic Book Fan
Novice Reviewer
140 of 152 gamers found this helpful
“A classic game that will put you on a fast track to fun.”

Ticket To Ride is a 2-5 player board game that should take you between 30-60 minutes. Included in the game box is one North American game board, 240 colored train cars, and 144 cards. The game board is sturdy and folds into six sections. The size of the map is perfect and I love how expansive it is. There are five sets of colored train cars, each with their own respective holding bag. Each train and card is a brilliant shade of green, black, pink, red, orange, blue or yellow. The colors of the trains and cards are easy to tell apart. Even if you are color blind you shouldn’t have a problem because each card has a unique symbol on it, making it easy to differentiate between the sets.

The way the game works is that players draw destination cards and then choose which routes they want to try to establish. It is through building and completing these routes that players will earn points. When you first draw your destination cards you are allowed to discard one, but must keep two out of the three. These cards may have you go from Los Angeles to Miami, Seattle to Houston, or a dozen other big locations in the early 1900′s. It is up to you to create the path to victory! After choosing destinations, each player has the option of drawing train cards, laying down trains on the map, or drawing additional destination tickets.

When you are setting up the game you will place five train cards face-up next to the board. Each player can take two of these train cards and put them into their hand on their turn. As soon as a card is drawn, a new card replaces it on the table. In addition to the regular colored train cards, wild cards are also present and act as any color train when you lay down your routes. Players can take two cards off of the table, or from the deck itself, but cannot lay down trains or draw cards in the same turn. It can be difficult at times to figure out when it is best to lay down trains and when to pick up cards, so don’t feel frustrated if you feel like you are overwhelmed. The way you lay down trains is by playing colored cards that match a route on the map. If you are going from Seattle to Helena you have to count the colored spaces between the locations and come up with that number of cards. Each destination will take you several turns to reach, so be ready to hoard a lot of cards for the more valuable routes. If a route requires six yellow cards, you need either six yellow cards or a combination of yellow and wild cards. Sometimes you may elect not to take the most direct route and may instead decide to take the long way around, which can be valuable since you earn more points for longer train routes.The longer the train, the more points you get, with the maximum being six cards earning you 15 points.

As you earn points you will keep track of your score on the edge of the map using a colored pip. Just because a player is in the lead on the map does not mean that they will be declared the winner overall. Remember, it is through scoring routes that you will earn major points, and that isn’t done until the end of the game. Ticket To Ride definitely has some strategy to it. You not only have to be wary of where you are going, but also where your opponents are going because they may block off an important city that you need to pass through, forcing you to take a dreaded detour. It is also a good strategy to block your opponents in anticipation of where they are going as well.

My only gripe with this otherwise fantastic game is that the cards are tiny. I know I’ve got big hands, but these cards are some of the smallest I’ve seen. They are a little difficult to shuffle and I would have appreciated them being standard card size. I’ve played other versions of Ticket To Ride and haven’t had any problems with card sizes, but for some reason the original hasn’t been updated. The original Ticket To Ride is still a great game though and tailors itself to the number of players participating. The board itself contains routes and tools which are only used in larger games, so two player game feels a lot different than a five player game, and that’s a great thing. There are certain sections of the board where trains can share tracks, being forgiving towards players who are constantly having to take longer routes thanks to their greedy opponents.

Ticket To Ride is one of my all-time favorite development games. It is simple to understand, but still has strategic complexities and I can’t seem to get enough of it. To date it has sold over 1.1 million copies, currently has several expansions/standalone variations, and has won a dozen awards, most recognizably the 2004 Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) and the Origins Award for Best Board Game of 2004. Ticket To Ride is perfect for playing everyone and I can’t recommend this game highly enough. When it comes to creating a fun, historical experience, Ticket To Ride is on the right track. All aboard! Game on!

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Viscount / Viscountess
Novice Reviewer
73 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“Easy to learn. Easy to teach. Easy to play.”

Ticket to Ride is a family-oriented board game for 2 to 5 players that is the first entry in the well-populated Ticket to Ride series. The game has gameplay features including card drafting, set collection and network building.

Gameplay Summary

The goal of each player is to earn the most victory points by building train routes. Victory points are primarily awarded for completing routes between cities, which result in rewards based on the length of the completed route. Routes are most often completed in the service of Destination Tickets, which award players extra points for ultimately connecting two cities on the board. Finally, the player with the longest continuous route also scores a unique bonus at the end of the game.

Players start the game with a few Train Car cards and Destination Tickets, plastic trains in their chosen color, and a scoring marker. During each player’s turn, they may draw cards from the Train Car tableau, draw additional Destination Tickets, or claim a route by expending Train Car cards from their hand that match the color of the route and placing their trains along the chosen route. Gray routes can be claimed with Train Car cards of any single color, and some Train Car cards are Locomotives, which act as wild cards. Once one player’s train stock gets down to 2 or less, everyone takes a final turn and then tabulates their scores by adding their claimed route points, completed Destination Tickets, and the Longest Route bonus, if applicable, and then subtracting points for incomplete Destination Tickets. The player with the most points wins.

Components and Theme

The game comes with a beautiful and functional board, plastic trains and wooden scoring tokens for each of the 5 player colors, and cards for the Train Cars and Destination Tickets. Everything is of good quality, and there are extra trains in case a few get lost or destroyed. However, the base game uses small European-sized cards for the Train Cards and Destination Tickets, which makes them difficult to reliably shuffle. Days of Wonder put out a small expansion to fix this, but the presence of the small cards included by default is worth noting.

The theme is of 1900s-era America, and although this is well-represented in the art, components and graphic design, the game mechanics really boil down to just collecting sets of differently-colored cards, so theme is not a primary driver in this game.

Ease of Adoption

This game is very easy to learn and teach, even for people new to board games or those familiar with Monopoly or its ilk. Mastery of the concepts, which is largely derived by developing a sense of timing as to when to claim routes, will take a few plays and is achievable by players of any experience level.

There is no direct conflict and no built-in player interaction. Players may indirectly conflict with each other by claiming routes that block the plans of others, but this happens more often by chance than via careful strategic planning.

Setup and Play Times

Setup is very easy and can be done in less than 5 minutes, even for new players.

Gameplay typically takes 30-60 minutes depending on the number of players. Each turn is relatively short, and the simplicity of the game generally prevents analysis paralysis (AP), even for new players.

Luck Factor

Since the only way to complete routes is by playing Train Car card sets of a matching color, and what routes are needed is dictated by each player’s Destination Tickets, the random nature of the Train Car tableau and draw deck can severely limit a player’s chances to complete the required routes. Although this is construed to be a critical weak point of the game by its detractors, the random nature of the draws is actually more of a balancing mechanic meant to give younger or less experienced players a chance to win against adults or experienced players, respectively.

Fun Factor

The game has a quick pace, even with new players, and it is fun experience for gamers of all levels and ages, as evidenced by its extraordinary popularity.

Replay Value

Though there is a strong random element to the game, the game mechanics are very simple, making replay value low for players needing depth but good for players who enjoy the quick pace and fun play.

Although not part of the scope of this review, there are numerous expansions for the game which add variety in tickets, mechanics and game play modes that will help keep the game fresh.

Suggested Audience

This game is good for gamers of varying ages and levels of experience, and it is particularly good for families, as it is one of the best board gaming hobby gateway games available. Gamers requiring strategic depth or less reliance on luck in their games might want to avoid this.


Ticket to Ride is one of my favorite games of all time, and I own it and a number of its expansions in Xbox Live, iPad, iPhone and physical formats. I recognize that the gameplay is relatively shallow, but it is the simplicity and elegance of the game’s mechanics that makes me feel it to be one of the best, if not the best, board gaming gateway game to introduce potential new players to the hobby. So, whether you want to introduce your family to board games or a palate cleanser between brain burners on board game night, I suggest you give Ticket to Ride a try.

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Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Expert Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
82 of 90 gamers found this helpful
“Why to consider Ticket to Ride as your "Gateway Game"”

Ticket to Ride has long been used as an example of a Gateway Game: a game to help get people into the hobby of boardgaming. This review is targeted to people that already enjoy boardgaming, and would like some help in choosing a game that may appeal to their friends, and encourage them to try the newer generation of games.

As boardgamers, we often assume that if anyone will just try a game, they’ll be hooked and see the appeal we all see. While this isn’t always true, there are a handful of games that are able to bring in a good percentage of first time players. What is it about Ticket to Ride that appeals to different people, and what points should you stress when introducing the game?

There are three main features of Ticket to Ride that I see as the main draws of the game: Easy (and quick!) to learn, straightforward objective, and attractive look.

Easy and QUICK to Learn

In my experience, getting through the rules of a new game is one of the main stumbling blocks for bringing people into boardgaming. People know the rules of other games, and can sit down to play. These rules are often learned in childhood. As people age, many don’t want to look like they don’t know what they’re doing, and are comfortable sticking to what they know.

The main rules to Ticket to Ride can be taught in about a minute. You can even easily describe the rules to someone without having the game in front of them.

On your turn, you do one of three things:

1) Draw two cards (face up or top of deck)
2) Claim a route (use cards of same color, or engine)
3) Get new destinations tickets (keep at least one)

While there are a few more special rules (if you take an engine first, you don’t get a second card, or if three engines are in the offer, discard everything and put out new cards) only one player needs to know these. With the three rules above, almost anyone can start playing. You can point out the other rules as the game goes on, when they come up. You can even use your turn as the example of the rule. On your turn, grab an engine and point out you don’t get another card; it’s as easy as that. When a person claims a route, show them how many points they get.

If an experienced person takes care of all point scoring each turn, all the better. Halfway through the game, ask them how many points their route scores. If they’re not getting it yet, walk them through it. Once people see it, they’ll pick it up more quickly then having it explained multiple times during a rules explanation.

Around the halfway point is a good time to remind (or inform) players about the game end conditions (one player has 2 or fewer trains, with everyone getting one final turn).

Straightforward Goal

Many Eurogames convert one resource to another, or you play cards to gain tokens to use for some other purpose. By the end of the rules explanation, people are left asking “So, what am I supposed to be doing”. Not so with Ticket to Ride.

You’re trying to connect the two cities on your card. It doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as your color of trains connect the two cities. If you do, you get the points at the end of the game. Most points wins. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. You don’t have to have played games before to understand the concept.

Attractive Components

Days of Wonder (Ticket to Ride’s Publisher) has a knack for making visually appealing games. If you’re setting up Ticket to Ride, people from across the room will be drawn over. A Ticket to Ride board, mid-game is very colorful, and easy to explain to a passerby.

The plastic trains make for fun items to stack and arrange while it’s not your turn. I’m often surprised how many new players seem to enjoy playing with their train pieces as much as they enjoy the game itself.

I find the cards to be too small, and highly recommend the 1910 expansion which alleviates this problem.

No Dice

I keep this as a separate category. I’ve found many players that really enjoy learning a game that does not include dice. They’ve tired of roll and move, or don’t like the randomness that comes with dice.

On the other hand, I’ve met players that are turned off by Ticket to Ride because there are no dice. In this case, I’ll generally introduce the idea of Settlers of Catan, as a game using dice, but in a new and interesting way.

Final Thoughts

Ticket to Ride allows for social interaction, while playing games. There can be some strategy to it, whether in route blocking or timing your builds. It’s easy to learn, teach, and play.

A few notes when comparing to a few other typical Gateway Games (Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Alhambra).

Ticket to Ride has the easiest rules of the four, and with Carcassonne is generally the most visually appealing. If you’re considering future expansions, Ticket to Ride is probably the least expandable, as you need new boards instead of just new pieces (1910 Expansion notwithstanding). I’ve had luck introducing new gamers to all four games, with Ticket to Ride and Settlers having the highest percentage of people who come back for more.

One final takeaway I’ve found between the games; Ticket to Ride and Settlers are more likely to be what I call Plateau games. These are games where players will feel comfortable and settle in, and be happy to keep playing over and over. In essence, they take the place of Monopoly, Clue, etc. as their “go to boardgame”. While I’ve seen this with Alhambra and Carcassonne, those tend to have a higher percentage of people move on to meatier games.

I’ve found Ticket to Ride to work well as a Gateway Game and recommend it be used, with an emphasis on the three points above, to help you introduce new gamers to these types of boardgames.

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69 of 76 gamers found this helpful
“Introduce this to your friends.”

This is a classic gateway game that works well with most families or non-gamers. If you are new to gaming or need something to introduce others to this hobby this is a great choice. However, my favorite of the series is the Europe version, so after reading these comments go check out my Europe comments.

In ticket to ride players are fighting to build train connections between cities. Also enough of these connections will make a destination route from one city to another that isn’t next to it. Whoever can do the best will score the most points and win.

To start the game each player is dealt 3 destination routes. These have point values on them where longer routes are worth more points than shorter routes. So going from El Paso to Denver isn’t worth as many points as going from San Francisco to Atlanta. Before starting you may give up one of your routes if it just doesn’t seem to fit well with the others, because it is advantageous to work on multiple routes all at once.

Now play will continue around the table with each player getting to choose one action from three options. The first, and probably most commonly used, is to take train cards. Five of them will be face up, with the rest face down. These are a bunch of different colors that match the colors on the map which are required to get a certain connection between to cities. You can either take a face up wild card, or you can take any two other cards, either face up or face down. The other option is to use these train cards to actually build on the map. One key here is once you take a connection nobody else can use it, so getting blocked and having to go around is common. Each of these connections will score you points as you go. The last option is to draw additional destination routes. You draw 3, but you only have to keep 1 of them. You can keep all 3 if you want, but this isn’t common.

The game ends when somebody uses up almost all their trains (until they have less than 3) and each player then gets one last turn. Then you add on to your points for each destination ticket you completed, and take away points for each one you don’t.

This is very simple, for new gamers it can be very addictive. This is a must have for any collection, although as I said before, I prefer the Europe version to this one.

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Gamer - Level 6
Novice Reviewer
Amateur Advisor
105 of 116 gamers found this helpful
“You always remember your first”

Like many people, one of my first ‘real’ boardgames (as in, not monopoly/chutes and ladders/other basic boardgames) was Ticket. It was simple, fairly quick, and strangely fun for connecting train routes. Between trying to make your own routes, trying to prevent your friends from connecting their routes, and, if you can manage it, working to have your routes all be in a continuous line for longest route, it can definitely keep you on your toes.

The game is fairly simple. You start out with routes to complete, and cards to complete them with. You can pick a few of the routes you drew, or all of them (been playing expansions recently, can’t remember how many for the basic version), and then get started.

Playing trains between cities is how you complete a route. The number of segments in the route are how many cards you need, and the color of the route is the color the cards need to be. For the grey routes, it can be any color, but they must be the same color (eg, you go for a 2 segment grey, you can use 2 blues/greens/reds/etc, but you cannot use a blue and a red, that’s just crazy, there are rules). Locomotives(rainbow cards) can be used as any color.

On your turn you can do one of three things. You can draw cards, which is the most common action. This involves drawing some combination of 2 cards from the 5 face up cards(everyone knows what you’re going for) and the draw pile(you don’t know what you’re getting). If there is a locomotive face up, you can draw that, but it takes up both your card draws.

The second thing you can do is place trains, which was described above. The third option is drawing new routes. If you have completed your routes, or are confident you will soon, or simply want to be bold and daring, you can draw a few new cards (again, the specific number escapes me). You must keep one of them each time you do this.

As you go, you score routes. 1 segements – 1 points, 2s – 2p, 3s – 4p, 4s – 7p, 5s – 10p, 6s – 15p. Points are tracked with the tokens around the outside of the board. At the end of the game, any routes you completed add their value (the number in the corner) to your score. Any incomplete routes subtract from your score. 10 extra points are awarded for the longest continuous route.

All in all, this game is a ton of fun with many expansions that offer a large degree of variability and fun new tasks, goals, and maps.

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Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
65 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“A Great Game For All Players”

Ticket to Ride is BG Gold for a reason. From casual to family to avid players and more, all player types can love this game! You are given multiple route cards you are trying to complete by collecting colored train cards to complete routes connecting the cities on your ticket.

-Simple rules
-Fun for all players
-Great artwork
-Awesome components
-Online play
-Many expansions

-There are a lot of colors to consider while playing, and you often fill your hand with mostly useless cards if you draw from the deck
-Finding your way around the map can be tedious

The rules to this game are very simple. You can take one of three actions each turn. You start by getting tickets you are trying to complete, which will tell you two cities you need to connect to complete it. Then you will collect colored train cards which, when you have enough, you can use to create a route between two cities. You complete enough continuous routes to connect your two cities together on your ticket, completing that ticket and scoring points for it at the end of the game.

Be careful though, if the game ends and you have uncompleted tickets, you will lose those points! So be careful when selecting tickets that you pick tickets that work well together.

The artwork on the board and cards is fantastic, bright, and colorful. The components are also amazing, every player has a lot of train pieces to build their routes with.

All in all, this is a wonderful game.

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64 of 71 gamers found this helpful
“A game that belongs on every shelf”

Ticket to Ride was published in 2004 by Days of Wonder. It’s won over 17 international board game awards. It has over 6,000 comments and 23,744 users have voted on it over on BoardGameGeek. This game, as my friend says, has been Discussed.

And I picked it to be my first review here on BoardGaming. Why? Because it is the best all-round introductory board game on the market today. It is a pretty game. It’s got shiny little plastic train pieces and adorable little train cards. There are beautiful pictures of happy people, and time-appropriate technologies floating around the edge of the board. It takes minutes to learn and you can play it with both Grandma and your most hardcore gaming buddies. It supports two to five players and takes under an hour, at most, to play. Every game store stocks it. Stateside folks can even buy it at Walmart.

This game is also the most underrated game on my game shelf. It has the potential to be as soul crushing as being stood up at your own wedding.

The ultimate goal of this game is to collect the most points. You collect points by completing Destination Tickets, and by claiming a route between two cities. On your turn you can either draw more cards, claim a route with cards you’ve previously drawn, or get additional Destination Tickets. The final round of the game begins when someone has two or less trains remaining in their depot. At the end of the game, any of your Destination Tickets that you’ve completed are worth the number of points stated, but any unfulfilled tickets are worth negative that amount. What looks like a healthy lead from claiming routes can all be for nothing if you don’t complete your tickets. (Pro Tip: When claiming routes, always aim for the longest sections of track. They get you more points during the game itself, which can be the buffer you need during ticket scoring at the end of the game.)

The real beauty of Ticket to Ride, aside from the actual beauty in it’s components, is that it is, essentially, a giant game of Gin Rummy, on a map, with trains. This game, at its core, is the making of sets with spatial implications, guided by your Destination Tickets. If you’ve ever played Gin Rummy, think about this for a second. Think about the possibilities.

On your turn, do you draw those cards that you desperately need to complete a set? Or do you claim the route that your opponent is inching towards, which just happens to be vital to your 20-point ticket? (Pro Tip: If you can finish your ticket with another route, drawing cards is the smarter play.) Or, maybe, do you take a gamble and draw more Destination Tickets, with the chance that you’re stuck with something you have no hope of completing?

I’ve found that when playing with non-gamers, they tend to be more focused on what they’re doing than trying to sabotage other players. Hardcore gamers tend to play offensively as well as defensively, both with drawing cards and claiming routes. Some veteran players even have the tickets memorized and can guess where opponents are attempting to route to and block them. (Pro Tip: Don’t ever play against anyone that claims to not be a gamer, but still loves Ticket to Ride. They will destroy you.)
Want to add more strategy to the game? That’s easy: play the full rules, which state that at the end of the game, the player with the longest continuous route gets an extra ten points. (Pro Tip: Always try to get this bonus. Keep Destination Tickets that you can connect together when completing.)

This also, means, of course, you have to keep your eyes peeled for anyone setting out to connect their large sections of track. (Pro Tip: Up the west coast and through Canada is the best way to get the longest route, if your tickets can support it.)

On a side note, the publisher of Ticket to Ride, Days of Wonder, is a board game company that specializes in making beautiful games. The artists on their payroll make some of the most appealing game art I’ve ever seen in the gaming world, tabletop or otherwise. The pieces and parts of each and every one of their games is worthy of admiration in and them themselves. The detail alone on the little plastic trains included in Ticket to Ride assure you that this company takes their games seriously. Each game in the Ticket to Ride series (yes, there’s a series) shares the overall theme of the original game, but adds unique details which set it apart from its relatives.
This is a beautiful and well-balanced, easy-to-learn, hard-to-master board game that is worth every penny. It belongs on every gamer’s shelf.

What are you playing? Let me know on Twitter!

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Novice Advisor
61 of 68 gamers found this helpful
“Refreshing but slightly flawed”

This is a game I bought without having played it beforehand. The neat copmponents and the beautiful map sold it,and we played (even two player games) with great joy. The rules are easy enough to learn in just five minutes, and the game itself does not take that long to play. All in all it’s a great light strategy game where you connect routes between cities in USA and try to

A) create the longest route (much like “longest road” in Settlers)
B) connect cities you have on certain destination cards
C) build long routes to score points for simply building

The routes themselves are color coded and match a certain type of train car. These different train cars are cards, and a few cards are available face up. In your turn you can either build a route (marking it on the map with plastic trains in your color) or grab more train cards (that you later on use as payment for your routes). You can also grab more destination cards. The locomotives act as wild cards and the game ends when someone runs out of plastic trains.

The problem with this game is that in this first map there’s a clear strategy that help you win the game, and when you figured that one out it’s not as fun anymore. Since this game was such a huge success they released a number of variants (europe, nordic, märklin) and at least the europe version has been tweaked ruleswise to make that strategy less efficient.

As a family game this is great, and many have descibed it as a good gateway game to lure innocent people down the swamp of boardgames. I completley agree with that, and almost all people we’ve introduced this game to have liked it. However, if you’re a slightly more experienced gamer I’d recommend the european version instead, and if routebuilding is your cup of tea I would also suggest you have a look at Thurn & Taxis. But this IS a good game, despite its flaws. Try it and make up your own opinion.

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Reporter Intern
I play yellow
60 of 67 gamers found this helpful
“Route trains in this great introductory game!”

*This is a review for the base game and does not take any expansions into account.

Ticket to Ride is a highly acclaimed board game that centers around placing plastic trains along routes in order to score victory points.

The mechanics of the game are incredibly solid, fun, and easy to understand. Ticket to Ride is very easy to teach and for that reason is a great game to use to introduce new people to the realm of board games beyond Monopoly or Scrabble (though Ticket to Ride may have achieved close to the same level of mainstream popularity). For more experienced gamers, Ticket to Ride could fit the bill of a nice filler game, or a game to play when you need to take a mental break.

I would very highly recommend Ticket to Ride to anyone with kids, or to any group looking for a good introductory game to reel in new members. Is it a game I would buy immediately? Probably not. But I would definitely want to have it on hand if say, my parents or grandparents (who only played board games when their kids wanted to) came to visit, or once I have children of my own.

For more advanced gamers, I would recommend that you play Ticket to Ride for the experience, but that you hold off on buying a copy for yourself until you’ve done so. I’m sure that for some gamers, Ticket to Ride is a lot of fun and full of replay value straight out of the box, but I myself found it lacking. I felt like something needed to add more depth to the game in order for me to find it appealing after more than a few replays.

My Star Values:
Replay 3/5: Replay is high for casual/inexperienced gamers, lower for gamers looking for depth.
Components 3/5: A 3/5 for me means that the components are well done, but lack a “wow” factor that makes me excited just to show them to people.
Easy to Learn 5/5: You can teach people this game in 5-10 minutes with no problems. You can learn the rules so that you can teach others in about the same amount of time.

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Critic - Level 4
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
59 of 66 gamers found this helpful
“Introduction to Rail Gaming for the Whole Family”

Over the years I have come to fear and gently loathe rail games. It’s not that I dislike them per se, it’s just that these games – particularly the Martin Wallace variety – are brutal, unforgiving brain-burners. Every move must be planned meticulously, every dollar spent sparingly, and there’s a good chance you can work your tail off for three hours only to come in a distant fifth place. Alan Moon, however, designs games accessible by the whole family, and his game Ticket to Ride is none of those things.

At its heart, Ticket to Ride is more of a set collection game than a pure rail game. Players collect cards depicting trains of different colors, and if they have the right number of the right color, they can cash them in and place their trains on a track of that color, connecting two cities and scoring points. They also have a small hand of “destination” cards, naming two cities that the player can connect for bonus points, though the player loses points if they take the card but don’t make the connection.

The components are pretty basic – plastic train cars to place on a standard size board. The colors for the most part are bright and contrasted for easy identification. The cards, however, are small and somewhat thin, and won’t stand up to a lot of abuse. Our boardgaming club gave the cards in our copy a pretty good working over, but we ordered a replacement set from Days of Wonder and refreshed them.

Because the rails are built through set collection, the game is much easier for novice players to get into, and most of the strategy in this game is in deciding which colors to hold to try and build, and how your routes can help you and/or block your opponent’s efforts.

This is not a game I see at the table often, but only because our group leans toward heavier fare. The game is enjoyable, and a good way to develop interest among people whose board game experience ends at Battleship and Connect Four.

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Amateur Reviewer
49 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“InD20 Group Reviews Ticket to Ride”

Ticket to Ride has seemed to be a game that is reviewed quite a lot. But with it being such a great gateway game, I felt that this one needed my attention.

The Components

Ticket to Ride comes with a box of high-quality components:

• 1 game board
• 240 plastic trains
• 5 wooden scoring markers
• 142 cards
• 1 rulebook
• 1 online access number

The entire map is done in a very attractive colored-pencil period style. Various sketches really help set the time period as the late 1800s, and I find this to work out beautifully for Days of Wonder. The routes are easy to make out. The city names are easy to make out from across the board, though some of the cities are slightly displaced on the map from their real locations to accommodate the route lengths. As a nice touch, there’s also a scoring chart listing route values down in the Gulf of Mexico. The scoring track running along the edges of the board is easy to use because all of the numbers are printed (as opposed to tracks which only print every second, fifth, or even tenth number), but is too short. Inevitably, one or more players will “lap” the scoring track at least once, maybe twice.

Despite minor concerns, the game board is a very attractive and a useful central focus for Ticket to Ride.

Plastic Trains: These are simple plastic train cards molded in the five player colors: red, black, yellow, green, and blue. They’re made out of sturdy, hard plastic, with fairly simple sculpting. Each player gets 45 trains; there are also 3 extra per color which you need to remember to pull out when you play.

Wooden Scoring Markers: These are thick wooden discs painted in the five player colors. They’re used for scoring.

Cards: All of the cards are printed on small, linen-textured cards of medium thickness with rounded corners. The production is quite high-quality.
110 of the cards are Train Cards. Each of these shows a full-color drawing of a type of train car in one of the 8 track colors (purple, white, blue, yellow, brown, dark gray, red, or green). 30 of the cards are Destination Ticket cards. These each show a map of the U.S. with two cities marked and a score for the ticket. These are slightly plain, but utilitarian.
There’s also 1 Summary card, which shows card distributions and route scoring (I wish there was one of these for each player, though by halfway through my first game I knew all the route scores) and 1 Longest Continuous Path bonus card, which is just a reminder of a victory condition.

Box & Tray: Ticket to Ride is packaged in a fairly standard medium square box. The tray inside is very well designed. There are spaces for each component, from the train and cars to the little scoring markers.
Overall Ticket to Ride is beautifully produced with components that are evocative, attractive, and easy to use. It earns a full “5” out of “5” for Style. (I found the other two Days of Wonder big box games a bit more striking, but this still eked in a “5” rating.)

The Game Play

The goal of Ticket to Ride is to build connections between various cities in North America.
The Map: The Ticket to Ride map depicts about 40 cities, mostly in the United States, but a few in southern Canada as well. Each city is connected to 2 to 7 other cities by routes. A route is a set length, between 1 and 6 spaces, and typically is one of eight colors (though approximately a third of the routes are instead gray, which we’ll see is a special, free-building color). There’s typically only one route between any two cities, but many of the more popular paths instead have two routes, which are often different colors. Players will claim these routes throughout the game using Train Cards of the appropriate colors.

Setup: Each player chooses a color at the start to mark his routes and takes the 45 trains in that color. He also receives 4 Train Cards and 3 Destination Cards (of which he may discard one if he wishes).
Further, five Train Cards are flipped face up next to the draw pile.

Train Cards. These 110 cards depict a color of train, related to the colors of the routes on the board. There are 8 total: purple, white, blue, yellow, brown, black, red, and green. There are also 18 “wild cards”–locomotives which may be used as any color.

Destination Cards. These 30 cards list two cities each (e.g., “Denver: Pittsburgh”) and a score (e.g., “11”). Players have to contiguously connect the two cities with their trains in order to score the points, and are penalized if they don’t (hence the opportunity to discard).

Order of Play: Each turn a player takes one of three possible actions:
1. Draw Train Cards.
2. Claim a Route.
3. Draw Destination Cards.

Draw Train Cards. There are always five face-up Train Cards next to a face-down deck of the same. You get to, one at a time; take two cards either from the face-up cards or the draw pile. Whenever you take a face-up card, you replace it from the draw pile. There’s one catch: if you take a face-up engine, which counts as two of your draws. Clearly, you generally want to make draws that help you complete sets to claim routes.

Claim a Route. To claim a route, you must lay down as many cards of the appropriate color as are needed to completely lay out the route (which will be between 1 and 6, depending on what’s depicted on the board). If the route is light gray, you may instead lay down an appropriate number of matching cards of any one color. When you claim a route, you place your trains in the route boxes. This will keep anyone else from claiming that exact same route (though, as noted above, sometimes a pair of cities have two potential routes between them). You also score points: 1 for a length 1 route, 2 for 2, 4 for 3, 7 for 4, 10 for 5, and 15 for 6. Clearly, longer routes are more valuable.
You can only claim one route each turn, no matter how many Train Cards you have.

Draw Destination Cards. Alternatively, you can draw 3 Destination Cards and return up to 2 of them.
Ending the Game: The game ends when one player finishes a turn with 2 or less trains in his stock. At that point everyone (including the player who’s almost out) gets one last turn. The player with the highest score wins. Ties go to the player who completed the most Destination Cards.


I’ve already reviewed some great games so far, but Ticket to Ride is amongst the top. It’s easy to play, it’s innovative, its strategic, and it’s a great all around family game. Ticket to Ride has my highest recommendation for just about any audience, but it’s particularly great for family, friends, and more casual gamers.

Larry Fettinger and Ind20 Group approve this review with a 9/10

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Gamer - Level 1
56 of 63 gamers found this helpful
“From the Mouth of Jormi - Ticket to Ride”

I first played Ticket to Ride with a friend and it was on my must get list for quite a while. Once I got it, my family went on a TTR binge and wanted to play it all day every day. I did end up getting a little sick of it after a while, but now that the fervor has died down I still really enjoy it.

Gameplay- The gameplay is great. It is one of those games that the mechanics are simple enough to understand in a few minutes, but their is enough strategy there, that experiences players should have an edge.

Each turn consists of either drawing train cars, staking a claim if you have the proper color and number of cars for the particular route, or drawing new destination tickets.

The goal of the game is to get the most points. You can gain points during the game by claiming track. At the end of the game you will also gain points for each completed ticket in your hand and possibly by having the longest route. You can also lose points at the end of the game for each ticket you failed to complete.

The game turns are fairly quick and smooth, although hey can tend to get a little monotonous. Also, whenever a player draws new destination tickets, there can be a pause that slows down the game before the next player gets their turn.

Another great addition to the game is a code to play online at Days of Wonder’s Web site. I like little extras like that.

Although the game can play 2-5, I think it is definitely lacking with 2. The 1910 expansion has some new ways to play that make it more fun with 2.

I feel that the gameplay deserves 8 out of 10 tickets.

Look and Feel- The game has beautiful board, although not completely geographically correct, but the straying from geography seems to be necessary for gameplay purposes.

The components are all fairly nice. The cards are on nice stock and have nice colorful illustrations. The only problem is the cards are small; the 1910 expansion has reprinted the cards full size though. The trains are plastic, which is alright, but wood could be nicer. The scoring tokens however are wood.

The look and feel of this game earns Ticket to Ride 8 out of 10 tickets.

Overall Score- 8 tickets out of 10

Final word- If you are looking for light euro-style game that can appeal to a non gamer, this game is for you. It’s mechanics are light enough to let new gamers in, but strong enough to keep hard core gamers interested. I would say Ticket to Ride is one of the best gateway games available right now.

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Professional Grader
Miniature Painter
56 of 63 gamers found this helpful
“"You choo choo choose me?" - Ralph Wiggum”

One of the most well known designer board games out there it has recently seen a huge influx of players with a very well done ios version of the game. The game turn consists of three simple choices. Pick up cards, play a train route by playing cards, or get more route cards. Its great because rounds go very quickly and no one feels left out. There is no direct interaction between players, but it is possible to block others from connecting routes.

The board is a good quality card stock and the cards are smaller than playing cards so small hands won’t have a problem. Days of wonder includes some extra trains of each color in case you lose some. Make sure to count out your trains before each game. The art throughout is wonderful, The trains themselves leave something to be desired, I would like to see wooden trains but thats nitpicking.

The base game uses a map of America which has about 40 cities on it. Connecting routes throughout the country is simple and resonates with most people as a traveling adventure. The small disconnect is that the players don’t have to connect the routes in sequence. This abstraction doesn’t distract from the enjoyment.

This game is for everybody. Really. I entertained three nephews ages 15, 16, and 18 recently. None of them gamers and they all had a great time. Families with children as young as 8 will have a great time with games lasting about 45 minutes. Even power gamers will enjoy it once in a while; there is light strategy based on your route cards and blocking the other players. For established gamers use it as a gateway for your friends you would like to engage in your hobby.


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