Board Game Introduction - Ticket to Ride Series

You must be recommended to play Ticket to Ride when you just stepped into board game field. As a popular series, there are more than 10 different versions/expansions of Ticket to Ride being released in these 14 years. This article would give a brief introduction of most of the Ticket to Ride products and conclude the different features of each single one so it may give you some ideas of this game. Hopefully this article would help you when you choose your copy of Ticket to Ride.


Ticket to Ride (USA)


It was the first ever edition of Ticket to Ride and where all the stories began. I would like to call it Ticket to Ride USA because the map of this edition is actually the US map. As the base game of some later expansions, this version can be regarded as the most popular version of this series.


The game process is simple: each turn you either draw more cards, claim a route, or get additional Destination Tickets. The longer the routes, the more points they earn.


As a base game, it has the simplest rule among the whole series. You can play different strategies in this game to win. However, there are some deficiencies during the game play.

  • The lack of missions, especially long route cards. So after a few games, your opponent could block long route in advance.
  • The cards are too small so it does not feel that good when you hold or play them.


Ticket to Ride USA 1910


As a result, the expansion Ticket to Ride USA 1910 was released 2 years later and those two deficiencies mentioned above were addressed.


Ticket to Ride Europe

In 2005, Ticket of Ride Europe was released. More than just a new map, Ticket to Ride: Europe features brand new gameplay elements. First, the idea of ferries was introduced as there are water areas in the European map. Ferries require locomotive cards in order to claim them so locomotive cards become much more important. Then, the introduction of stations allows players to borrow other players’ route, which makes it more easily to build a complete route. Also the introduction of tunnels allows players to build more valuable routes in the mountain area of the central Europe. However, players need to take some risks which might cause your construction plan to be exposed to your opponents.


Ticket to Ride Europe is the most classic version for its proper difficulty and classic core gameplay process. 


Ticket to Ride Europa 1912

A new expansion Europa 1912 was added to Ticket to Ride Europe 4 years later, which brings a new mechanism: Warehouses & Depots. Throughout the game, each player's Warehouse will accumulate Train cards and those who have the foresight, clever timing, or just plain good fortune to build a route to a Depot can make off with a fistful of Train cards.


This mechanism can be integrated into any maps.


Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries

In 2007, Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries was designed and released worldwide. The game only allows 2-3 players and also there is no long route mission card and station in the game, which has a heavier focus on blocking your opponent and more aggressive play. Also some changes of mechanism make a perfect balance between different actions.


From this version, the designer put more effort on the art of tickets. All carriages on the ticket are covered with heavy snow, which create a cold Nordic countries atmosphere.


Ticket to Ride: Switzerland


In 2007, another expansion of Ticket to Ride was released. Ticket to Ride: Switzerland was created as an expansion map for the IOS version of Ticket to Ride and it was finally be produced because of its high popularity among Ticket to Ride fans. Like the map of Nordic Countries, Ticket to Ride: Switzerland is for 2-3 players, which makes the game more competitive.


From 2007, there are two big changes in this series: 1) the game become more strategic and competitive. 2) The map expansion was designed and successful.


Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia

In 2011, two new map collections were released. Team Asia becomes the first ever edition of Ticket to Ride that allows teamwork. However, the teammates are not allowed to communicate with each other verbally so it is important to let your teammates know about your plan and then they could give you support.


The gameplay in Legendary Asia map was quite classic. The main change in this set-up is that some of the routes through Asia are labeled mountain routes, with one or more spaces on the route bearing an X. Whenever a player claims one of these routes, she must place a train from her reserve in the Mountain Crossing area of the game board, earning two points for each such train but losing access to them for the rest of the game.


Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland


The second map collection released in 2011 is India. The designer got rid of those complicated rules such as ferries, tunnels and stations, etc.. However, in addition to scoring points for claiming routes and completing tickets, a player can also score points in two other ways. First, the player with the longest continuous path of trains receives a ten point bonus. Second, each player scores bonus points for connecting the cities on one or more tickets with two distinct routes. So the game experience was quite good because players do need to put more effort on designing and planning the route, which is how everyone falls in love with this game.


This game also contains the map of Switzerland (See the introduction above).



Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 – The Heart of Africa

In 2012, the adventures took place in Africa. There was nothing new in the gameplay but a new scoring system was introduced. This expansion introduces 45 new terrain cards, divided into three different terrain types. Players can draw terrain cards just like train cards and they may use these to double the value of the routes they claim, under certain conditions.


In my opinion, this expansion is not a worth-to-buy one. The strategy was seize the best timing to play terrain cards in order to get more scores but it seems that you cannot stop your opponent getting double score.


Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland

In 2013, Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland was released. The highlight of this version is the introduction of money, which makes this game more strategic. Players need to choose carefully between building your own route (earn more points from mission cards) and finishing your opponents’ routes (earn more bridge tolls).


From this expansion, the designer wanted to make this series more diverse, including the mechanics and scoring. Also 4-5 players can have a much better experience when you play this expansion.


Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania


In 2015, the most successful Ticket to Ride Map Collection was released.


The map of United Kingdom introduces the concept of technology, which makes the game into a new level. Players need to think about which technologies they want to develop first in order to make more advantages of it. The game is not only just about building up routes or planing which routes you gonna build up. Each player can have totally different strategies and focuses in the game. Also, blocking opponents’ routes becomes difficult as well because you cannot claim in some areas if you haven't developed specific technologies.


The map of Pennsylvania introduces a share mechanism. Each time that a player completes a route, they claim a share of one of the companies depicted next to that route. At the end of the game, whoever holds more shares of a company than all other players receives points as a reward. If you have good memorizing and calculating skills, you can estimate other players’ share points at the end of the game.


Also the artwork in this expansion is stunning. If you are a classic Ticket to Ride game lover and want to try some new in this series. This expansion is your no.1 choice.


Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails

Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails takes the familiar gameplay of Ticket to Ride and expands it across the globe — which means that you'll be moving across water, of course, and that's where the sails come in.


Some new elements have been introduced into the game: train and ship tokens, harbors, train and ship cards. It is quite good to see the designer still wants to modify the game and put some more design in it after 10 years since the 1st base game was released. Personally, I do not like this version. I still prefer train to be the main character in the series but water occupies over 70% of the map.


Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 6 – France & Old West

Personally I do not like the artwork of the map of France because all the train tracks are grey and also there are not too many details in the surrounding countries. The grey train tracks are actually the track beds. Multiple track beds on the game board overlap, and once a tile has placed on the board, any track beds crossed by this tile are off-limits and nothing can be built on them. At the end of the game, players score their tickets, with bonuses being awarded for longest continuous route and most tickets completed. This mode is quite interesting because players’ actions are more targeted.


In the Old West half of the expansion, 2-6 players start the game by choosing (in reverse player order) a starting location for one of their three city pieces. The first route that a player claims must have this city as one of the route's two endpoints, and each subsequent route claimed must connect to that player's existing network. This mechanism suits this map so well because players need to extend their routes gradually, which is similar to how old west of America was explored.


Ticket to Ride: Germany

This expansion is the combination of the German edition that has been released only in Germany and Austria and Ticket to Ride: Märklin. Passenger system and additional scoring method were introduced. These changes provides a total different game experience so it is a recommendation to be kept in your collections if you are a keen fan of Ticket to Ride.


Ticket to Ride: New York

The latest edition of Ticket to Ride shortens the playtime to 15 min. Instead of trains, players need to claim taxi route. The game is relatively fast and relaxing, which can be a good game to start off on a board game night.