Chairman of the board: All aboard

Illustration by Ed Appleby
Illustration by Ed Appleby

‘Ticket to Ride’ board game review

By Ed Appleby, Illustrator


I hate transit. Nothing ever goes straight to where you’re heading and sometimes you have to take illogical routes to get to where you need to go. Now imagine that you can’t take the same route as any other commuter. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Ticket to Ride (2004) is a hand management and set collecting game for two to five players designed by Alan R. Moon and published by Days of Wonder. In the game, players collect sets of coloured cards in order to create train routes across a map, originally of the United States, but the series has expanded to include other countries and continents. Once one player runs out of train pieces, the game goes for one final round, and points are scored by completed tickets and routes.

The game is well-designed and extremely easy to learn and play. Competition can run high among routes, and, when blocked, there are always roundabout ways of getting to your destination. Strategy comes in both laying routes and choosing tickets, as you lose points for every route you cannot complete. It is a fun, low-risk, low-stress game with a lot of replay value, and makes a great starter game for anyone looking to get into board gaming.

And I thought it was just okay.

For years I have wanted to play Ticket to Ride, but every time a game was played among my friends I was usually in the middle of another game. Now that I have played it, I found it much less engaging than I had hoped. Perhaps it was the theme, or the extremely simple gameplay, but as a seasoned gamer I need a little more meat in my strategy games.

In the end, I think Ticket to Ride is a great game and ideal for newcomers, but it may not be for everyone.