Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Ticket to Ride

Game– Ticket to Ride

Producer-Days of Wonder

Price– $35-45

TL;DR– Theme doesn’t stop this train! 92.5%

 

Basics– Around America in seven days!  In Ticket to Ride, you play one of five different friends who are obsessed with  Phileas Fogg, the man who went around the world in 80 days.  Based on Fogg’s story, the players make a one million dollar bet to see who can make it to the most cities in seven days.  In the game, players can do one of three different things on their turn to travel across America:  collect tickets, collect routes, or spend tickets to travel.  When a player collects tickets, they draw one or two tickets.  These tickets can be one of five revealed tickets or from the draw pile.  If a player draws a wild card from the revealed tickets that is the only ticket they can draw that turn.  When a player collects routes, they draw three routes and must keep one.  Routes are worth positive points if a player has connected the cities on the card at the end of the game, but, the card could be worth negative points if the player does not complete the route.  The last action a player can do is spending tickets to place trains on the board.  To place trains on a path on the board, a player must spend enough tickets of the same color as the path.  Some paths are gray and allow the player to spend any color ticket as long as they spend the same color tickets.  Each time a player places trains on the board, they earn points based on how long the path is.  Play continues until one player has two or less trains in reserve.  Then all players get one last turn, and then the game is over.  After counting points from route cards the player with the most points wins!

 

Theme-I’ll be honest.  I’ve played this game a lot, but, I didn’t read the story until I finally bought the game.  The story reinforces the theme decently and helps makes the title “Ticket to Ride” make sense.  Some of the mechanics don’t quite reinforce the theme as once you have a route it doesn’t leave the board.  Do you get to keep the tickets you have for that route in the game?  Do you get to keep riding the trains for free?  Why can’t other players ride the same train as me?  It’s not perfect, but I do feel like I’m busy trying to make it across America as fast as I can. 3.5/5

 

Mechanics-Ticket to Ride has some of the slickest mechanics out there.  My simple summary above is almost all the rules you need to play the game.  The game is quick, fun, and family friendly for almost all ages.  Even though the game doesn’t have the insane depth of some other games, a surprising amount of strategy emerges in this game.  Since goals are secrete, you never know when your best laid plans will go up in smoke.  That tension is amazing for a simple game. 5/5

 

Instructions-The instructions are four pages.  Not four pages front and back, two pages front and back.  Since the rules are not complex, the rules don’t need an epic to teach the players.  I do like the art and pictures that help to teach how to play.  Brevity is the height of wit with these rules. 5/5

 

Execution-The box is nice and hardy.  The path indicators are cute plastic trains that are a nice addition to the game.  The board has a nice layout and is easy to read.  AND, I know the Days of Wonder LOVES me since the game comes with plastic bags for each player’s components.  I absolutely love when a company does that! 5/5

 

Summary-I love this game.  It’s quick, family friendly, and always good to see making it to the table.  The theme is slightly off, but the mechanics, instructions, and execution of the game make up for that hands down.  Really worth trying if you get the chance. 92.5%

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