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    Review: Ticket to Ride Europe

    February 4, 2015

    Ticket to Ride is an entry-level Eurogame about resource management, objective prioritization, and figuring out your opponents’ hidden objectives. Players are contracted to connect strings of cities throughout Eurasia by an expansive network of railroads. Each player builds his own rail lines on a limited number of contracted routes, forcing contestants to generate and spend resources and to devise building plans without letting on his ultimate objectives.

    Two to five players take turns making simple choices with complex consequences, either gathering resources, laying down tracks, or drawing new route plans. Resources take the form of train cars in one of seven different colors, plus the addition of valuable wild cards, which can be used as any color. These colors correspond to the routes printed on the game board, which link cities together. The ultimate goal for the players is to link as many cities as possible, which in turn fulfills the secret route plans drawn at the beginning of the game.

    Each turn offers players a simple choice of one action: gather, build, or draw route cards. If a player gathers, she may take two resources from those face-up in the “railyard”, or she may try her luck drawing from the top of the face-down deck. If a player builds, he may lay down tracks on the board by spending a number of resources equal to the length of track to be built, matching the same color as shown on that track. Points are scored for each track that is built (the longer the better), but the majority of points come from completing the objective route cards each player is given at the start of the game. As a third turn option, a player may always draw a new route card. But don’t overcommit – unfinished route cards are subtracted from each player’s total score at the end of the game!

    To succeed at Ticket to Ride, players must carefully plan their routes all the while managing their resources used to build those routes. Keeping one’s aims secret is a must, for opponents can swoop in and take the most efficient routes if they are not claimed quickly. Some players even create strategies to disrupt their rivals’ routes, bleeding resources dry and creating more opportunities for themselves in the long-game.

    For such a simple premise, Ticket to Ride offers complex strategy and demands that players adapt to the changing board as their opponents become more established. The game excels at being very accessible to folks who don’t have extensive experience with board games, making it perfect for family gatherings and casual game nights. There is a huge family of TTR boards and maps available from Days of Wonder, and a number of base sets that all play very differently with the same set of basic rules. If you don’t want to build Europe’s mighty railways, you can give America a shot – or maybe Asia, or the Netherlands. So go forth and build your railroad empire wherever you like!
     

    -Jake

     
    If you like: Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Dominion
    You’d definitely enjoy: Ticket to Ride Europe
    MRP: $50.00
    Designer: Alan R. Moon
    Produced by: Days of Wonder