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Ticket to Ride is a two to five player game designed by Alan Moon that was published by Days of Wonder in 2004. It is a set collection/hand management game that lasts about forty-five to sixty minutes. The game is suitable to both adults and children alike. To those who are interested, there's also a boat-load of expansions readily available for the game, as well as iOS and browser based implementations of the game.
Ticket to Ride is about building and completing routes on the game map (depending on which map you play with), and is as simple as a "train game" probably gets. It's also touted as one of the best gateway games.
I'll be doing something slightly different in this series of reviews, as instead of writing on how it compares to similar games in its genre, I'll replace that section with my five year-old daughter's thoughts on why she likes a certain game (paraphrased of course). It'll be written in a short Q & A style.
The game comes with a rulebook, five wooden tokens in different colors (one for each player), a lot of plastic trains in five different colors, a bunch of cards and a game board. The components are pictured below.
Picture Submitted By: Kobra1 || Taken From the BGG Database
The rulebook is very well-written, and you'll figure out how to play the game after just one read. The game boasts that it can be explained in three minutes, and the boast does stand true. The wooden tokens are of good quality. The plastic trains are very nice, as they are quite detailed (not model train detail, but the small details that were added are a nice touch) and quite sturdy. I specially like how they used vibrant colors for the trains and wooden tokens.
The cards (I'm pertaining to the older versions) are a tad small... standard euro game size, which I don't really like as it makes them a pain to hold on to. I hear that the expansions (and I think the newer version as well) uses bigger cards which is a big plus. Other than the size, the cards are of average quality and the information that they are meant to relay are printed in a nice and easily readable/identifiable format. The game board itself is very vibrant, colorful and detailed as well.
Overall, the quality of the components are well above average... as you would expect from a Days of Wonder production.
Set-up is extremely easy. After opening up the board and laying it down, each player takes their player token and places it on the score track, and then takes all trains of their color. Each player then receives three destination cards where they can choose to keep two destination cards or to keep all three. Five train cards are laid out beside the board face-up, while the rest are kept face-down in a deck beside the face-up cards. That's it, you're ready to play.
On a player's turn, he/she can choose to do one of three things. First, she can take two cards either from the face-up cards or the face-down stack or one from each. The only exception being if a player takes a rainbow/wild train card from the face-up pile, that's the only card he/she may draw this turn.
Second, the player can draw three destination cards and keep anywhere from one to three cards.
Lastly, the players can lay down their trains on the board. To do so, you play a certain number of cards equivalent to the number of train spaces on the track where you want to lay down your trains. If the track where you want to lay down your trains is gray colored, that means you can use any one color to do so. If it's a specific color, then you must use that color to do so. For example, if I'm going to lay down my trains on a red track with four train spaces, then I'll have to be able to play four red cards (or a combination of red and wild cards [or purely wild cards]) to do so.
Picture Submitted By: Brian Schubert || Taken From the BGG Database
Players are trying to fulfill the conditions set by their destination cards (i.e. Los Angeles to Houston, etc.), because they score these cards at the end of the game, and are penalized for any unfulfilled destination cards. The players also score a certain number of points based on the number of trains they lay down.
The game continues until one player has two or fewer trains left, upon which everyone gets one final turn and the game is over. Final scoring is tabulated, and the one with the highest points is declared the winner.
Q & A W/ MY DAUGHTER:
Q: Why do you like this game Kashieu (pronounced cashew)?
A: I like forming routes using my train and seeing if I can put all my trains together in one long route while still connecting to all my destinations.
Q: What do you think of the components?
A: They're really nice daddy. I like how colorful everything is. I also like the plastic trains!
Q: Did you find it hard to understand how to play the game?
A: No, it was very easy.
Q: Does the game frustrate you?
A: Sometimes it does, when someone blocks my route(s).
Ticket to Ride was one of MY gateway games, and I'm very happy that my five year old daughter has taken a liking to it as well. I'm impressed at how well she's playing it and how the rules have become very intuitive and second nature for her. A shout-out to my friends who recommended Ticket to Ride as a game I can play with my daughter as she was finding some of the other games we played together a tad too easy (i.e. Gulo Gulo, Ladybug Costume Party, etc.) though she still clamors for them occasionally.
I heartily recommend this game to kids and to families, and my daughter wholeheartedly agrees with me.