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"Which Ticket to Ride should I buy?" - A Guide

Max Lampinen
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"Which Ticket to Ride edition or map collection should I buy?"
This is a question you see a lot. Here's my brief answer, that's hopefully helpful to some. Personally I've solved the question by buying almost every version (excluding Deutschland and Anniversary), but that might not be the healthiest solution for everyone. You can also just buy versions that have countries that appeal to you (great tactic in theory, familiar or interesting countries do add to the fun for me), but due to different mechanics of different maps, it might end up in disappointment aswell.

I arrived here by accident, what's Ticket to Ride?
It's perhaps the greatest modern boardgame there is. Tabletop has nice playthrough:

There's also one for Ticket to Ride: Europe, you can find that yourself!

"I know what Ticket to Ride is, but I didn't know that there are MANY Ticket to Ride versions!?"
There are 5 big box Ticket to Ride editions (plus Deluxe edition of one of them) and 5 map collections.
The big boxes are, in order of release: Ticket to Ride, Ticket to Ride: Europe, Ticket to Ride: Märklin, Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries, Ticket to Ride: Deutschland, and deluxe version of the first (US): Ticket to Ride Anniversary Edition. Map collections are numbered in order of release from 1-5, and we fans of course hope that this information will be outdated in years to come and that there would be more to come. The big boxes come with everything you need to play, but you need one of the big box editions to play map collections (some restrictions apply, read on).

Do you want to own only one version of Ticket to Ride?
1. Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary
2. Ticket to Ride (tie, read long texts to decide)
2. Ticket to Ride: Europe (tie, read long texts to decide)

Do you intend to play with two players, three max.?
1. Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries
Consider expanding with Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland (The 2p highlight Switzerland also used to be available on its own, but it's very hard to find now, so it won't be cheaper for sure! Just go for the map collection: India is nice with two too, and all TTR maps do work with two, so don't be discouraged to buy other expansions aswell). You can also consider buying Ticket to Ride: Halloween Freighter to play expansion maps with 4, if you went with Nordic Countries but occasionally want four players.

Do you enjoy heavier games in general, and wish TTR was heavier too?
1. Ticket to Ride: Märklin
Consider expanding with:
1. Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania (you also must buy this to expand Märklin further, to get normal train deck, luckily it's also the best heavy expansion)
2. Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland

Do you want to play with six players?
Buy Ticket to Ride or Ticket to Ride: Europe and Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia

I already own a big box, what map collection next?
These are quick generalizations, for better look, read longer texts.
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia if you're interested in team variant.
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland if you're interested in playing with 2 or 3.
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 – The Heart of Africa if you want something new.
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland if you want something slightly heavier.
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania if you want something heavier.


Read more:

Ticket to Ride
This is the game that started it all. It has US map and all the cool elements that make Ticket to Ride fun. It's also the version you'll most likely encounter outside gamestores. I think it's the best big box version to start with especially if you or your group are new to boardgames. It's a versatile big box that works with 2-5 and comes with simplest ruleset. If you live in Germany, you could be interested in Zug um Zug: Deutschland instead.

Expansion: Ticket to Ride: USA 1910
If you've already bought Ticket to Ride and like it, you should consider this small expansion. It comes with 35 new tickets and a new bonus scoring card (most tickets completed instead of longest route) that add replayability. There are three new modes: new tickets only (same feel as normal game, but different routes), Big Cities (selected tickets, good for tighter 2p games) and Mega Game (everything mixed together). In my experience, Mega Game soon becomes the default way to play for most. With two players it can be nice to use the Big Cities mode separately. It may seem expensive, but that wasn't all: this expansion also comes with replacement deck for base game (bigger train cards, second set of base tickets).

Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary
This is deluxe version of basic Ticket to Ride that also includes 1910 right out of the box. If you're interested in US+expansion combination, I'd seriously consider this edition, as it's not much more expensive, but certainly more impressive. The trains are bigger than in other expansions so they won't fit expansion maps correctly. But if you a) want just one Ticket to Ride game in your collection or b) are willing to buy either Märklin or Europe before expanding with map collections, then I'd seriously consider this edition. Apparently the box doesn't include expansion rules, you can find them here: http://cdn1.daysofwonder.com/tickettoride/en/img/tt_1910_rul...

Ticket to Ride: Europe
Ticket to Ride: Europe is perhaps the second most popular big box edition. It has map of Europe and some new rules: tunnels and stations. Tunnels are routes that may require additional cards to complete (or not), they make the game more exciting and fun in my opinion. Stations allow you to use routes that others have built, at cost of victory points. It makes the game feel less aggressive, you'll never be fully blocked. Both are great additions. If you aren't completely new to boardgaming, this is perhaps the most lucrative big box to go for. Like US, it's a versatile big box for 2-5 players, and after the rules have been learned, perhaps even more familyfriendly than the base, thanks to stations.

Expansion: Ticket to Ride: Europa 1912
This expands Europe map same way 1910 expanded the US map. You'll get 46 new tickets that add three new modes: Europe Expanded (some new tickets), Mega Europe (all tickets) and Big Cities (selected tickets). As with 1910, you'll most likely find yourself going for Mega Europe most of the time, and Big Cities if you play with two, but the third mode is nice to have. Europe doesn't have replacement train deck, but instead comes with Warehouse & Depot variant, which I've personally played once. It's nice addition to have, but most people don't like it.

Ticket to Ride: Märklin
Somewhat divisive expansion. Passenger mechanic increases complexity and almost turns TTR into whole new game. As such, it's not the recommended big box to get as your first one, unless you're 100% sure that you enjoy heavier gameplay. Technically you can just leave passenger mechanic out, but tickets aren't balanced that way. The train deck is also different and not directly compatible with map expansions. However, with newest map collection (5) comes train deck with extra locomotives - buy that one and take the extras out and you can buy other map collections too. It's a nice deal, especially since 5th map collection is the one heavy gamers would be most interested in anyway. Märklin used to be something of a "deluxe edition", before Anniversary Edition came out - the train deck is beautiful, board not so much.. Märklin also has different player colours than earlier Ticket to Ride games. Update: Zug um Zug: Deutschland – Deutschland 1902 can technically be used with Märklin too,,as the map geometry is same as Deutschland. The new passenger system (Way better than Märklin one!! Like simplified Pennsylvania,smooth) blends in seamlessly, so do long routes (as they're dealt separately). If you sleeve new tickets, you can play Märklin without either passengers, and it gives basic Deutrschland feel. Remember to remove Märklin specific cards or just use train deck from another TTR if you own one, for balanced play.

Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries
This is easily the best Ticket to Ride version and one you should buy if you intend to play with only 2 or 3 players. Very tight and nice map with.. Nordic countries in it. Only 40 trains are used, but there are 5 extras, so it also works with any map collection, but again, it caps at 3. You can buy Ticket to Ride: Halloween Freighter to play expansion maps with four players. Noreic Countries also has different train colours than earlier Ticket to Ride games (purple, white).

Zug um Zug: Deutschland
If you live in Germany or otherwise prefer German maps, this might be nice alternative for basic Ticket to Ride. It's basically Märklin map without passengers and with different tickets. For others, it's generally not a good deal, as you'd have to order it from Germany and you should always find the US map cheaper. There's a new expansion Zug um Zug: Deutschland – Deutschland 1902 that adds new tickets and a passenger variant. I haven't played it or found more information, but when I have I'll update it. It does make Deutschland seem more lucrative for wider audience, as it now has something unique in it. Update: I bought it and heartily recommend it, the passenger mechanic is much smoother than Märklin one (but like simplified Pennsylvania) and new tickets are always great. If you own Märklin, you can trechnica!ly use the expansion with it too.

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 1 – Team Asia & Legendary Asia
First map collection has pretty basic Asian map, Legendary Asia. It's good for quicker games, as trains are spent faster. Real draw is the Team Asia variant, which is really funny partnership twist to TTR. It also allows 6 players (3 teams of two) to play. If partnership TTR sounds fun to you, and it should - it's implemented very well, consider this!

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 2 – India & Switzerland
Big draw of this expansion is Switzerland, which is the best expansion map for two or three players. It's the most sensible way to expand your Nordic Countries or make other big box more versatile. Switzerland adds country destinations, which is pretty cool addition. There's also India, which is pretty basic map that rewards you from making loops. Solid expansion.

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 3 – The Heart of Africa
This expansion disappointed many by only including one map. It's bit cheaper as a result though (or at least should be, blame your store if it isn't!). It introduces terrain mechanic, you can double value of your routes by playing correct terrain cards. It's pretty interesting mechanic, but also quite heavy and takes away from that TTR elegance we're used to. If you want to shake things up, it's a very good expansion to go with.

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 4 – Nederland
This expansion comes with just one map aswell, but again, it's bit cheaper and the map is more involved than past ones. Nederland adds money to TTR and yes, it's pretty much as fiddly as it sounds. You have to play bridge tolls to build routes - first player on double route pays to bank and second player to that first player (so he got away for free). It's a very nice map if you want something heavier.

Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania
If you want something even more involved, look no further. Fifth map collection adds the most "gamer-y" maps so far. Pennsylvania is like a mix of Union Pacific/Airlines Europe and Ticket to Ride, simple stock system if you aren't familiar with the games, and it's beautiful (at least this Airlines fan thinks so). UK turns the complexity to 11 with its technology system, where you spend locomotives to buy all sort of abilities and bonuses. This map collection also comes with new train deck (with additional locomotives), by removing the extras you'll have normal train deck to use with Pennsylvania or other maps, if your only big box is Märklin!


Digital
You can also play Ticket to Ride digitally. It's implemented very well. You can play on iPad, Android devices and Steam. Europe, Switzerland, India and Legendary Asia are available too, hopefully more to come. Highly recommended, especially if you have hard time finding real life partners, but be warned that after heavy online play you might start beating more casual players quite badly!

Promos & misc.
There are couple of smaller additions to your Ticket to Ride collection.
Ticket to Ride: Halloween Freighter adds Halloween-themed trains for one player to use. It's greatest use is that you can play expansion maps with four, even if your big box happens to be Nordic Countries. Technically you could try to play 5p maps with 6 too, but it doesn't really work. Ticket to Ride: Character Score Markers includes shaped scoring markers in all player colours (including Märklin, Nordic Countries, and even Halloween trains which weirdly don't come with one). Ticket to Ride: Alvin & Dexter adds some fantasy-flavored chaos to TTR. It's more strategic than it seems, really, but not something you want to add every game. If you own most of the other stuff, it's something to consider. Ticket to Ride: The Dice Expansion is quite widely hated addition, that replaces set collection with dice. Again, this is something to add to your collection, once you've bought everything else and want to add a twist. Ticket to Ride: Mystery Train Expansion is out of print promo that added special powers to ticket deck, it also came with 4 normal tickets, that are luckily included in USA 1910 (and Anniversary Edition). Ticket to Ride: Orient Express adds 7 new tickets to Europe (1 long, 6 basic). Ticket to Ride: The Card Game is completely separate game in TTR family. It doesn't feel much like TTR, it's more like TTR-themed Mamma Mia!. Liking TTR is no guarantee that you'll like it aswell, but if you like both memory games and TTR, it could be a game for you.


If you have something to add, feel free to comment!
And no matter which version you're playing, remember to have fun!
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