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Read the original strategy guide (with pictures) at:
http://www.boardgamemaniac.com/articles/Ticket-to-Ride-Europ...

"Ticket to Ride" by Alan R. Moon is one of the most popular family games since it was first published back in 2004. Along the years several expansions and other versions of the game have been published, introducing new maps and new challenges. This guide will focus on the Ticket to Ride: Europe version that offers some twists to the basic mechanics of the game and of course a wonderful map of Europe.

Ticket to Ride: Europe new features

For those of you who are not quite familiar with the differences between the original Ticket to Ride and the Europe version, here is a short reminder of the new features introduced in Ticket to Ride: Europe.

Ferries: To claim a Ferry Route, a player must play a Locomotive card for each Locomotive symbol on the route, and the usual set of cards of the proper color for the remaining spaces of that Ferry Route.
Tunnels: When you venture into a tunnel, you risk a potential cave-in, so each time you play cards for a tunnel route, the top three train cards from the draw pile will be revealed, and each match with the cards just played will force you to pony up one more card to complete the set, or pass your turn.
Train Stations: A fourth possible action in your game turn, the train stations can be built on any empty city, to gain access to one route of another player's network at game end, for the purpose of completing your Destination Tickets. Train Stations are quite useful when you're stuck on a dead track, especially on the congested railways of Western Europe. Each train station kept in reserve at game end is worth 4 victory points.

And now on with our guide! I'll start by giving you some general tips about various elements of the game and then continue with a discussion on specific strategies you can follow.

Picking initial tickets
At the start of the game you will presented with an important decision. What tickets to pick? You are dealt one long route and 3 regular ones and you must pick at least two of them. It's not necessary that you pick the long route however it's the common thing to do, considering the huge amount of points it can earn you. This is the easy choice, but what about the other tickets? Most commonly, among the regular tickets you are dealt, you can find one or more that fall geographically within the area you could possibly cross to complete your long route. Picking such a ticket helps you complete your long route by not necessarily choosing the shortest path. There are two advantages to that: First, by following the path of the regular ticket but secretly using it to also complete your big one, you can hide the identity of your long route for quite a while thus avoiding being blocked by your opponents. Secondly, you create a longer path between the cities of your long route, having this way the chance to go for the European Express Bonus.
Another case might be that you are dealt regular tickets that expand your long route. That is also a good option as it will also allow you to have a good chance of earning the European Express Bonus. In this case you must follow the shortest path to complete your long routes so that you will have enough train cars to expand it.
In a worst case scenario you will have no tickets that can be combined with your long route. In such a case, pick the one that grants the fewest points and pick some new tickets the soonest possible. If you fail to complete your first regular ticket, you will only lose a few points.

Drawing train cards: From where?
In the first few turns, when you can make use of almost any colour of train cards, it is wiser to pick from the stack of face-down cards. This way, you have the chance of drawing locomotives for free, that is avoiding the penalty of drawing only one card if you choose to pick a locomotive from the face-up cards. The same tactic applies to each occasion there are no cards that suit your needs among the face-up cards.

Where to start from?
At the beginning of the game you start out with a few tickets and a completely empty map. In theory, you could start building your routes from any city you plan to cross. However there are some things to consider upon choosing which routes to claim first.
Many routes are single which means that only one player can claim them. If someone claims a route that you need, you will be obliged to take a longer route to complete your ticket or maybe build a station to use an opponent's route. Your goal must always be to use the fewest number of stations, preferably zero. Stations subtract points from your score and break your longest route so they must only be used as a last resort if you want to avoid losing points for not having completed a ticket. Therefore single routes where you plan to pass must always be your first priority especially those in western Europe , an area that tends to be pretty congested. By claiming them first, you not only fulfil your plans but ruin your opponents' plans too by forcing them to build a station if they want to use your route.
Avoid starting from a city located at the start or end of your tickets so you can hide your plans from opponents. There are only 6 long routes in the game and most players know them by heart. This is what you should do too. By knowing what the long routes are, when a player develops a route beginning from the start or end of it, then you can automatically tell which long route he has and plan accordingly. By beginning somewhere in the middle of the route no one will really know where you are heading, at least not from the start of the game. Pursue to follow alternative paths for fulfilling your long route and not those who could easily betray your plans. It's not necessary to take the shortest path between the cities of your tickets, which brings us to the next important issue.

The long routes
In Ticket to Ride: Europe there are 3 distinguishable routes longer than others. These are:
Stockholm - Petrograd: 8-piece tunnel route
Budapest - Kiev: 6-piece tunnel route
Palermo - Smyrna: 6-piece ferrie route
6-piece routes earn you 15 points whereas the 8-piece one will earn you 21 points. That is about the points you will get by completing a long destination ticket. Claiming at least one of the above routes can give you a great boost in points. You should choose to take one of these routes especially if you have a long destination ticket to complete in the nearby are e.g you can go for the Stockholm - Petrograd tunnel if you have the long tickets "Brest-Petrograd" or "Cadiz-Stockholm" and you can go for the "Palermo-Smyrna" if you have "Athina-Edinburgh". In order to be the first one to claim one of these routes, you must start collecting train cards for them right from the start of the game. Go for a color that you have some of in your starting hand, or many copies of it are revealed in the face-up cards and see that other players don't pick. This way you will have a better chance to gather the cards needed before your opponents do. Going for these routes slows you down at the start of the game but the points you get are really worth it. While you are gathering cards for one of these long routes, don't lose focus of your main goal: Locate the key routes you need for your tickets and try to claim them as soon as you can.

Which route to claim?
The routes that must be your priority are single routes and routes that have high competition. If an opponent starts claiming routes around the area that interests you, that is a signal that you should focus in that area.

Draw cards or claim a route?
Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation where you will have acquired the necessary cards to claim a route but there will also be a card or maybe more you want to take from the face-up cards so you are confronted by this dilemma: Draw the cards or claim the route? Well, the right answer depends on the situation. If the route you are ready to claim is a crucial one, e.g. one that you think your opponents want too, then you must claim it while you have the chance. If the route is less significant and you need the card(s) to be able to claim soon a route with high competition, then you should choose to draw.

How many tickets to pick: A matter of strategy
In Ticket to Ride: Europe you are dealt one long destination ticket and three regular ones at the start of the game, from which you are obliged to keep at least two. Further acquiring of tickets is up to the players. According to the particular situation, there are two approaches of handling the game:

Strategy 1:
The more tickets the better
At the start of the game you pick the long ticket and all others contained within it or alternatively expanding it. As soon as you don't have an obvious pick from the face-up cards, you draw more tickets and try to keep as many of them as you can. You want to avoid losing many turns for drawing tickets. It's important that you start drawing extra tickets early on, in order to be able to secure key routes for them (mostly single routes that may interest your opponents too). Pick the tickets that are quicker to complete, always having in mind the possibility to build the longest route. Draw more tickets as soon as you have secured the key routes for the ones you have. It is important that in order to complete each ticket, you choose the quickest route possible. This way tickets will be completed fast and allow you to focus on the next ones. As the game progresses, picking new tickets becomes more and more risky because key routes will already be claimed and options for alternative paths will be limited. Towards the end of the game, picking new tickets becomes favorable again because you will have built an extended network of routes, increasing the chances that you draw an already completed route or a route that requires little effort to be completed. When you pick new tickets towards the end of the game you must always ask yourself two things:
1. Do I have enough time left to complete another ticket? I always avoid to draw tickets when an opponent has 6 or fewer train cars left or I only have few cards in my hand. That is because I will probably draw a ticket that requires one or two routes to be build in order to complete it and I may not have that much time. The opponent with 6 train cars left, may claim a 4-train route during his next turn and be left with only 2 train cars which means that every player will have only one more turn to play. Moreover if you have few train cards, you will need more time to find the cards of the specific color that will complete your ticket.
2. Do you have enough train cars?
This is a strategy that I don't choose often because drawing tickets always includes some risk and it's easy to backfire. You may not draw any tickets that suit you and ultimately lose points by that. Of course you might also pick a route or two that you have already completed or that take only a route or two to complete, which is the ideal case.
When to go for a lot of tickets:
If you manage to claim all the important routes for your tickets early. You can leave routes that you see you will not have competition, for later on and pick new tickets.
If you are feeling lucky.
Strategy 2:
Ignore tickets after the initial draw and go for long routes
Many people don't realize that right from the start, but yes it's true: You can win games by taking at least 2 tickets at the start, completing them and then ignoring tickets completely. Tickets are a bit tricky concept in the game. Most of them can earn you 5-8 points but remember that a single 4-train route will earn you 7 points. The more cards you use for a route the better points you get. If you claim two 2-train routes, you get only 4 points whereas claiming a 4-train route earns you 7 points using a single turn. Having that in mind, you can choose to claim long routes and also aim to earn the European Express bonus, a strategy which can earn you more points from placing trains than extra tickets would. The goal of claiming the longest route is important because apart from giving you 10 points, these are denied to another player. This strategy can be implemented in the following way:
1. Pick your first tickets: The long one and others that are contained within it, even if they make the trip to complete your large ticket longer (remember that doesn't bother you because you go for the longest route). If there aren't any regular tickets to pick, located in an appropriate location within your long route, pick a ticket that expands your main ticket which also helps your strategy.
2. In order to complete your tickets try to go for the routes that earn you the most points, that is the longer ones but pay close attention to the number of train cars in your reserve. You have a limited amount of trains and if you delay too much you may end up failing to complete your long ticket.
3. After completing your initial tickets, just go on expanding your longest route by claiming more long routes. This way you score big points to compensate for not taking more tickets.

There are two advantage in this strategy:
a. You don't rely on tickets. Picking up tickets during the game entails the danger of drawing tickets that don't suit you e.g. are far away from your existing routes. In that case you will have lost a turn to draw the tickets and probably will be penalized for not able to complete them.
b. There is a big chance that you are the player who finishes the game because you don't lose turns picking tickets, you place more train cars per turn and you can choose to expand your main route in many ways, which gives you more options and makes you versatile regarding train cards needed. By finishing first you will have probably placed more train cars than your opponents, you will have gathered more points from claiming bigger routes and there is a chance that your opponents won't have finished their tickets.
Sometimes, in the course of the game, you may find yourself in the awkward situation in which an opponent claims a route you absolutely needed in order to complete your long route and there is no other way to go. In that case you are obliged to build a station and you can no longer claim the longest route, because your route is interrupted. In this case you will need a plan-B strategy. A viable solution, if it's not too late, is to switch to strategy 1 and draw more tickets in order to make up for that loss.

I hope that this strategy guide will make you understand the game better, shed new light on several aspects of it and ultimately help you become a better "Ticket to Ride: Europe" player. Feel free to make any comments and share your ideas about successfully playing this wonderful game!
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A nice SG for this ol' standard, the game which really puts the "Euro" in Eurogame! I do have a couple of quibbles.

Picking initial tickets: Add to this, start now thinking about how many locos you need to complete your tickets. Remember that you may need to take a longer way around if one of your connections get stolen. Never plan to need more than 40 locos until later in the game.

Drawing Train Card: From Where?: All good, although, as you mentioned later, when there are no helpful train cards, you may consider taking that turn to take extra tickets. Another tactic you can use here is to accept the one card penalty and grab a loco. This is only good if you actually need the loco.

Where to start from?: This is where we really part ways. I believe you (and, to be fair, many perfectly good TTR players) place too much emphasis on hiding the endpoints of your long route and grabbing potentially contested connections. The problem with this is that by grabbing non-continuous connections you make the chance of being blocked at a crucial point much greater. Knowing your endpoints gives only limited information about the in-between connections needed, especially when following your excellent advice to integrate initial short tickets into your long route. On the other hand, in order to complete your long route, you must eventually connect your early connections together. While guessing your long route gives general information as to where you can be blocked, gaps between your already-built connections give very specific information as to where you can be blocked. In my experience, the only time good players block connections they do not need themselves is when they see an obvious gap and happen to have the needed cards to fill it. My advice is to figure out one continuous route for your initial tickets, start at one end of it and build in a continuous line. If you do not see your connections being "threatened" by opponents nearby lines, hold the cards you need in your hand and try to build on consecutive turns to deny your opponents the chance to block your egress from each city as you come to it.

Which Routes to Claim?: See above.

Draw card or Claim Route?: As mentioned, always draw cards unless/until you have all the cards you need or see a danger of being blocked.

How Many tickets to Draw?: I really do not think #2 is a viable strategy. For one thing, you cannot simultaneously obtain cards you need for all three long routes, so you can only be reasonably sure of finishing one of them first. For another, the net value of the long connection is much smaller than you realize. The 21 pt. eight loco route is worth a womping 13 pts. more than 4 two-length connections, but only 7 more than 2 four-length connections. So, the value-added of the longest route is about one average-to-large ticket, the value added for the 6-length connections is even smaller. This negates advantage "a." Advantage "b" does not exist. It is harder to get eight locos of one color than four in each of two. You will not run out of locos faster unless you are quite lucky. In my experience of about a hundred games played against a large number of players, I have never seen a game won by someone taking the long connections unless they were also needed to finish tickets.

There is another way of thinking about the number of tickets problem. Essentially, the two possible strategies are: The Northwest Strategy and the Southeast Strategy. Basically, your initial tickets will tell you whether you will be building mostly in crowded, short-connection filled Western/Northern Europe or Southern/Eastern Europe where there are fewer cities and a preponderance of longer (4+) connections. Basically, this decision "chooses" your ticket taking strategy for you. If you are in the East, aim to incorporate a long connection or two, avoid the 1 and 2 length ones as much as possible and do not draw too many tickets. With your overall higher points/loco you only need 4 or 5 tickets to win assuming one is a long ticket, especially if you keep everything connected together in an effort to get the European Express bonus. Note that if you have a long route which starts in Western Europe, grab those connections first. Since you are not holding Western tickets you must assume others are.

On the other hand, if you have to get in and out of places like London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Bruxelles and Lisboa, you are going to need more tickets. You should take them early and often. Accept almost all the Western European tickets. Assume that you are going to need to use some of your stations. You will need to complete at least six, but more likely seven or eight tickets to win.

Overall, the Western strategy is much, much stronger. By knitting many cities together into a continuous chain, you are far more likely to draw already-completed tickets. You are almost certain to get tickets which can be completed by adding a single, short route. Because there are more cities in Western than in Eastern Europe, there are more tickets with both end-points on that side of them map. Also for this reason, if you have to enter the other part of the map it is generally easier to make your way from West to East than the other way. Finally, building in the West has an implied card drawing advantage: For most of the game you will need small numbers of all or nearly all the colors. This allows you to use random draws more with the hope of "free" locomotive cards.
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TerrapinStation wrote:
In my experience of about a hundred games played against a large number of players, I have never seen a game won by someone taking the long connections unless they were also needed to finish tickets.

That's odd.

We have a friend who is insanely good with complex math and statistics. He's pointed out that the point values for the 6-car and 8-car tracks are worth far more than they should be.

Not only do you get a lot of points for them, but they give you Turn Advantage: claiming two 4-car tracks costs 2 turns, but claiming one 8-car track takes only 1 turn. Not only do you have a massive point advantage by claiming the 8-car track, you also get to effectively take an extra turn.

He showed how pulling tickets is a massive disadvantage, because you're losing 1 turn to gamble on gaining typically 5 to 8 points. (I was schooled hard in one game where I successfully claimed 8 routes with no failures, yet still lost to him by over 30 points -- someone else had even claimed the longest route.) He only needed to look at all the ticket cards and stare at the board for like 30 minutes to math that out.

Ultimately, the most reliable strategy is to get rid of your cars as fast as possible, by claiming long tracks. This give you Turn Advantage. Players who focus on Western Europe will be stuck with 5 - 15 unplayed cars, which costs them up to about 40 points, plus they'll frequently be stuck with failed tickets, which costs them even more points. It's also very easy to get 6 or 8 of a specific color (plus a few locomotives) because there's 5 cards visible at all times, meaning you can collect 3 or 4 different colors and one of them will almost always hit 8 colors in less than 15 turns. The odds are incredibly low that you'll need more than 2 extra cards for a tunnel.

If I recall correctly, it takes a minimum of 32 turns to reach the endgame state. The maximum score from claiming tracks this way is 97 points, whereas a player who focuses on Western Europe is going to get about 40 - 60 points from tracks, depending on how lucky they were. There's no way for the Western Europe player to compete with the player(s) who claim long tracks, because the Western Europe player is losing turns from claiming tracks and drawing tickets. (On top of that, there's a VERY finite number of turns that can be spent drawing tickets. If there's a close lead for 1st place between a Western and Eastern player, a player who isn't going to win can play kingmaker by simply spending turns drawing tickets, denying the Western player from ever having a chance of competing.)

The European Express bonus is nice, but rather negligible due to its small point value. Using a Station comes at a massive disadvantage -- you lose points, turns, and chances to play cars. He also noted a few cities that are practically worthless for tickets, meaning you can wait until later to claim their routes to spend all your cars.

With that said, the most optimal strategy is:

1) At the beginning of the game, dump any Western Europe tickets.
2) Claim the 8-car track and any viable 6-car tracks.
3) Complete your routes.
4) Get down to 2 cars left as fast as possible by claiming 4-car tracks.

There's no way to metagame this strategy. Even if 4 players focus on Eastern Europe and one player focuses on Western Europe, one of the Eastern players will claim the 8-car track and others will claim the two 6-car tracks, and lots of the 4-car tracks will be taken, too. The Western player still doesn't have a chance at competing because of the simple fact that the Western strategy requires more turns than the Eastern strategy, and is therefore always sub-optimal.

With that being said, don't play Ticket to Ride: Europe with competitive players; it's repetitive and not fun. Keep it to the casuals who just find it fun to complete their routes.

TerrapinStation wrote:
Finally, building in the West has an implied card drawing advantage: For most of the game you will need small numbers of all or nearly all the colors. This allows you to use random draws more with the hope of "free" locomotive cards.

Unfortunately, this isn't true. In Ticket to Ride, turn advantage is more important than card advantage.
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Hierose wrote:
TerrapinStation wrote:
In my experience of about a hundred games played against a large number of players, I have never seen a game won by someone taking the long connections unless they were also needed to finish tickets.

That's odd.

We have a friend who is insanely good with complex math and statistics. He's pointed out that the point values for the 6-car and 8-car tracks are worth far more than they should be.

Not only do you get a lot of points for them, but they give you Turn Advantage: claiming two 4-car tracks costs 2 turns, but claiming one 8-car track takes only 1 turn. Not only do you have a massive point advantage by claiming the 8-car track, you also get to effectively take an extra turn.
[/q]Not arguing what's presented, but it doesn't take into account how in order to complete an 8-length route, it's much harder to get 8 of the same color train cards or its equivalent. It may take 2 turns to claim two 4-length routes, but unless you're lucky, it's at least twice as fast to get the train cards for them.


Hierose wrote:
He showed how pulling tickets is a massive disadvantage, because you're losing 1 turn to gamble on gaining typically 5 to 8 points. (I was schooled hard in one game where I successfully claimed 8 routes with no failures, yet still lost to him by over 30 points -- someone else had even claimed the longest route.) He only needed to look at all the ticket cards and stare at the board for like 30 minutes to math that out.
The Dticks go to 14pts IIRC. Perhaps 18? The "long ones" are 18 to 21pts IIRC. It's not a bad idea to see if you can complete one of those, as that's non-trivial.

Hierose wrote:
Ultimately, the most reliable strategy is to get rid of your cars as fast as possible, by claiming long tracks. This give you Turn Advantage. Players who focus on Western Europe will be stuck with 5 - 15 unplayed cars, which costs them up to about 40 points, plus they'll frequently be stuck with failed tickets, which costs them even more points. It's also very easy to get 6 or 8 of a specific color (plus a few locomotives) because there's 5 cards visible at all times, meaning you can collect 3 or 4 different colors and one of them will almost always hit 8 colors in less than 15 turns. The odds are incredibly low that you'll need more than 2 extra cards for a tunnel.

If I recall correctly, it takes a minimum of 32 turns to reach the endgame state. The maximum score from claiming tracks this way is 97 points, whereas a player who focuses on Western Europe is going to get about 40 - 60 points from tracks, depending on how lucky they were. There's no way for the Western Europe player to compete with the player(s) who claim long tracks, because the Western Europe player is losing turns from claiming tracks and drawing tickets. (On top of that, there's a VERY finite number of turns that can be spent drawing tickets. If there's a close lead for 1st place between a Western and Eastern player, a player who isn't going to win can play kingmaker by simply spending turns drawing tickets, denying the Western player from ever having a chance of competing.)

The European Express bonus is nice, but rather negligible due to its small point value. Using a Station comes at a massive disadvantage -- you lose points, turns, and chances to play cars. He also noted a few cities that are practically worthless for tickets, meaning you can wait until later to claim their routes to spend all your cars.

With that said, the most optimal strategy is:

1) At the beginning of the game, dump any Western Europe tickets.
2) Claim the 8-car track and any viable 6-car tracks.
3) Complete your routes.
4) Get down to 2 cars left as fast as possible by claiming 4-car tracks.
If multiple players go for #2, you're hosed.
 
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Hierose wrote:
With that said, the most optimal strategy is:

1) At the beginning of the game, dump any Western Europe tickets.
2) Claim the 8-car track and any viable 6-car tracks.
3) Complete your routes.
4) Get down to 2 cars left as fast as possible by claiming 4-car tracks.

I just played 5 games in a row using that and only that strategy. 3 with computer and 2 with players with long history. All 5 times won. Even though, that last opponent claimed 8-car track before me.

First I thought that this game can be quite challenging. And it would be a little, if not this forum.
Now I know that I will miss very soon a Windows or an Android implementation of the Settlers of Catan as good as Ticket to Ride.
 
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Hierose wrote:


We have a friend who is insanely good with complex math and statistics. He's pointed out that [b]the point values for the 6-car and 8-car tracks are worth far more than they should be.


If this is true has anyone house-ruled the points awarded for these long routes? What did you do?
 
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I set them as 10 and 13 respectively, but that is just guesswork and we haven't played many games since doing that. It became obvious that they were too valuable when the person who got them won every single time. Then it just became a race to see who could collect enough tickets of one colour before everyone else.
 
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Hierose wrote:
With that said, the most optimal strategy is:
1) At the beginning of the game, dump any Western Europe tickets.
2) Claim the 8-car track and any viable 6-car tracks.
3) Complete your routes.
4) Get down to 2 cars left as fast as possible by claiming 4-car tracks.

Won two games in a row at the 'Malmö TTR:E Championship' this weekend, which netted me a full win of the tournament and a nice prize in form of a copy of 'TTR: 10th Anniversary'.
The first game was kind of tight since I had lousy tickets from the start giving me only 9 points total I think.
The second game I got a long ticket that suited me fine (Moscow - Palermo) and in that game I won with a big lead.

Now, the other player didn't use the same strategy, so I'm not sure how well it works if another player does the same. Being the only one running the strategy seems to work mighty fine though. whistle
 
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Hierose wrote:
TerrapinStation wrote:
In my experience of about a hundred games played against a large number of players, I have never seen a game won by someone taking the long connections unless they were also needed to finish tickets.

That's odd.

We have a friend who is insanely good with complex math and statistics. He's pointed out that the point values for the 6-car and 8-car tracks are worth far more than they should be.

Not only do you get a lot of points for them, but they give you Turn Advantage: claiming two 4-car tracks costs 2 turns, but claiming one 8-car track takes only 1 turn. Not only do you have a massive point advantage by claiming the 8-car track, you also get to effectively take an extra turn.

He showed how pulling tickets is a massive disadvantage, because you're losing 1 turn to gamble on gaining typically 5 to 8 points. (I was schooled hard in one game where I successfully claimed 8 routes with no failures, yet still lost to him by over 30 points -- someone else had even claimed the longest route.) He only needed to look at all the ticket cards and stare at the board for like 30 minutes to math that out.

Ultimately, the most reliable strategy is to get rid of your cars as fast as possible, by claiming long tracks. This give you Turn Advantage. Players who focus on Western Europe will be stuck with 5 - 15 unplayed cars, which costs them up to about 40 points, plus they'll frequently be stuck with failed tickets, which costs them even more points. It's also very easy to get 6 or 8 of a specific color (plus a few locomotives) because there's 5 cards visible at all times, meaning you can collect 3 or 4 different colors and one of them will almost always hit 8 colors in less than 15 turns. The odds are incredibly low that you'll need more than 2 extra cards for a tunnel.

If I recall correctly, it takes a minimum of 32 turns to reach the endgame state. The maximum score from claiming tracks this way is 97 points, whereas a player who focuses on Western Europe is going to get about 40 - 60 points from tracks, depending on how lucky they were. There's no way for the Western Europe player to compete with the player(s) who claim long tracks, because the Western Europe player is losing turns from claiming tracks and drawing tickets. (On top of that, there's a VERY finite number of turns that can be spent drawing tickets. If there's a close lead for 1st place between a Western and Eastern player, a player who isn't going to win can play kingmaker by simply spending turns drawing tickets, denying the Western player from ever having a chance of competing.)

The European Express bonus is nice, but rather negligible due to its small point value. Using a Station comes at a massive disadvantage -- you lose points, turns, and chances to play cars. He also noted a few cities that are practically worthless for tickets, meaning you can wait until later to claim their routes to spend all your cars.

With that said, the most optimal strategy is:

1) At the beginning of the game, dump any Western Europe tickets.
2) Claim the 8-car track and any viable 6-car tracks.
3) Complete your routes.
4) Get down to 2 cars left as fast as possible by claiming 4-car tracks.

There's no way to metagame this strategy. Even if 4 players focus on Eastern Europe and one player focuses on Western Europe, one of the Eastern players will claim the 8-car track and others will claim the two 6-car tracks, and lots of the 4-car tracks will be taken, too. The Western player still doesn't have a chance at competing because of the simple fact that the Western strategy requires more turns than the Eastern strategy, and is therefore always sub-optimal.

With that being said, don't play Ticket to Ride: Europe with competitive players; it's repetitive and not fun. Keep it to the casuals who just find it fun to complete their routes.

TerrapinStation wrote:
Finally, building in the West has an implied card drawing advantage: For most of the game you will need small numbers of all or nearly all the colors. This allows you to use random draws more with the hope of "free" locomotive cards.

Unfortunately, this isn't true. In Ticket to Ride, turn advantage is more important than card advantage.


Your friend is good at math (maybe) but bad at assumptions. He failed to take into account the fact that if you need eight cards of the same color you are bound to have turns where no such cards are available. That means empty turns and no more "turn advantage." Sooooooo many people's math based strategies for virtually every game fail to take into account how the game is actually played as opposed to the nominal value of certain plays.
 
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Sven F.
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TerrapinStation wrote:
Hierose wrote:
We have a friend who is insanely good with complex math and statistics. He's pointed out that the point values for the 6-car and 8-car tracks are worth far more than they should be.

[...]

With that said, the most optimal strategy is:

1) At the beginning of the game, dump any Western Europe tickets.
2) Claim the 8-car track and any viable 6-car tracks.
3) Complete your routes.
4) Get down to 2 cars left as fast as possible by claiming 4-car tracks.

There's no way to metagame this strategy. Even if 4 players focus on Eastern Europe and one player focuses on Western Europe, one of the Eastern players will claim the 8-car track and others will claim the two 6-car tracks, and lots of the 4-car tracks will be taken, too. The Western player still doesn't have a chance at competing because of the simple fact that the Western strategy requires more turns than the Eastern strategy, and is therefore always sub-optimal.

With that being said, don't play Ticket to Ride: Europe with competitive players; it's repetitive and not fun. Keep it to the casuals who just find it fun to complete their routes.

TerrapinStation wrote:
Finally, building in the West has an implied card drawing advantage: For most of the game you will need small numbers of all or nearly all the colors. This allows you to use random draws more with the hope of "free" locomotive cards.

Unfortunately, this isn't true. In Ticket to Ride, turn advantage is more important than card advantage.


Your friend is good at math (maybe) but bad at assumptions. He failed to take into account the fact that if you need eight cards of the same color you are bound to have turns where no such cards are available. That means empty turns and no more "turn advantage." Sooooooo many people's math based strategies for virtually every game fail to take into account how the game is actually played as opposed to the nominal value of certain plays.


In TtR a player is never allowed to skip a turn. Thus there are no "empty turns". Early in the game, all cards are worth something, so if you take two cards for 10-15 turns, you will end up with plenty of cards in one or two colours. (You might draw blind, as well as combine it with open cards in those colours that you already have many of.) You will also have some locomotives.

Later, when you have in all taken 35-40 cards, you might not want to continue drawing blind cards. Then, while you wait for the right colours to show among the open cards, you start claiming routes. In that way you do something meaningful in every turn.

I do not say that Hierose, or Hierose's friend, has found the only usable strategy, but TerrapinStation's criticism isn't without its deficiencies either.
 
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Andreas Vecstric
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Ezel wrote:
Hierose wrote:
With that said, the most optimal strategy is:
1) At the beginning of the game, dump any Western Europe tickets.
2) Claim the 8-car track and any viable 6-car tracks.
3) Complete your routes.
4) Get down to 2 cars left as fast as possible by claiming 4-car tracks.

Won two games in a row at the 'Malmö TTR:E Championship' this weekend, which netted me a full win of the tournament and a nice prize in form of a copy of 'TTR: 10th Anniversary'.
The first game was kind of tight since I had lousy tickets from the start giving me only 9 points total I think.
The second game I got a long ticket that suited me fine (Moscow - Palermo) and in that game I won with a big lead.

Now, the other player didn't use the same strategy, so I'm not sure how well it works if another player does the same. Being the only one running the strategy seems to work mighty fine though. whistle


I ran this strategy in the 2016 'Malmö TTR:E Championship' also.
The first game the strategy worked since no-one at the table was prepared for it. I totally crushed the others.

In the final table one of the contestant had a tip from his friend (which I had beaten in the former game) about the strategy, so we ended up both going for it.
I would say the game ended up having three types of players:
'Long routes' strategy, 2 players.
'Many tickets' strategy, 1 player.
'Casual', 1 player.

The other 'long router' beat me to the 8 train route but I think I beat him to the both the 2 6 point routes. We both got our tickets, I think, and started competing for all 4 train routes.

This left the two other players doing their own thing and the 'many tickets' player did very well. I don't think we noticed she was doing that well, but even if we had, neither of us 'long routers' wanted to be the player to 'waste a turn' to stop it, thus possibly giving the win to the other 'long router'.
The 'casual' just kept playing for fun. I also know he had just learnt the game a week before at a small convention. .

The game ended with 'many tickets' winning, me and the other 'long router' in 2nd and 3rd place and 'casual' last.

So. . . the strategy seems to be beatable at least.
(even though I don't claim to having played it perfectly this time or any other time)
 
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