30-60 Minute Playing Time
Set in an older period of time when trains were all the bustle and places like Rome and Moscow were known as Roma and Moskva, Ticket To Ride Europe aims to take you on a quest across continental Europe to become the biggest train mogul through an empire of trains and possibly the odd train station. You will build your trains in between major cities while collecting and being rewarded by destination tickets if you can complete their journey between point A and point B, but be wary of other train enthusiasts who may be planning a route through one of your desired destinations causing you to either have to take the long way around, or outright block your path altogether.
In Ticket To Ride Europe, the board is a map of Europe with major cities connected by potential train tracks of various colors. The players will start with up to four random destination tickets (1 x long, 3 x short) which can be discarded down to a minimum of two, and also three random train cards which are used to build trains. Each turn players are allowed to do one of the following actions: collect train cards (either from 5 face up cards or random ones from the top of the deck), build trains (if you have the required train cards), build a train station, or collect between 1-3 more destination tickets. A majority of the game is spent collecting and building trains, with train stations normally only built as a last resort to connect your trains through your opponents train track (you get four bonus points for each of your three stations not used during the game), and more destination tickets normally after you've already completed those you started with originally (each incomplete destination ticket will reduce your score at the end of the game).
To build trains you will need the number of train cards that match the color of the respective cities you are trying to connect between. For example there are three orange lines between Cadiz and Madrid which would require three matching orange train cards or wild 'locomotive' cards before you can place your color of trains on the board to connect them as your train line. Points are scored for each line you connect rewarding bigger lines with more points, and bonus points are added at the end of the game for all your completed destination tickets that you have managed to build trains between. The game ends when any player is down to their last two trains left to build and everyone has had one last turn including the player who first reaches two. Final scores are calculated with bonus points awarded to the player with the longest continuous train track as well as adding or subtracting each players destination tickets and awarding points for unused train stations. The player with the highest score wins the game and supremacy as Europe's train tycoon.
Ticket To Ride Europe is the only version of the Ticket To Ride family that I've had the pleasure of playing - I therefore cannot compare this version to the original or any other edition and my opinion is solely based on the Europe edition as a standalone and not what it adds or changes. With that said. Ticket To Ride Europe is an easy game to teach and also to understand with only a few basic rules to wrap your head around. I know tunnels and train stations are new to this version which are two of the rules people often struggle to fully understand right away and once you start playing a question or two may come up, but most players will get it within the first 10 minutes of the game. Being simple to teach definitely makes this an excellent choice for a gateway game, there is some luck and strategy involved but the majority will be able to just play it and feel like they are accomplishing something without thinking and planning too heavily.
Players who enjoy a deeper game should also enjoy aspects of Ticket To Ride as there are a few different paths to victory and choices to be made. How many destination tickets to take/keep, whether to go for the big scoring train connections or more destination tickets, when to rush the game and use up all your trains quickly, the best way to block someones route (better done to advanced players only) and balancing how many train cards to hoard at the risk of someone building on your desired path are a few choices that can be thought about. The simple nature of Ticket To Ride is that this game can still easily be enjoyed by beginners without worrying about any of the aforementioned tactics. Most players will get caught up in their own game, grabbing train cards they need to try and fulfil their destination tickets without taking too much notice of what everyone else is doing. Those that want to have a bit more involvement and interaction can build to sabotage and interrupt an opponent, but it's never really to a crippling effect that can ruin someone's game as often you are able to build around or a station can be built to go straight through keeping the game fairly nice. This may be off putting for some, but I find it a huge positive as it allows newcomers, non gamer's and advanced players to be able to play together and have fun without a hitch.
Is Ticket To Ride Europe the deepest game? Definitely not. As much as there is choice and planning, this is a fairly light game and its biggest appeal is that it is designed for the whole family. Those looking for something to sink their teeth in and spend a couple of hours playing are better off looking elsewhere. For a game anyone can enjoy, I find Ticket To Ride Europe has more than enough going for it that gamer's of all varieties will be able to find something to like and have a good time with it. Ending the game when a player is down to their last two trains is a brilliant mechanic that adds tension towards the end of the game as people scramble to complete their tickets, and get as many points as they can before someone ruins all conceived plans with a sudden turn to end the game abruptly. Moments like these are just one example of the easy to digest depth in Ticket To Ride that make it not all luck based and will have new players not only wanting more, but possibly venturing one step closer to a full fledged gamer.
My Verdict: BUY
A 'nice' game great to play with anyone and everyone
Some amounts of depth that can be explored - only if you want to