"Another Ticket to Ride game? Really?"
We bought the original Ticket to Ride and liked it a lot. Others must have too, since it won the Spiel des Jahres in 2004. Then there was TtR:Europe, which added some extra stuff but I didn't feel the need to go out and buy, even though I thought it was okay. Now here comes another one: Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition.
I won't bore you with a detailed description of the Ticket to Ride "system," except to say you're completing links from city to city (using a rummy-style mechanic) in order to fulfill secret "ticket cards" (acting as a hidden objective for extra points).
What's the difference? Well, Marklin is a company that makes model trains, so this is a big tie-in for them. I imagine this version may be more interesting for the model train buff than previous versions because of that. There is also a CD-ROM included which is basically more Marklin promotional material.
Another nice touch to please the model railroader (and I liked it too) was that the train cards are all different. Every card has a train with a unique paint job on it. I thought that was one of those neat little "they didn't have to do it, but they did" touches.
Anyway, here's how the gameplay is different from the original game:
1) Routes are divided into "short" and "long," like in TtR:Europe. However, you can choose what kind of cards you get in the beginning (in Eurpoe, you always got 1 long and 3 short). I really liked this because if I wanted to go for more shorter routes or more longer routes, I could play as I pleased.
2) The map -- Germany this time. It doesn't have as many weird choke points as the first two games, since it's basically a square.
3) "+4 Wilds" -- these are special new wild cards that only work as jokers on a route that is at least four trains long. The nice thing about them is that they count as a normal card when drawn face up (unlike regular Wild cards that count as two card when drawn face up). I thought this really helped work on those longer routes without unbalancing the game.
4) Passengers are probably the biggest change in the game. You get three passengers of your color at the beginning. There are also come point counters placed on the cities. When adding a route, you can place a passenger and later on you can move the passenger through your routes to "pick up" the point counters in the cities. You can only move over your own continuous line unless you play a passenger card to ride on another player's route. I thought this added a whole new layer to the game -- where can you add a passenger for the most benefit based on where I'm building routes, etc.
All in all, I think that Ticket to Ride: Marklin is my favorite version of the series. The original TtR is easier to explain because it has fewer rules, but I really enjoy the extra features in TtR:Marklin.
Many others have debated on whether or not it's worth it because you're basically paying full price for a new map and some cards, and I'm sort of on the fence about it. I really wish that these games were sold as expansions instead of having to basically buy 80% of the game over every time a new version comes out, but in the long run, I'm glad I have it. My suggestion is that if you're only going to buy one Ticket to Ride game is that it be this version. (My rating: 9/10)