Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure game. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America.
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London eccentric, Phileas Fogg accepted and then won a bet that he could travel "Around the World in 80 Days." Now, at the dawn of the century, some old friends have gathered to celebrate Fogg's impetuous and lucrative gamble - and to propose a new wager of their own. The stakes: $1 million in a winner-takes-all competition. The objective: to see the most cities in North America - in just 7 days. Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure game. Players collect train cards that enable them to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who can fulfill their Destination Tickets by connecting two distant cities, and to the player who builds the longest continuous railway. For 2 to 5 players ages 8 and older. Playing time: 30-60 minutes. Comes with: 1 Board map of North American train routes, 240 Colored Train Cars, 110 Train Car cards, 30 Destination Tickets, 5 Wooden Scoring Markers, 1 Days of Wonder Online access number, and a Rules booklet.
This is an excellent game for 2-5 players, and especially for kids. I was initially put off by the theme and the mentioning of winning the $1 million dollar prize on the advertisement. I immediately thought there would be paper money involved and it would be like Monopoly but I was wrong. There is no fake money involved! Just little cards with different colors. Easy, but challenging. It is a game where you can be nice and not mess with your opponents supposed destination, or you can try and block them. You get points according to the tracks you lay and connections you make.
And is the game any good? The short answer is that once you play this game, you'll be hooked. The components are superb, the artwork is great, the game is downright fun (and nasty sometimes), and the total package is a very strong contender for the Spiel des Jahres 2004. (which it won!) If I keep playing the game at this rate it may move into my top ten list. Game play is very tight, and I found that game scores can run very close - making for an exciting game, all the way down to the finish.
Each player receives forty-five train cars in one color, and places a matching round token of that color on a scoring track. A large board is placed in the middle of the table, with a map of America (circa late 1800's) superimposed upon it. Thirty-six cities are there, each connected by one or two "railroad lines". These lines are made up of one to six spaces, and are one of eight colors: purple, yellow, black, white, green, red, blue, brown, and gray (neutral color). A deck of "tickets" is shuffled, and three are dealt to each player. Players may discard one of them, but must keep at least two of them. Each ticket has two cities on them, and a point value that a player will receive if they connect those two cities, or lose if they don't connect the cities. The remainder of the ticket cards are shuffled and placed in a face down pile next to the board. A pile of train cards is shuffled, and four are dealt to each player. The remainder are shuffled and placed next to the board, then five of them are turned over and placed face-up next to the draw pile. The player who has traveled the most goes first, and then play continues clockwise around the table.
On a turn, a player may do one of three things. They may draw two cards, one at a time from either the face-up cards and/or the draw pile. Each card shows a different color of train car - matching the eight different colored spaces on the board. There is twelve of each color car in the deck. There are also eighteen "locomotive" cards, which function as wild cards. When a player draws a face-up card, the card is replaced immediately before they draw another card. A locomotive card counts as two cards if drawn when face-up, but only one if drawn when face-down. If there are ever three locomotive cards face-up at any time, all five cards are immediately discarded, and five new cards are drawn. If the cards run out, the discard pile is shuffled back to form a new draw deck.
The second thing a player may do is to draw three ticket cards. They must keep at least one of them, but have the option of keeping all of them, if they like. The others (if any), are discarded.
The third thing a player may do is play cards to place their train cars on the board. A player may play one through six cards of the same color (including wild cards), to place the same amount of train cards on a corresponding line on the board. For example, Las Vegas is connected to Salt Lake City by an orange line consisting of three spaces. Three orange cards must be played to put three trains of that player's color on those spaces. No more players could then place anything between those two cities, and if players want to connect those two cities with their lines, they'll have to go around the long way (if possible). Gray lines can have any color cards played to place trains on them, but the cards played must match the number of spaces in the gray line, and all of the cards must be the same color. When placing trains, the player doing so receives points - 1 point for one train placed, 2 points for two trains, 4 points for three trains, 7 points for four, 10 points for five, and 15 points for six trains. Some cities have two lines connecting them, both of which can be used in a four or five-player game. In a two or three-player game, however, once one of these lines has been used, the other cannot.
When one player, after taking their turn, is down to two train cars or less, the final round begins. Starting with the player to their left, each player has one final turn, and then the game is over. The trains on the board are counted to make sure that the points were totaled correctly during the game, and then ticket cards are revealed. If players can trace a continuous path between the two cities on their card with their color train cars only, they receive the points, and move their tokens accordingly. Otherwise, they lose the points, and must move their token down the scoring track that many points. The player who has the longest continuous track also gets ten points. The player with the most points is the winner!