Days Of Wonder: Ticket To Ride
Ticket to ride introduced me to a balanced mix between casual party game and serious strategy game. It had enough depth to keep me entertained throughout the entire game, but it didn’t tax me mentally whilst trying to defeat my opponents. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good strategy game that will require hours of my time, delving into the intricacies of mechanics and projecting paths to victory.
However, Ticket To Ride did two things for me. It offered me a moderately casual game that didn’t take up too much of my time, which meant I still could play video games later that night, and it allowed me to introduce my significant other to the world of tabletop games! How neat is that?
Ever since my partner and I played Ticket To Ride together, we’ve gone on to play Pandemic, Pandemic Legacy, Civilization: A New Dawn, Munchkin, and various other games that straddle the line between casual and serious. As her and I play more board games together, we’re beginning to crave more depth in our games and a greater time commitment to satiate our needs for a well-deserved victory It’s almost as if we’re becoming board game nerds.
Now, when friends come over, or we take friends to our regular board game night, we always ask which game the guests would like to play first. If they are indecisive, my partner and I nearly always say the same word in unison: “Trains.” This alternate title for Ticket To Ride is synonymous with fun, easy, and enjoyable. I mean this game is considered a “gateway” into the seemingly bottomless void of board games–and for good reason.
How do you play the game? Is it a fun experience? How much interaction is there between the players? Is there very much luck involved? Will it take forever to to learn and teach?
If you’ve never played Ticket To Ride, you’re in for a treat. I tend to get questions from newer board game players like:
- How easy is the game to learn?
- Will it take all night like that one game, [enter serious strategy game?
- Can my spouse/partner play?
- Will there be snacks? (seriously? I thought we were friends)
Nonetheless, this review will answer all these questions and more that you may have about Ticket To Ride.
How much strategy is involved? Is there a sense of variety and balance? Does the game play well no matter how many players there are? How long does it take to play?
If ever someone asks me what kind of depth a game has, I go straight for layers. How many layers does a player need to learn before becoming proficient at playing the game? For example, a game like Sushi Go has one layer; it’s an updated version of go fish.
Ticket To Ride has at least two layers: the actions you can take on your turn, and the overall goal of completing your destination routes before end of game, accumulating more points than anyone else. If we go real deep, we can use Civilization: New Dawn as an example, which I just recently played; it seems to have multiple layers, some I was not aware of until a fellow player won the entire game.
Nonetheless, we’ll answer some of the common questions we get about this board game:
- How much strategy is involved?
- Is there a sense of variety and balance?
- Does the game play well no matter the player total?
- Do player turns increase in time as the game goes on?
Look and Feel
Is the game aesthetically pleasing? Are the components made out of quality material, or do they feel cheap? Is the rulebook well-designed and easy to read? How well is theme integrated into the game?
The look and feel of Ticket To Ride can be described in one word: satisfying. It’s a casual game with a hint of strategy anyone in the family can enjoy. The aesthetics of the game are relatively simple, but the box art invites players to remove the lid and play.
In this section, I’ll answer some common questions like:
- Is the game aesthetically pleasing?
- Are the components quality-made, or do they feel cheap?
- Is the rulebook designed well to be easy to read?
- How is the theme integrated into the gameplay?
Is it a game you can play over and over? Are there expansions available for the game, and if so, are they necessary? Does the amount of the content in the box justify the price?
The value of Ticket To Ride comes in a few forms: replay, cost, and expansions. In this section, I’ll answer some common questions like:
- Can you play Ticket To Ride more than once and still enjoy it?
- Does the component quality and quantity justify the price of the game?
- Does the game have any expansions?
After playing the game a few dozen times, turning to it to introduce others to board games, and finding joy in playing it still, I think Ticket To Ride is a tabletop game for any collection, whether the player is casual, moderate, or serious. The game offers simple gameplay mechanics with just enough strategy–but not too much– to keep players entertained. It’s light-hearted with an opportunity for minimal player conflict, which keeps things interesting over the course of the game. The game is played slightly slower than most, but I think it was designed that way on purpose.
I’ve played very few board games that keep my attention, offer a “gateway” to anyone interested in games, and continues to be a go-to game of mine, whether playing with my partner, with friends, or family. Frankly, if you’re sick of “family-friendly” games like Monopoly, Risk, or Scrabble, grab Ticket To Ride. Give it a try. Let me know what you think.
YOU WILL LIKE THIS GAME IF…
- You enjoy trains
- You like taking one action at a time towards your goal
- You like to play games with others, but with little to no conflict
- You have 2-5 people who want to play games consistently
- You like a game that focuses on the board
- You like to think less about the game and more about the experience
- You want a game that’s less than $50
YOU WON’T LIKE THIS GAME IF…
- You want lots of direct player-to-player interaction
- You want a game with lots of conflict
- You want a game with multiple strategy paths to victory
- You’d rather play a card game over a board game
- You want to play a game that take less than 30 minutes
- You want to play a game that takes multiple sessions to complete