Players: 2 to 5
Game Length: 60 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 3-5 players who want a light and accessible route-building game
Ticket to Ride: Europe is a light route-building game in the Ticket to Ride series, where players will be creating connections between cities using train cards and attempting to create multi-stage connections that fulfil conditions on their Ticket cards.
The rules to Ticket to Ride are easy to learn. Each turn, players may either claim Train cards to add them to their hand, or claim a connection by discarding the right number of the correct-coloured Train cards and placing trains in their colour on the board. Claiming a connection will give them points based on how long the connection is. There is no limit to the number of Train cards a player can hold in their hand, but only one player can claim any given connection and as the game proceeds these will start to diminish in number!
To give players some direction from the outset, each player will start with a Long Ticket card and up to three Short Ticket cards. The Long Ticket card will require them to establish an unbroken route from one side of Europe to the other, whereas the Short Ticket cards will run relatively small distances. These tickets are kept secret, and completing a ticket will give a player points at the end of the game – however, failing to complete these will result in losing that many points! If players want, they may also draw additional Ticket cards on their turn, but the same rules apply to these – if you can’t complete them, they’ll result in lost points!
Ticket to Ride owes its appeal to the easy to learn rules and the satisfaction of working towards completing route cards. It offers some light strategy, where players will need to weigh up drawing more train cards to claim better connections against claiming connections right now to prevent themselves from being locked out. Typically the game will start with everyone building up their collection of train cards, until a few players start claiming connections and triggering a flurry of claims from the other players as they see their own options diminishing.
There are a wide range of games in the Ticket to Ride series, but Ticket to Ride: Europe is generally regarded as the most accessible and works best with 4 or 5 players, thanks to the included Station pieces. These pieces allow a player to regard a connection built by any player out of a city as their own for the purpose of claiming tickets, and give players the ability to stay in the game when others start claiming connections in a flurry of activity, blocking off essential routes.
Ticket to Ride can be quite luck based, especially where the tickets are involved. If a player happens to draw a large number of tickets that are in the same general area, they can stand to gain a large number of points for no real effort. Likewise, luck can determine whether a player is able to draw the right train cards to complete an essential route. Despite this, Ticket to Ride still has a good strategic side, and you’ll need to keep an eye out for the connections you need, especially towards the end of the game!
Ticket to Ride: Europe makes an excellent introductory board game that still offers strategic appeal to more experienced boardgamers. If you’re interested in a light route-building game where you’ll get to build a connection of trains across Europe, Ticket to Ride: Europe comes highly recommended.