Best Game Ever! If you are looking for a game that you can play with your kids, Ticket to Ride is what you need. If you worry that it will be boring for adults, have no fear. This is one of the most enjoyable games on the market for all ages. Not only is it simple to learn, it also creates the perfect amount of challenge, intrigue, competition and fun every time I play it.
So a quick review of how the game is played. Each player, and there can be from 2-5 players, picks a color. They then are dealt four Train cards. These cards will be used throughout the game to create train tracks across the map. (As an aside, the game board is a basic outline of the US with most major cities shown as destinations). Each player is also dealt three Destination Ticket cards. Each of these cards show a pair of cities between which the player will attempt to build a train track of their color. For instance, if I am the blue player, and I drew a Destination Ticket card that showed Montreal to Toronto, then I would attempt to place three of my trains on the three spaces shown on the board between Montreal to Toronto. Here is the fun part–after you draw your three Destination Cards, you can choose which ones to keep. Once you have decided to keep a Destination card, you must keep it through the whole game. If you build a track between the appropriate two cities, you score the number of points shown on the card. If you fail to build the track, you lose that many points. Each player is competing for spots on the board. I may be trying to build a track from New York to Los Angeles and everyone else may be in need of the same track positions. In which case, if they “block” me out by taking all the available routes, then I am going to lose points instead of gain them.
At the beginning of each turn, a player can choose to draw Train Cards, Claim a Route, or draw Destination Ticket Cards. A player may only do one of these three actions. If they choose to draw Train cards, they can either pull from the four showing cards or from the deck (which will give them an unknown card). If they choose to Claim a Route instead they must have enough Train cards of a specific color to play. To do this, they play their Train cards and place a corresponding number of train pieces on the board. To play, you must be able to build out an entire segment. For instance, if the segment is six green spaces long, I must have six green Train Cards to play (or I can mix in a few wild cards to meet my requirement). Or for their turn, a player can draw more Destination Ticket cards. If they choose to do so, they draw three and must keep at least one of them. This can be risky, but provides a player extra chances to score. Scoring comes from several things. Points are scored for placing trains on the board. A longer section earns more points. Points are also earned or lost at the end of the game for finishing a Destination Ticket Card. If you finish one of these, you keep it secret from the other players until the end of the game. Ten points are also scored at the end of the game by the player that has the longest continuous train path on the board.
The rules of this game are simple, the strategy is fun. This is a great game for family and friends of nearly all ages. My seven-year old daughter plays with no help–and frequently wins. If I could only have one game in the game closet, I think it would be Ticket to Ride.