Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Board Game Night: Ticket to Ride

Last night was the second night at my attempt of a regular board game night. Previously, we played RISK: Legacy and a couple quick games. Last night the feature was Ticket to Ride: Europe Edition.
The final board.

You may remember that this game was recently featured on TableTop, considering I wrote about it. Well, one of our regular players, whom I'll call "The Roommate," happened to own a copy. Since The Wife was joining us, along with "The Mick" (seriously, that's not being racist), I thought it would be a perfect game to try out.

It went very, very well. I didn't quite think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but there were more avenues for strategy than I had initially realized, and the rules were very simple to follow. Turns could go fast or slow, depending on how prepared the players were or how screwed they got when someone stole the route they were planning on taking. There were two moments where I got blocked and either had to take a long way around or use a train station.

For being a lengthy game with a decent amount of pieces, it was incredibly easy and fun. It reminded me of simpler games such as Monopoly, yet actually had options and strategy. I strongly recommend it for any gaming group, just starting or veterans.

The final scoring process was also a lot of fun, if a bit heartbreaking. I'd managed to complete my four routes (no one took extras) and only used one train station -- I was in first place. Then we counted the longest route... and I was short by two cars! The Wife got the bonus ten points and won the game at the literal last second with a score of 109 to my 107. Damn.

The victor (playing red trains).

Final Stats

Difficulty: Easy to Intermediate
Fun Factor: High
Replayability: High, especially considering the different versions.
Winner: The Wife
Rating: 9/10

After that, the guys and I played a couple games of Cthulhu Fluxx. The Fluxx games are fairly simple, but I especially appreciated the attention to Lovecraft Lore the cards and card synergy reflected. Fun for any group due to self-explained rules and especially fun for fans of the Cthulhu Mythos.

House Rules for Younger Players
-Play without Destination Tickets the first few times and simply focus on scoring points by taking routes and getting the "Longest Train" bonus. This keeps the game simple and allows players to get used to basic strategies (like cutting off an opponent to try and stop their "Longest Train" bonus). After a few games of this, introducing Destination Tickets should be a smooth process. For any bonus rules that come with different versions, they are generally well explained, but feel free to introduce them when they make sense for particular play group.


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun. What would you say the best starting age would be? Given that my current board-game partner is 6, I'm always keeping an eye out on games we can play together.

    1. Not having children to judge this well myself, I left it off the stats. The Wife always says she's incapable of understanding anything beyond the recommended age of 8, however, and isn't an awful scale. A six year old might miss out on some of the strategy of cutting off someone else's route or planning 4 (or more) destinations out at the same time, but the actual game play itself isn't difficult and it is a VERY colorful game, with color-matching being a major part of it.

      The game recommends ages 8 and up (and about 45 minutes of playtime, which may be important to note). I think a younger gamer could be taught the rules and, more importantly, enjoy the game however. Especially if you house rule anything that turns out to be a bit too complex (tunnels, in this version, may be an example). Original "Ticket to Ride" doesn't even have any additional rules, so may be an even better starting point.

      Suggestion for trying to get your young one interested -- play without destinations the first few times, and simply focus on scoring points by taking routes (matching colored cards to colored routes). The longest train score would still remain a lot of fun to count at the end as well. After a few games, introducing destinations shouldn't be difficult at all!

    2. Actually, thank you for the inspiration. I myself plan on trying to grow some gamers in the near future, and I should probably consider younger games with these posts -- I'll add a "Younger Player House Rule Suggestions" (or some such title) section for Board Game Night games when applicable. I'll work on making a neater one for "Ticket to Ride" when I've got a moment.