Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ticket to Ride [Board Game Review]

One of my first posts here on the blog was about board games and my enjoyment of them. Since I have reviewed books I've recently read, why not review some board games we own? Rather than dive right into the more complex games we play, I'll start with a good one that is a good introduction to the "beyond Monopoly" board games - Ticket to Ride.

Picture courtesy user garyjames at geekdo.com
 Ticket to Ride is a game for 2 to 5 players and should take about 45 minutes of playing time.

In Ticket to Ride, you are collecting colored train cards which you will use to claim routes on the board. You earn points for each route you build as well as additional points at the end of the game for completing a destination ticket (Houston to Chicago for instance).

I won't go over all of the rules but will highlight the basic summary of gameplay. On your turn, you have 3 choices: (1) Claim a link on the board, turning in the appropriate train cards to claim a link on the board. If the link shows two blue bars on the board, for instance, then you will need two blue train cards in order to claim it. (2) Draw train cards. A face up pile of 5 train cars as well as the top card off the draw stack are available. Do you draw from the face up cards and let the other players know where you might be playing? Or do you draw from the draw stack, hoping you get a good card? (3) Draw more destination tickets. You are dealt 3 of these at the beginning of the game and get to choose which one(s) to keep. If you're feeling confident in your routes and cards, you can draw and opt to keep more of these tickets. Keep in mind, however, that if you do not make the tickets, you lose the points on the ticket, not gain them.

The end game condition is based on the number of plastic trains left in your "hand". When they reach or fall below a certain number, the players will get one more turn. (Refer to the rules for more details on this.) At the end of game, add or subtract points based on complete/incomplete destination tickets. The player with the most points is the winner.

My Thoughts:
So what do I think of Ticket to Ride? It's great. It works well with 2 players or the full complement of 5. It's easy to explain, teach, and play the game in an hour. New gamers won't be overwhelmed by it. It's an excellent introduction, as I stated above, to games "beyond Monopoly." When the girls are old enough, this will probably be the first game that Ginny and I teach them. If Ginny and I want a game that plays in under an hour and won't burn our brains too much, Ticket to Ride is the one we'll reach for. I currently have it rated as a 7.5/10 on BGG. As an added bonus, this game is in the mainstream market place. You'll be able to find it on the shelves at Target. If you've never ventured past Scrabble or Monopoly or Life, have a look at Ticket to Ride. You will not be disappointed.


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