At a Glance: Ticket to Ride is the ultimate gateway to cooler games and a flagship of the hobby that does not have a weakness that I can see.
Ticket to Ride was released in 2004 and has since exploded into one of the best-selling games, with many different versions offered now. My favorite that I have played is Ticket to Ride: Europe, released in 2005. The Ticket to Ride series of games involves connecting train routes between two cities on the map by turning in sets of cards, and amassing points along the way. On your turn, you may either draw two cards, build a section of train, or draw more routes to complete. There is a face-down draw deck and 5 face-up cards in a row. If you draw cards, you may draw one or both from either area, but if you select a wild card (locomotive), then you may not draw a second card. The route sections on the map have certain colors on them which denote which sets of colored cards you need to turn in to place your trains there. If the route is grey, then it may be a set of any color. Some routes are long, like 6 trains, and some are as short as 1 train. Play continues until one player has only 2 or fewer trains left and whoever has the most points is the winner. It is possible, dare I say likely, that you will not complete all your routes or someone will block a route that you needed. Any routes that you do not complete count negatively against you, as much as they would have counted positively! So incomplete routes are a big deal, and they can make or break a game.
In the Europe version, it adds Tunnels which may end up costing you a couple more cards to build, Ferries which only use the wild cards, and Stations that let you use one of someone else’s routes to complete your own. I also really appreciate the Europe version because it has regular-sized cards (where the original game had smaller cards). Ticket to Ride has one of the best risk/reward systems as routes are worth the same, either positive or negative depending on if you complete it. This adds a great tension, especially when faced with maybe tackling a new route toward the end. It is really simple to get the hang of, and with more familiarity, brings more charm and comfortable satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong, you can get really competitive with it and there are brainy moments, but this can also be a good casual, coffee-drinking chilled out game.
As far as the Europe version, we do not play with the Stations very often. It is a bit too forgiving in my view, but everything else makes this my preferred version, but not by much. I own the original game as well and especially with new players, I pull that one out gladly. Like the first game, the map looks wonderful and the components are very good. I like how the city names are listed in their original language. Ultimately, whatever version interests you or that you can get your hands on will be a winner.
Check it out: https://amzn.to/2Sqg8uz