Mon. Sep 26th, 2022
Ranked: Any Ticket to Ride Card
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You may have played one of the most successful titles in tabletop gaming, Alan Moon’s Ticket to drive† But have you tried? all of the game’s expansions and standalone spin-offs? These additions introduce new boards and rules that change the basic format of drawing train cards and placing trains to connect cities on each map for the purpose of connecting more distant cities so you can complete Destination Tickets for more points.

I’ve counted 17 different cards so far (not counting Japan and Italy, which will be released at the end of October in Europe on Spiel 2019 and worldwide in January 2020. Marklin map is no longer available and will not be included in this exercise). That’s a lot for anyone to digest. So to help someone Ticket to drive Faithfully seeking expansion, Ars has put together this overview – along with my personal rankings – of all existing maps, some of which are also available in the beautiful mobile app version of the game. And if something below doesn’t quite ride for you, let us know your favorite cards in the comments.

New Yawk, baby!
enlarge New Yawk, baby!

17. Ticket to Ride Express: New York

The first standalone “Express” version of Ticket to drive lets players build taxi routes in Manhattan (plus one general stop in Brooklyn), with only 15 pieces per player and a small board. There is only one direct connection between stops of four spaces, the rest are connected by one to three spaces. You score for destination tickets and get another point if you connect one of the board’s nine tourist attractions to one of your routes. I don’t know exactly why the Fonz is on the cover because Happy Days took place in Milwaukee.

London is calling.
enlarge London is calling.

16. Ticket to Ride Express: London

The second Express game lets players build bus routes – unfortunately not the Tube – through London, again with only 15 pieces per player and a small board. There are bonuses for hitting every stop in a district (worth one to five extra points), no routes longer than 11 spaces, and no direct connections across four spaces. Games last about 15-20 minutes and the box is very portable.

Switzerland map.
enlarge Switzerland map.

15. Switzerland

Even more claustrophobic than the map of the Nordic countries, the map of Switzerland has similar rules for locomotives, lots of single-train tracks, and very short route maps. It also includes new route maps that score when you connect a city to one of the four neighboring countries of France, Germany, Austria or Italy, or when you connect one of those countries to another country via Switzerland. As a result, once you’ve created routes to two of the four countries, you can almost always draw new route cards and find one that you’ve already completed or can complete within a turn. Tabletop version is bundled with the India map. Available on the app.

The Netherlands.
enlarge The Netherlands.

14. Netherlands

One of my favorite things about Ticket to drive is that it does not contain any money as part of the game. Some euro games do, and a lot of them are great, but in general, playing board games that involve money takes longer (especially between turns) and puts off new players (because we’re all traumatized by monopoly† The map of the Netherlands is the first Ticket to drive card to withdraw money as players have to pay tokens to build across the many bridges on this board. Almost all routes are doubled and unlike any other map, both routes are in play even with two or three players. The first person to build on a route pays the toll to the bank; a second player building on the same route pays the toll to the first builder. If you want to build but can’t pay, you take a loan card, which is worth -5 points at the end – and you can never pay it back. There are big bonuses for finishing the game with the most toll tokens left, as long as you don’t have any loaner cards. The rules recommend using a neutral (dummy) player when playing with two people.

By akfire1

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