Ticket to Ride: Board Game of Champions

I am a board game fiend. When most kids were playing video games and watching TV, my family was having board game championships. We would dig out all of our favorites, and crown an overall champ. Now that I’m a college graduate, I don’t get quite as many chances to play board games.

I don’t get to go home and visit and spend hours with my mom reconnecting and playing Parcheesi. That means, that when I find a great board game app for my iPad, I’m in Heaven. That’s definitely the case with my new favorite, Ticket to Ride. Read on to find out more …


Basic Gameplay

First Views

When you first open up the app, you’re introduced to the cheerful conductor of the game. If it’s your first time playing, he’ll take you through an extremely helpful tutorial which will explain the rules much better than reading them here or on the website. It’s a great chance to get to know the gameplay, and gives you a chance to play against a simple bot for the first time. If you’re not interested in playing the tutorial right away, you can check out the train station for a few other options.

Select online games inside the train station, rather than an automatic online game for greater control over game type and level of difficulty.

Train Station

Gameplay: Basics

Once you start your first game, you’ll be asked to choose 2-3 “destination tickets.” These tickets will have two cities listed on them. The objective of the game is to score the most points, and you score points by successfully creating a route between the two cities listed on the destination ticket. Choose strategically at the beginning, because it’s always an option to draw more destination tickets as the game goes on.

Choose destination tickets that link into a huge route at the very beginning. This allows you to create additional routes later with much greater ease.

Destination Cards

Once you’ve chosen your destination ticket cards, the gameplay begins. There are three ways to earn points:

  • Claiming a route between two adjacent cities on the map.
  • Successfully creating a route between the two cities on your destination ticket(s).
  • Completing the longest continuous path.

Each turn you have three options:

  • Draw train cards.
  • Claim a route between two cities by laying down the appropriate number of matching train cards (For example, to claim a route between San Francisco and Salt Lake City you would have to lay down either 5 orange train cards, 5 white train cards, or any combination of correct color cards and wild cards. A grey route can be claimed a matching set of cards of any color).
  • Draw destination tickets (You draw three destination tickets. You must keep at least one).

Game in Progress

The game ends once one person has 3 or less available trains left to use. At that point, everyone gets one last turn, and then scoring happens.

Scoring

Points are calculated by the destination cards and the longest route bonus. You get the number of points listed on the card if the route was completed successfully. If the route wasn’t completed successfully, you lose that number of points. There is also a ten point bonus for whoever created the longest route.

Make sure to keep an eye on the number of trains your opponent(s) have left when drawing destination tickets or you can quickly run out of turns to create those routes and end up losing a lot of points.

Scoring Screen

Game Options

There are a couple of different ways to play. The default option is online based. It will automatically set you up with an opponent of approximately equal skill – I find that this is the method I use most often. You can also find online games or create your own by using the restaurant, found in the further options menu.

Another way is to play versus a bot. This is great if you don’t have internet access, but the downside is that you can’t choose the level of difficulty. If you luck into playing against a bot of the right level, it’s a great game. Sometimes though the bot is “nebulous” which at least for me is beyond my skill level, and you just get crushed which isn’t ever that fun. An option I haven’t yet had the chance to try is playing iPad versus iPad as I haven’t yet found a friend who owns the app.

Add-Ons

The game comes pre-installed with one map – the United States, original gameplay app. At the game selection screen, you’ll see a few different maps available for purchase. You can buy the Europe map, which adds new elements like tunnels, stations and ferries. The Switzerland map is the cheapest add-on, and brings tunnels and country to country game play.

You can also buy the 1910 USA pack which has 3 different options: Classic, which gives you 35 new destination tickets and replaces the longest route bonus with a globe trotter bonus, awarded to whoever completes the most destination tickets; the Mega board adds 69 destination tickets and has both longest route and globe trotter bonuses; and Big Cities where every destination ticket connects to a major city.

Alternate Map Choices


 

Final Thoughts

I’ve owned this game for a little while, and it’s one of my go-to game apps if I have more than 5 minutes to kill. It’s definitely addicting, and the play types and additional maps give me more than enough variety to keep me entertained for the long haul. While it’s a great game, the biggest downside is the cost. It costs $6.99 just for the game with the USA map. Then each add-on costs anywhere from $.99 – $3.99, bringing the grand total for game and maps up to about $14.00. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the game!

 


Summary

A strategic board game app, based on its real life counterpart. You must complete train routes around the country in order to out-score your opponent.

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  • Christina

    Agree that this is a great game and worth every penny. I bought it when it first came out and have all the addons. Loads of fun, very addictive and fairly quick to play so a good time filler.

  • Shane

    You can change the difficulty of the AI you play against. Do that by tapping on the avatar of the AI player. The different types of AI players represent different playing styles.

    What I have not found is how to change the representation of your ow skill level. It always seems to classify me as a beginner, and while I may it be the best player in the world, I would rate myself higher than that.

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