A Ticket to Ride is a fun multiplayer game that brings fun back into this genre of gaming!
I love board games, but even before the pandemic, I didn't have many board games because, at the time, I didn't have any friends interested in playing. So I turned to the virtual market places to feed this urge for a more straightforward game in graphics but excelled in unique mechanics. On my PC, I have titles such as 100% Orange Juice and my phone has Carcassonne installed at the time of writing. But there was one game I always wanted to play but could never find a copy or anyone who owned it. But thanks to a sale I happened to catch, I can finally play Ticket to Ride.
Truth be told, I purchased this title last year and only played a couple of minutes to see it in action. But this time around, I dove into the 1900s themed board game in earnest dead set on learning the game. The tutorial was slow but easy to follow. It explained how to select your tickets and connect the trains from location A to B. You can either choose one of the five caboose cards in view or draw up to two cards from the deck each turn. You can either do this or lay down your trains to connect your routes. For each train you wish to join, that will cost one caboose card, and any links that require two or more must be the same color cards. There are also specific routes that you can only type of color on, such as red, blue, yellow, etc.
I finished the tutorial but wanted to explore before trying a solo match against a group of CPU opponents. One thing I would like to point out is the main menu. While it does look visually appealing, it would have been nice if play wasn't the only labeled option on the screen. It took me a second before I realized that the shopping cart was for the DLC, which there are quite a few. France, Asia, and Germany, along with several others, are all available for purchase. I knew the board game was popular, but I was impressed by how many they had for sale. The Play menu offers the tutorial, Solo play, Online, and Local multi-player. I want to try the Local Multiplayer because the designers took a page from several party titles. They give you a code to scan on your phone, which installs an app so you can play from your phone rather than controllers. I'd like to try the Online match too, but I don't expect many people to play online. Call it experience, but niche titles like this aren't exactly known for a lively online community.
I finally jump into the Solo play, which brings you to a map of the world and the locations of where you can play. I was only expecting North America to be available. Still, they actually had France as well, so I deiced to try that first. This is where I start to see how limited this title is in some aspects. I like to choose green in titles like this, where each player chooses a color to represent them. After fumbling around for a couple of minutes, I noticed a flag under each player. I toggle the banner under the green character and start the game. Each player gets to choose up to three tickets they think they can complete and are given five caboose cards. The player who goes first is chosen at random, and then the game begins. I played my cards, creating the route needed for Paris. That was when I noticed something odd. The green character had much more points than the routes I was making. And that was I realized the toggled flag did nothing, and I was still the yellow character.
I tried to build my routes but had trouble moving the cursor to the paths I wanted to take. Another problem I was coming across was the other players taking over tracks I needed. It was then, the thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I don't know shit about how to actually play Ticket to Ride. And it wasn't through any fault of my own, not entirely. The tutorial only taught me how to draw cards and make routes. It mentioned nothing about other players blocking your course or losing points if you do not complete a ticket by the end of the game. Or the fact that if you manage to make a long train, the cards you play begin to add up with bonuses. It doesn't even mention the multi-color caboose card or that if you draw that card, it counts as two draws. I can go on about all the things I had to learn from trial and error, but I don't want to sound too angry because once I got the hang of it, I did enjoy playing. I played two more rounds after France, and although I didn't win, I did a bit better and created strategies. Suppose they were to have an AI scenario rather than a single-player one. In that case, the tutorial could have been much more effective.
All in all, Ticket to Ride is a title I would recommend to board game fans or people who want more games to play when friends and family come over for a visit. I would strongly suggest watching an instructional video before playing the tutorial. The only way to really understand this title is to know the board game. I have never encountered anything like this before. Still, it dragged on for so long teaching you the controls I didn't even notice the lack of information missing. Still, I can see why the board game is so highly regarded. The concept is simple, and there are several ways you can go to achieve your goal. Maybe I'll check out the online mode once I get a few wins. Who knows, perhaps we could be playing Ticket to ride someday.