Ticket to Ride (board game)

Last updated

Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride Board Game Box EN.jpg
Designers Alan R. Moon
Illustrators Julien Delval, Cyrille Daujean
Publishers Days of Wonder (2004)
Languages English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Icelandic, Dutch, Finnish, Polish, Danish, Czech, Swedish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Greek
Setup time<5 minutes
Playing time45-60 minutes
Age range6+

Ticket to Ride is a railway-themed Eurogame designed by Alan R. Moon. It was illustrated by Julien Delval and Cyrille Daujean and published in 2004 by Days of Wonder. The game is also known as Zug um Zug (German), Les Aventuriers du Rail (French), Aventureros al Tren (Spanish), Wsiąść do pociągu (Polish), and Menolippu (Finnish).


The game's original version is played on a board depicting a railway map of the United States and southern Canada. Localized editions have subsequently been published depicting maps of other countries, cities, and regions. Players collect and play train car cards to claim train routes across the map. Points are earned based on the length of the claimed routes, the longest continuous railway, and connections between distant cities determined by ticket cards.

The game won the 2004 Spiel des Jahres, the Origins Award for Best Board Game of 2004, the 2005 Diana Jones award, and the 2005 As d'Or Jeu de l'année, and placed second in the Schweizer Spielepreis for Family Games. [1] Ticket to Ride: Europe won the 2005 International Gamers Award. As of August 2008, over 750,000 copies of the game had been sold according to the publisher. [2] As of October 2014, over three million copies were reported sold, with retail sales of over $150 million. [3]

The Ticket to Ride box is 30 cm × 30 cm × 8 cm. Influenced in part by the game's popularity, these dimensions have become a very popular standard for medium-size games, and are commonly referred to as "standard TtR size".


Card colorCar depicted
Black Hopper car
White Reefer
Red Coal car
Green Caboose
Blue Passenger car
Yellow Boxcar
Purple Freight car
Orange Tanker
Gold Steam locomotive

At the beginning of the game, each player selects a group of 45 coloured train pieces with a matching scoring marker. Players are dealt four train car cards and three destination ticket cards, which show pairs of cities. Players can earn points by connecting a pair of cities in one of their ticket cards. The player must keep at least two of these ticket cards and can discard unwanted tickets to the bottom of the stack. Once kept, a destination ticket may not be discarded for the rest of the game.

Each turn, the player chooses from one of three options:

  1. Draw two railway car cards in various colours from the draw piles (with the restriction that drawing a wild Locomotive card face up forfeits drawing another card), or
  2. Draw three additional destination ticket cards and keep at least one (replacing undesired tickets at the bottom of the stack), or
  3. Play their collected railway car cards from their hand to claim a route on the board and place the corresponding number of train pieces from their store on the claimed route, thereby earning points.

The routes are of varied lengths (requiring different numbers of matching coloured cards), and only one player can claim each discrete route marked on the board. Some cities are connected by two parallel routes that can be claimed by two different players (unless the game is played with three or fewer players, in which case only one of the routes can be claimed). A single player may not claim both parallel routes between two cities. The point value of a claimed route is roughly proportional to the square of its length.

On their turn, a player can claim any route on the board that has not already been claimed, regardless of whether the route helps to complete their destination tickets. The claimed routes are worth points independently, but routes not connected to a player's destination tickets do not contribute to a ticket's completion.

The key to the game is getting the routes connected. Here the blue player has failed to claim the track between Duluth and Omaha, causing the route in the north to be disconnected and thus incomplete. Ticket to Ride at restaurant Kaisla.jpg
The key to the game is getting the routes connected. Here the blue player has failed to claim the track between Duluth and Omaha, causing the route in the north to be disconnected and thus incomplete.

The game ends when one player has two or fewer of their coloured train pieces remaining. Every player then takes one additional turn and reveals their previously hidden destination tickets. [4] Points are awarded for having successfully connected the destinations on the cards, and points are subtracted for any incomplete tickets. A ten-point bonus is awarded to the player with the longest connected set of routes.

Since the game's release in 2004, Days of Wonder has released additional standalone board games, expansion maps - which require a base game to play, a card game, and multiple electronic game versions.

Board games

The original game features "railway routes connecting cities throughout North America", [5] and was released in 2004. In 2008, Days of Wonder released USA 1910, a card expansion that contains additional destination tickets and larger decks for both routes and railway cards to replace the much smaller ones included in the original game.

Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary

In 2014, the company released Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary, which has a larger map of the original game (USA) and metal boxes for the train pieces. There are no rule changes to the game, but the map and cars are larger and have new designs. The USA 1910 expansion is also included in this version.

Ticket to Ride: 15th Anniversary

A 15th Anniversary edition was released in August 2019 with translucent train cars and a special booklet detailing the history of the game. The card borders and backs were updated and are clearer and more vibrant than in earlier editions. [6] There are no rule changes to the game and no expansions are included in this edition.

A game of Ticket to Ride: Europe at the end of a two-player game. The green player has used a station to use the red player's route from London to Edinburgh. Europe Game.jpg
A game of Ticket to Ride: Europe at the end of a two-player game. The green player has used a station to use the red player's route from London to Edinburgh.

A Europe version was released in 2005. Ticket to Ride: Europe takes place on a map of Europe as it was at the turn of the 20th century. Two new types of routes were introduced: Ferry routes that require locomotive cards to be played when claiming them, and tunnel routes which add the risk that additional train cards may be necessary to complete the route. The game includes "stations" which allow the player to use a route owned by another player and thus complete their destination ticket. In 2009, DOW released Europe 1912, a card expansion for the European game. It contains additional destination tickets, and an additional play mechanic— Warehouses. In 2015, DOW released a mini extension Orient Express, containing eight destination tickets featuring a route of the Orient Express.

Europe: 15th Anniversary

Similar to the original's 10th-anniversary edition, a larger map of Europe was released in 2021. This edition includes detailed train sets in metal tin boxes and train cards designed for the event. The green train set was removed and replaced by pink ones. It also features the destination cards from the original game, Europe 1912, Orient Express, and a promo card, bringing the count to 108.


A German version, Ticket to Ride: Märklin, was released in 2006 by Märklin, a German toy company best known for model railways and technical toys. Whereas railway car cards of each type in the previous games were identical, the cards in Ticket to Ride: Märklin each show a different image of Märklin rolling stock. This edition features a passenger mechanic, where a passenger token is placed on the board, and can claim point tokens by traveling along a player's route. [7]

Nordic countries

Released in late October 2007, this version is based on a map focused on the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden), but additionally has cities in Estonia and Russia. This version also incorporates the ferry routes and tunnels from "Ticket to Ride: Europe". Players only receive a set of 40 coloured train pieces for this version. The recommendation is that it is played with only 2-3 players, who are aged 8 or older, for a game lasting between 30–60 minutes. Following its success in the eponymous countries, this version also became available in the English, French, and German languages.


In September 2012, Zug um Zug: Deutschland ("Ticket to Ride: Germany") was released by Asmodee GmbH, Days of Wonder's German distributor. It was developed and produced specifically at Asmodee GmbH's request (as Ticket to Ride: Märklin had gone out of print) and was only available in Germany and Austria. [8] It is an adaptation of the same map and routes in Märklin, set in turn-of-the-20th-century Germany. In 2015, Asmodee GmbH released Deutschland 1902, a card expansion for the German map that contains additional destination tickets. In 2017, Ticket to Ride: Germany was released in the US. [9] It is a combination of Zug um Zug: Deutschland together with Deutschland 1902.

Rails & Sails
A four-player game of Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails during play Ticket to Ride Rails & Sails.jpg
A four-player game of Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails during play

Released in September 2016, Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails is a standalone game with a double-sided board, the largest used in any Ticket to Ride game. [10] One side is "The World" map and the other is "The Great Lakes" map. This version contains train pieces and ship pieces to be played on land routes and water routes respectively. The travel cards include a modified train card deck and a new "ship deck" used to claim land or water routes respectively. Also included are 3 harbor tokens for each player.

Northern Lights

Released on 9 November 2022, this version is a standalone game featuring a map focused on the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden), similar to the "Ticket to Ride - Nordic countries" version, but also contains cities in the Baltic nations (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Poland, and Russia. It differs from the "Ticket to Ride - Nordic countries" version, in that it recommends a game played with 2-5 players (compared to 2-3 players), and there are 11 bonuses, awarded by fulfilling varying conditions. This edition is mostly available in Scandinavia.

First Journey

Released as an exclusive item in Target stores in 2016, [11] First Journey is designed for children 6 and up. This version is for 2 to 4 players. The board is smaller than the base version, connections are shorter, and game time is quicker. There are no points in this game, but players race to complete six destination tickets. In 2017, Days of Wonder would also create a version for Europe, with the same rules but a European map.

Ticket to Ride Legacy: Legends of the West

On 30 May 2023, [12] [13] Days of Wonder and Asmodee announced the release of this version on 3 November 2023. [12] [14] [15] The game was premiered via a demonstration at Gen Con (3-6 August 2023), [16] before being launched as scheduled in selected retailers and the Asmodee official store, at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $119.99 (US). [12] [17] [14] This version was designed by Alan R. Moon (Ticket to Ride), Matt Leacock (Pandemic), and Rob Daviau (Pandemic Legacy). [12] [14] [18] The recommendation is that it is played with 2-5 players, who are aged 10 or older, for a game lasting between 20–90 minutes. [19] [12] [14]

This version adapts of the original Ticket to Ride concept with the legacy format, i.e. a campaign board game where new content is gradually unlocked, through sealed boxes and envelopes, not only permanently changing the state of the game during play, thus altering the story as it unfolds, but also, permanently transforming the entire game into a unique version, depending on the outcomes of the previous games played. [20] [19] [18] [12] Matt Thrower (IGN), commenting on its legacy structure, wrote "The fashion has moved on to more “resettable” campaigns, but Ticket to Ride: Legacy sees you making permanent changes, resulting in a version of the game that’s unique to you. While it’s good to see this back, those changes feel less personal than they did in the earliest legacy games, and some of the mini-games are gone forever once they’re over. So it’s questionable how often your group might continue playing once the twelve games are up." [21]

This version is a standalone game containing 13 frontier boards, in the form of 13 jigsaw pieces (five of which make up your starting game board), which are unlocked gradually by completing the 12 games of this Ticket to Ride version [18] During this versions 12 stages, players must complete tickets and build their fortune as they go from east to west in 19th-century America, [17] [18] [12] [14] successfully managing their own North American railway company through various campaign adventures. This version uses the original basic rules, with the following additional rules specific to this version:

Adrien Martinot (Days of Wonder Game Line Manager), when describing the game, said “With Legends of the West, each game is different, with the story unfolding one layer at a time. New rules and game elements will punctuate this unique play experience, rife with unexpected events and cunning rivals.” [17] [12] The game creators noted that they deliberately omitted the real-world exploitation of Native Americans and railroad workers, stating that "We found no way to include [these aspects] within the lighter theme of the game”, urging players to research the history in their own time. [18] [20]

The game received largely positive reviews. Matt Thrower (IGN), whilst giving the game a 9 out of 10, wrote "A triumphant new turn on an aging series, proving there’s good mileage in this old rolling stock yet. There’s more than enough novelty here to thrill fans of the franchise without overwhelming less dedicated players, although if you want in, you’ll need to commit to the campaign’s duration." [21] Mollie Russell (Wargamer), whilst also giving the game a 9 out of 10, wrote "Ticket to Ride Legacy is a game that feels great, even if the storytelling doesn’t back its theme up. The simple concept of the original game translates well to a campaign-based experience, and there are enough treats and surprises to engage a legacy fan of any experience level." [18]

Ticket to Ride: Cities Collection

Maps in the Cities Collection features the same gameplay from the Ticket to Ride game series – collect cards, claim routes, draw tickets – on a scaled-down map that allows for a shorter game time.

Ticket to Ride: Map Collections

Starting in 2011, Days of Wonder began releasing expansions consisting of new maps. Each game introduces new rules specific to that version, and requires pieces from either Ticket to Ride: USA, Europe, Germany, or Nordic Countries to play. The following map collections have been released to date: [26]

Card game

Ticket to Ride: The Card Game

The card game was released in the summer of 2008 and includes a similar artistic style and theme, and general game mechanism to the set collection. The card game is playable in 30–45 minutes and supports 2-4 players. Players start with 1 locomotive card and 7 other random train cards in their hands. Players are also dealt 6 destination tickets of which they must keep at least 1. The destination tickets have 1 to 5 coloured dots which match the colours of the train cards. In order to complete a destination ticket, players must move cards from their hand to their rail yard (playing area directly in front of the player), and finally to their on-the-track stack (scoring area). During play, players can "train rob" another player, by playing more of a specific colour than their opponent has in their rail yard. When the train card draws piles are exhausted, the players use the train cards in their on-the-track stack to complete their destination tickets, by matching the coloured train cards with the coloured dots on the destination tickets. Completed tickets are added to the player's score, while uncompleted tickets are subtracted. Additional bonus points are awarded to players who complete the most tickets to the six big cities, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Seattle.

Computer games

Ticket to Ride: Online

Ticket to Ride and most expansions can be played online at Days of Wonder's website. A four-game free trial subscription is available. Due to the major browsers and Adobe discontinuing support for Flash, the future of this version of the game is uncertain.

Ticket to Ride: The Computer Game

Days of Wonder published a computer game developed by Twin Sails Interactive for Windows, OS X, and Linux [34] in 2012 that allowed players to play the original game. Ticket to Ride: Europe, Ticket to Ride: Germany, Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries, USA 1910, Europe 1912, and all Map Collection boards were available as purchasable enhancements to the game. In February 2017 Days of Wonder abandoned Linux support. [35] However, the version available on Steam was playable on Linux. On September 27, 2023 it was announced that this version of the game would be sunsetted to make way for a new version developed by Marmalade Games. It was delisted from PC and mobile storefronts on October 3, 2023. [36]

The game received generally favorable reviews. [37]

The Marmalade Games version released on PC and mobile on November 14, 2023. The only boards playable at launch were the base USA and Europe maps.

This version received mixed reviews on Steam and Google Play on release due to technical issues and a lack of features compared to the previous version.

Ticket to Ride: Xbox Live Arcade

The Xbox Live Arcade version was released on 25 June 2008, and supports play with up to five people on Xbox Live or four people on the same console, and can use the Xbox Live Vision cam. [38]

Ticket to Ride: iPad

The iPad version was released on 18 May 2011 and supports play with up to five people using the Game Center or Days of Wonder's own servers. Its offline mode originally only supported a single player with up to four computer players; however, pass and play was added later.

This version was released with three additional extensions available for purchase and download: Ticket to Ride: Europe; Ticket to Ride: Switzerland; and Ticket to Ride: USA 1910, which itself includes three separate game modes. In August 2012, Ticket to Ride: Legendary Asia was added, [39] and in April 2016, Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries became available. [40]

The iPad version of Ticket to Ride was named the 2011 Digital Game of the Year by the Danish Guldbrikken (The Golden Pawn) Awards, which referred to the game as "the exemplar of how a board game makes the leap to the digital world without compromise. The iPad version dazzles with its superb finish, easy availability and unparalleled expandability, as well as the ability to play on just the iPad or over the Internet." [41]

Ticket to Ride Pocket (iPhone and iPod Touch)

The iPhone version was released on 16 November 2011, which is a simplified version of the iPad game. [42] Online play was added as an update on 2 February 2012, and users can also play a multi-player game on a local network via WiFi or Bluetooth. [43] The company released a redesigned version of the digital game in November 2015. [44]

Ticket to Ride with Alexa Digital Assistant

In 2019, Days of Wonder released an add-on for Amazon's Alexa Digital Assistant for owners of physical copies of Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride: Europe. Alexa serves as a guide to the game rules, and can act as another player if the user chooses. [45]


The game won numerous awards after being released, including the 2004 Spiel des Jahres (Game of The Year). [46]

Mike Fitzgerald calls Ticket to Ride "a game that I never tire of, one that lends itself well to the many expansions that Days of Wonder have released. The design principles it uses are all simple and have been done before, but they have never been put together in a game as compelling as Ticket to Ride." [47] Board Game Quest mentioned that it is "one of the greatest gateway games ever made", [48] and Board Games Land described it as "one of the best family board games ever made". [49] Many of its expansions have also been positively received by critics. [50]


Awards and honours

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride Europe

Ticket to Ride: The Card Game

Ticket to Ride iOS

See also

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