Ticket To Ride United Kingdom Review
Get On Board
The biggest board game success story since that top-hat-wearing fool tried to Monopolise the London property market has to be Alan R Moon’s Ticket to Ride. The original game pulled into the station in 2004 with its simple gameplay and colourful components taking the world by storm. After only ten years of its release, it had sold over three million copies and has continued to break the bank in the decade since. For those of you who have yet to jump on board, the rules are simple. There is a central map, (in the original game it was the USA but there has since been a European core game released as well) and all across it are a series of coloured tracks that connect all the major cities. At the beginning of the game, each player receives a set amount of little plastic trains in their chosen colour and three tickets showing pairs of cities. Your job in Ticket to Ride United Kingdom is to complete those tickets by connecting them using your trains. Do so and you get points. If you do not, then you lose those points. Sounds easy right? So how do you put those cute little carriages down? You need to collect train cards of the same colour matching whatever track you want to lay down. If you want that little connection between LA and San Fran then you will need either three pink cards or a mix of pink and wild cards. Once you do, you can trade them and place your trains, collecting points for each time you place. The longer the track the more points that placement is worth. On your turn you have three options. You can either pick two cards from the card market, (blind from the deck or from the face up options) adding to your unlimited hand. Or you can discard cards to place trains and score some points. Finally, if all is going well and you have completed some of your tickets you can draw some more. This is the real spice of the game. Get greedy and you won’t finish all of your tickets and lose out big time at the end of the game. But get lucky and you can draw tickets you have accidentally completed already! The iend game is triggered when any player has only four trains or less remaining and all points are tallied. As well as scoring as you go along, you add or deduct your ticket points as well as reward the player with the longest continuous track.
Much like Monopoly it didn’t take long for Days of Wonder to utalise the power of local appeal. But unlike the big ‘M’, Ticket to Ride realised that in order to treat your audience with the respect they deserve, slapping a skin onto the product wasn’t going to cut it. And so they started releasing new maps that offered different mechanisms into the game. For this giant, beardy Welshman, it didn’t take me long to find that there was a map that included my motherland and so opened my patriotic purse and bought it. The first thing to realise about the United Kingdom edition, from 2015 is that you will need a core box to play, whether USA or Europe. The second thing to realise is it also comes with a map for Pennsylvania. It has become almost a tradition that with every alternate country edition, on the reverse is another state to add to the original USA’s portfolio but I will get to that a little later. But first, the United Kingdom. This map is split up into the different countries but what makes this map interesting is that, being at the dawn of the rail network you will need to develop your technology in order to travel between countries. This comes in the form of cards that cost a certain amount of automotive/wild cards. If you want to travel to Cardiff then spend one card on your turn and get the welsh concession technology card. There are also lots of other technologies that will upgrade your automotive experience. You will need propellers if you want to claim ferry routes or a steam boiler if you want to claim 4/5/6 length routes. This whole mechanism adds so much more decision making to the game and pushes you to go in specific routes (pun always intended). It also makes the wild cards so much more valuable and so the moment one pops up in the market, someone is sure to snap it up.
This new map also adds a new mechanism. The stock shares, an element never before used in Ticket to Ride, add a great deal of strategy. Most routes on the Pennsylvania map are marked with one or more railroad company logos. When you play trains on a route, you choose a stock certificate from one of the pictured companies. The largest company, naturally enough, is the Pennsylvania Railroad with 15 shares. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad has 10 shares, the Erie Lackawanna Railway has eight, the Reading Railroad has seven, and so on down to the smallest – the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway – which has just two shares. At the end of the game, players score points based on how many shares they own in each company. Some of the longest routes, offer no stock shares, just the normal points for claiming those routes. Again, this map adds a lot more decision space with players chasing stocks rather than longest routes or completing lots of tickets.
This collection, for me, adds some of the most exciting and interesting mechanisms into the game. The stocks are great but what really shines in the Ticket To Ride United Kingdom map and all of its technologies. If you have played the base game enough for it to get a little stale then jump on board and buy a ticket for the sunny isle of Great Britain!
This blog was written by Dan Street Phillips