RBG #9: Ticket to Ride Europe
Designer: Alan R. Moon
Publisher: Days of Wonder
Genre: Strategy, German-Style
Number of Players: 2-5 Players
Release Date: 2005
Score: 9 / 10
Let me state something right now, I know it is the holiday season. It would make sense that we at the RBG would review a Christmas or holiday themed board game right? WELL WRONG! We at the RBG haven’t found a Christmas themed game that we would actually like to sit down and incorporate into our monthly gaming session. So if you have any holiday themed/inspired board or card games you would like us to try, leave us a comment. For now we will check out a staple for when our family comes around and we feel like taking capitalism in our own hands…Ticket to Ride Europe.
Once you open the box, Ticket to Ride Europe can look rather menacing, especially for anyone who isn’t used to playing an actual tabletop game. But no need to be wary, as the game is rather simple. Overall your goal is to become the largest train/railroad baron in all of Europe and snuff out the competition along the way. You do this by earning the most points by building trains and completing tickets, which essentially serve as your “goals” for the entirety of the game. You build trains by collecting train cards of the same color to match a designated rail on the board. A match ends once one player only has 0-2 trains remaining in their depot.
Now, let me elaborate on these tickets for a second. Each player is given a ticket to start, which is typically worth around 20 points. This is your primary route to focus around, in which I recommend you do so. I suggest this because you actually lose the number of points displayed if you are unable to complete it. If you finish your destination route quickly or you just feel like being risky, you can spend any turn taking 1-3 tickets though there is a catch. If you do choose to take this option, then you MUST take at least one ticket despite the outcome.
As kind of alluded to in the title, Ticket to Ride Europe is not the original Ticket to Ride. The original game has expanded into many different regions and territories. Just to name a few we have:
- Ticket to Ride
- Ticket to Ride Europe
- Ticket to Ride Marklin
- Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries
- Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails
While the primary difference is a unique map based on a different location, Ticket to Ride Europe changes things up a bit. Europe is the first game in the series to introduce new kinds of routes, such as tunnels and ferries. When building a tunnel, you have to draw the top 3 cards off of the deck to see if they match your color. If they do, then you have to pay additional cards for each one. This is to signify damage or complications with that rail. When building a ferry, you must include at least one locomotive (wild). Europe also introduced a new feature focusing on the use of train stations. If you pay one card (or 2 or 3, depending on which station you are on) you can build aforementioned station at the end of an opponents route, allowing you access. This can be a game-changer depending on its use, as it does score you points in the end-game if left unused.
As for appearances, the board’s artwork isn’t much to flaunt over. While it is a rather detailed and accurate map of Europe, it leaves quite a bit to be desired. The individual train pieces though are made of plastic and have a good amount of detail put into their design. The detail isn’t limited to the pieces, as the artwork on each color train card is pleasant and stylistically fits with the rest of the theme.
Once you get past the intimidation of this (and possibly your first) big box game, Ticket to Ride Europe can easily become a holiday staple! I have had my copy for a few years now and every time family comes to visit, they request to play. It brings out just the right amount of competitiveness among everyone that when you crush them, it feels great. Oh and they will hold it against you and then six months later they will attempt to crush you again. But will they? Fun fact, Ticket to Ride Europe is one of a few games that even my parents play…and aren’t half bad.
So for the most part, I hope you will enjoy Ticket to Ride Europe as much as I have. Europe will always have a special place in our family gatherings, slowly tearing us apart as we fight for control over the rails. For just a little dive into the world of German tabletop games, snag your own copy for the holidays.
Interested in more tabletop games like Ticket to Ride Europe? Be sure to watch out for the next issue and follow my Bacon Bits for a sneak peak at what the next issue might hold. Be sure to also check out everything else Nerd Bacon has to offer over in Beyond Bacon.
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