Review: Ticket to Ride – Europe
Published: Sunday 2005-05-01.
TTRE is basically the same game as the original Ticket to Ride, with some minor differences and additions. The biggest difference is of course that you now play in Europe around 1901, which makes the geography of the map somewhat different. This has led to a couple of additions: To overcome water you need ferries, and to build through the mountains you need to drill tunnels. You can also build stations. Since I have described the original game before, I will only explain the differences here:
Ferries are simple: On the routes that require ferries you have to use a locomotive card (wildcard) corresponding to the number of locomotive symbols on the ferry, so it is not enough to just have a lot of cards of the same colour.
Tunnels are somewhat more complicated, as you don’t know in advance the number of cards needed. First you have to play the number of cards corresponding to the length of the route, then you draw the three top train cards from the draw pile and have to pay as many extra cards as you find cards of the same colour you played.
Stations may be used if you are unable to tie your destinations together, because another player has already built the route. By placing a station you can use one (and only one) of your opponents’ routes to that one city. Using stations costs victory points (each player scores four points for each station he or she did not build), but if a station is the difference between being able to claim a route worth 20 points or not, it is worth it.
A big difference between the European map and the American one in the original TTR is that there are a lot more short routes in Europe, something that is not entirely unrealistic since there are many cities to connect, and many stops. This is however compensated by there now being a route of length eight (Stockholm-Petrograd). In addition, this route is a tunnel, so it is probably rather hard to actually build it (no-one tried today). There are also few double routes, but that is compensated by the number of alternative routes.
Another difference is that the tickets are split in two piles: Long routes and short routes. At the beginning of the game each player receives one long route and three short, and after that only the short routes are available. This evens out the distribution somewhat.
We played a game with three players today, it was me, Ivar and Ulrik. I’m not quite sure why, but I have really managed to figure out the right strategy of this game, I won today, and I have also managed to win the original TTR several times before (which is of course one of the reasons why I bought the game...). In addition, I managed to get three tickets that were in the same direction, and thus quite easy to fulfil. When I later in the game drew more tickets I also managed to get one ticket that I had already built.
During the game there was only one station placed, by Ivar at the end of the game, since he was unable to get to Angora without it, and if he hadn’t been able to he would have lost a lot more than the four points that the station was worth. I never built any tunnels, but both Ulrik and Ivar did. Most of the time, this worked out just fine, either they didn’t need any extra cards, or had enough cards on hand. One time was a bit extreme, though—Ivar was building a tunnel with three blue cards and drew two blue and one joker. He had to abandon building that round.
However, you are returned the cards you tried to build the tunnel with, and since so many blue cards had then been played it was quite easy to build the tunnel the next round.
All in all I think the conclusion was that this was a nice sequel to Ticket to Ride (even though Ulrik wasn’t overly enthusiastic at losing). But if you already own Ticket to Ride I think you manage just as well with the original. I bought it since I did not own the original myself.