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on January 10, 2006
Ticket to Ride Europe is perhaps the best game of its kind. And part of what makes this easy to say is Ticket is really quite innovative and in a class of its own. I'll provide a short and detailed review for those interested.

Ticket to Ride revolves around collecting different cards that correspond to a color. Those cards are then used to build railway lines of that color on the gameboard (a map of Europe). Each player is trying to build certain routes from city to city in return for points. But there are only so many ways to get from place to place and the intrigue of the game is balancing when to collect more cards used to build rails and when to play cards to make sure you secure that critical link in your transcontinental railway. Ticket to Ride, as I mentioned above, is a great "gateway" game because it's not a classic board game style (e.g. Monopoly, Sorry, Cranium, etc.) and so those who are new to the "enhanced board game" field (e.g. Settlers of Catan, Axis and Allies, Pirate's Cove, etc.) will still be comfortable playing Ticket to Ride. The rules are pretty straight-forward and the game moves quickly. It also takes less then an hour.

Longer Version

Ticket to Ride revolves around getting rail cards of certain colors and securing city-to-city lines of that color. The colors of the rail lines vary and the trick to this game is getting to where you need to go in the most efficient manner.

The game starts with everyone receiving "tickets." These tickets have two cities on them and a point value. Your goal is to pick a few of these tickets to try and make a railway between the cities during the game. You try to pick routes that are overlapping and, throughout the game, you can choose new tickets. But, you never know what routes you'll get and any tickets you don't accomplish by game's end are worth negative points.

Once everyone has chosen their initial tickets, play commences. Each player may choose two of five face-up rail cards (the color cards discussed above that you use to lay rail of that color). Or, you can choose to take 3 new tickets (of which you must keep at least 1) or take two face-down rail cards (so you risk getting colors you can't use yet). The final option on your turn is, instead of taking any cards, you can lay rail using your cards. I won't go into detail here but suffice it to say you can only lay one city-to-city rail line at a time and you must use the required color or colors.

Play continues like this as each player tries to complete his or her route while taking new tickets to branch off into additional routes. The game ends when someone runs out of rails (which can happen suddenly). After a few games, the turns go quickly and the game is fairly fast-paced.

The Original

I would be overlooking a whole population of readers if I didn't comment on the differences between Ticket to Ride Europe and the original Ticket to Ride (which takes place in the United States). Europe adds the ability to build stations which allow you to piggy-back from one city to another on another player's rail line. These cost you points, however, so should only be used sparingly. Again, I won't dive into the details, but stations are necessary to Europe since now you start the game with a long route that is sometimes hard to reach without using a station (or two in worst-case situations).

Europe also adds "locomotive" cards which are essentially wild cards. You can use them as any color rail but they are also needed for certain lines (e.g. to get from London to any city, you'll have to build across water and this requires a locomitive card). And as I mentioned above, another change in Europe is that you often start with a long route that is worth 20 or more points.

Summary

Overall, Ticket to Ride Europe is a fun game that even those used to traditional board games will probably enjoy. For those who like extremely complex strategy games, this isn't one. But even still, this is still a great game that you will likely enjoy for its quick and versatile gameplay. It even won me over, and I'm more towards games like Risk 2210 and Settlers of Catan Knights and Cities.

I strongly recommend this game. To learn more or play a demo, go to the Days of Wonder website and check it out (but it can't beat playing at home with friends!).
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on August 5, 2010
Ticket to Ride Europe is an improved follow-up to the original Ticket to Ride. It improves upon the original by coming with standard-sized cards, by adding ferry and tunnel routes, and by adding train stations. It is a stand-alone spin off, so the original TTR is not required to play.

Much like the original TTR, TTR:Europe involves claiming train routes to complete city-to-city destinations on destination tickets. On each turn, players have take one out of three possible actions:
-- collect train cards (which are used to claim routes)
-- claim a route (by spending train cards). The routes score points as they are claimed, and their point value grows progressively with length: 1 length = 1 point, 2 length = 2 points, 3 length = 4 points, 4 length = 7 points, 6 length = 15 points, 8 length = 21 points).
-- take destination tickets (which give bonus points if you are able to complete the destination by the end of the game, but COST points if you are not able to complete). The player takes 3 destination cards and must keep at least one card, but has the option to reject up to two. The makes it a bit of a gamble - the player may get destination tickets they already have completed, or they may get destinations that are difficult to impossible to complete. The destinations can be close city connections worth a few points or cross continent connections worth 20 points.

Since each turn involves only one of three possible actions, the turns move very quickly and keep everyone engaged in the game. If you take your turn and get up to get a drink, it will usually be your next turn before you get back to the table. The scoring is fairly well balanced, and since you don't know what destinations other players have or haven't completed, the score can change dramatically at the end of the game.

Unlike the original TTR, there are two new route types that add a twist to the game. The first is the 'ferry' route. These are all 'any color' routes, but they take one or two locomotive (wild) cards to claim. The second is the 'tunnel' route. These are either a specific color or 'any color'. When a player wishes to claim a tunnel route, they state their intention and three train cards are drawn from the top of the deck. For each card that is the same color as the route, the player must add that many cards to complete the route, so it could cost anywhere from zero to three extra cards to build. If the player is unable to add enough cards to claim the route, the turn is over.

The other addition to the TTR:Europe that is not in TTR:USA are the train stations. The train stations allow a player to use the route of another player in order to complete a destination ticket. These can prove very useful when the right cards aren't coming your way, or if a section of the board get clogged by other players. They come with a cost: 1 card to place the 1st, 2 cards to place the second, 3 cards to place the 3rd, and a 4 point penalty for each station placed at the end of the game. However, if the station helps to complete a route, the 4 point penalty is usually a worthwhile tradeoff.

TTR:Europe even has bit of educational value. The city names are in their local names, so Moskow=Moskva, Munich=Munchen, Rome=Roma, Vienna=Wien, etc.

If you are looking for a game to add to your game nights, consider Ticket to Ride Europe. If you are on the fence between the USA version and the Europe version, you'll be happier with the Europe version.
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on August 3, 2007
The Europe edition of Ticket to Ride stands alone from the basic (United States) and Bavaria/Marklin editions of the game, both in the narrow sense that it is not an "expansion set" to those games, but also in the broader sense that it's a lot more than just the original game with a different map. The rules are fairly similar, so learning all three games only takes a modest amount of time, but the differences across the games alter the strategies a fair bit. Each one feels like a distinct experience.

For those unfamiliar with the series, here's what they all have in common: There is a game board indicating routes among a bunch of cities. The object of the game is to amass the most points, and in one way or another those points come from collecting the routes strategically. Collecting any route between two places will generate points, but each player holds hidden Ticket Cards indicating longer routes of special importance to that person, and stringing together little routes to make this longer connection adds to the payoff (whereas failing to do so imposes a penalty). How do the players take possession of routes? They take turns drawing cards that, when collected into sets, determine which routes they can use, and eventually they start using those cards to claim routes. The main random element is the timing of when those cards turn up in the deck.

The Europe edition contains a few differences from the other two. One difference is that claiming routes is more complicated in this edition. The cost of claiming certain routes is uncertain until you actually try to do it, and some routes require special wild cards to claim (allowing the possibility of a long bottleneck as a player tries to score one of those cards). More important, in terms of changing the gameplay, is the combination of two features: the Train Station rule and the denser map. Whereas an offensive strategy can be effective in the other two games, blocking routes needed by other players, this game offers more feasible routes for connecting cities and allows players to use each others' rails as long as they pay the relatively modest cost of building a station. Gameplay therefore differs significantly between this edition and the others.

Forced to choose, I'd say the Europe edition is the weakest of the three because random elements influence the outcome more than in the other two. Often a player can win right near the end of the game simply by claiming a route from nowhere to nowhere that's worth lots of points. But my family loves all three of them. You don't have to care a whit about trains. You don't have to worry about the backstory provided by the designers, which we found implausible and tossed out in favor of a conventional "robber baron" interpretation of the action. Even small children can enjoy these games, as long as they focus on the pleasure of successfully connecting things instead of focusing on beating the older players. (A suggestion: Keep a pad of paper in the box and track the child's points so that the competition is personal rather than with the adults.) The pace is especially fast, as each player takes turns drawing cards or claiming routes. (My family likes to play a board game while we eat but this one moves so quickly that we have a hard time doing both at the same time.) The boards are gorgeous, the pieces colorful and sturdy. We have just been thrilled with these purchases.
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on January 13, 2012
I read the reviews on this game and watched some YouTube video reviews as well and decided to purchase it for some new euro style gaming. I previously had purchased another euro style game called Carcassonne which is now a family favorite (or should I say favourite) and I was looking for something else to add to the gaming mix.

Ticket To Ride Europe fit with what I was looking for. I first compared the two prominent versions of the game: the USA map to the Europe map and read comparison reviews on them both before deciding to buy. I went with the Europe version of the game because it seems there were more route paths to connect your cities compared to the USA map. What I did not expect was the names of the European cities to be really old and spelled differently than what I am used to now. I think it was done this way to fit into the time period, but not being that familiar with the old names of the European cities it was difficult for us to determine our various routes. The route cards do show a mini map though with highlights in the general area of the two cities you need to connect, but it is still a bit difficult especially for the younger kids in the family. What this means is that we need to take extra time in looking at our route cards and the map to decide on our paths to build.

Other than getting used to the city names the only other minor downside I see in the game is that there are so many train pieces. You have to be really careful not to drop them all over the place when picking up. The game does come with 2 extra train pieces per color which is good in case you lose a couple. After that though you may have to dock everyone a piece if you really start losing some (or buy a new game).

Regarding the game play, it is great! Not too difficult to learn at all and once everyone knows what they have to do it moves along at a good pace. Although our initial games of 4 and then 5 people lasted about 2.5 hours each to play which everyone thought was a bit too long. The non players passing through the room kept making comments like "You guys are STILL playing that game?!?!" and "When the hell is it going to be over already?!?". But those of us playing the game were not fatigued at all by the amount of time it was taking us to get through it. I think it is conceivable to have a game last maybe 1.5 hours on average.

Overall, the family really liked this game. It is definitely a must for a unique and new type of gaming experience that is interactive and not just your boring roll the dice and move type thing. I will be getting the Ticket To Ride 1912 Expansion pack for this game as well since I have read it adds a couple more elements to the play in addition to some new route cards.

UPDATE: It has been about 1 year now since I had the game and I did get the 1912 expansion which adds a ton more route cards to the game. We have been playing this game so much that the base routes kept coming up and it was getting a bit boring. It seemed like we were always getting the same routes game after game. The 1912 Expansion is a MUST. My family is addicted to this game and even more so with the 1912 expansion. This is a GREAT GAME.
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on May 8, 2009
To anyone considering this game that hasn't played the original Ticket To Ride, I'd recommend checking out the US version's reviews first. The short version of pretty much all the reviews is: the game is wonderful, you won't be disapointed.

Compared to the original, this game isn't quite as fun. Not much has changed in this version. The map is very different, there are now tunnels and express ways (or something like that) that limit how you can claim your routes, and there are the addition of the train stations, but ultimately these new additions do not add to the experience significantly, and the tighter board makes for a somewhat more stressful experience. This should not deter anyone interested in another ticket to ride though: this game is still very fun.

If you're getting this game for a younger kid(say, 8 or younger), I'd recommend getting the original first, as the train station rules can confuse adults as well as kids.
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on September 17, 2015
Ticket to Ride Europe is a great game to add to your library of tabletop games. I never wanted to play the original Ticket To Ride because it had one major flaw (in my opinion), getting blocked. Now you might be thinking, "Isn't that part of the game and strategy even?" and you'd be right, it is, until it happens to you and then the game sucks, and life sucks, and you hate your friends, and trains, and you're glad you never rode a train. Yep, that's pretty much what's like. Unless you're the person who ALWAYS wins and everyone hates and you don't care cause you ALWAYS win. And you happen to be the owner of the game.
Anyways, Europe version helps to nullify that, though it can still happen, it's less frequent. This is done by the addition of 3 train stations each player starts with at the beginning of the game. Throughout the game players can play a station on a city connected to one of their trains which allows them to "use" another player's train route touching that city as if it was her own. For example; Sue blocks John by building a train from Rome to Milan, John plays a trains station on Rome and then uses Sue's train (the one she just built) as if it was his own, to complete his route.

And that's it, and that's why I give it 4 stars instead of 2, like I would the original. It adds a few other interesting elements but is generally the same as the original.

If you're on the fence about this one I'd lean towards getting it. And that's saying something because I really really dislike the original.
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on August 11, 2014
One of my very favorite board games! Since there are lots of reviews about this game in general, I'll write mine in comparison to the original "America" one.

"Ticket to Ride: Europe" is a stand-alone, full board game made of the same quality and durability as the original. The train pieces are plastic, the point markers are wood, and the board is heavy-duty and the same dimensions as the America one. The biggest improvement over the America version is that the train and ticket cards are all full-size instead of mini half-size of the original America version, so you don't need to buy an expansion simply to get larger, easier-to-handle cards.

In many ways, "Europe" feels much more balanced than the America version, with more double paths and more tracks in general to get to different cities, where in the America version you could get blocked much easier. Also in the Europe version, the long 20-point routes are separated at the start and each player is randomly dealt 1 along with 3 other short/normal sized routes to choose from. This ensures that every player has the chance to complete a large cross-continent route, which was often the winning strategy of the America board - but only if you happened to of had a long route dealt to you at the start. The inclusion of the new station markers allows you to utilize one of your opponents route segments so you can finish a ticket without building parts of the route. This is really useful in crowded areas of the board where you are unable to build a route.

However, don't let these things fool you - there are other elements that increase the difficulty (and entertainment) of "Ticket to Ride: Europe". There are a few routes that are MUCH longer than any routes in the America version that take much more effort to complete. "Ferries" and "tunnels" make even short routes trickier to build: ferries require you to use a certain amount of rainbow locomotive cards to complete while tunnels may require extra cards from your hand depending on a random draw from the deck. These elements can keep even the best strategist in check and allow less experienced players to have a chance at winning.

I personally also enjoy that the cities on the board are given their historical local names rather than their Americanized names, so the game acts as a bit of a geography lesson for those unfamiliar with Europe.

I'm still a fan of the original America version; it has its own quirks and balance so I can't say I prefer one over the other. If you enjoy the Ticket to Ride series and would like to buy some of the expansion boards (like the "Asia" or "Africa" boards) but don't own either base set, I might recommend the Europe game over the America one just because of the full-size train and ticket cards.
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on November 15, 2005
Part of the brilliance of the original Ticket to Ride was how easy it was to explain and play. A great gateway game. This is pretty much the exact same game with a different board and about 3-4 new rules. In my opinion they do a great job of making the game harder to understand, but don't really make it necessary to have better strategy. In fact the new rules make it easier to get to your destination, thus removing the tenseness of the original.

Bottom Line: If you like tense games, go with the original. If you like more complex games, go with this one.
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on September 1, 2015
Awesome game. Involved but not too long. Best version of it to us and family.
Different members of our extended families have adopted some of their own house rules even. Beats monopoly all to death.

Update 1-2-2016 We play this regularly with friends and family. It is one of top games we play regularly. Great for 3-5 persons. We gave it as a gift to a few friends and family this year. We still highly recommend.
Hope this helps someone as a review.
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on December 10, 2005
When I first read the rules for this game, I worried that it would be too complex, but the gameplay really isn't that hard to master, and it quickly becomes an addictive playing experience. The beautiful board is a great opportunity to teach European geography - and languages! - to kids and a wonderful conversation starter with adult players about places they have been or would like to go. The pace is quick, and the little train pieces are fun to play with. Even our four year old will sit quietly to watch us play if we give her a few train pieces.

I'm now eager to play more games by the Days of Wonder line because I enjoy Ticket to Ride Europe so much!
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