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4.7 out of 5 stars
Ticket To Ride - Marklin
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156 of 158 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2007
The Bavaria/Marklin edition of Ticket to Ride stands alone from the basic (United States) and Europe 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 old 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 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 Bavaria/Marklin edition contains a few differences from the other two, but the main new feature is the introduction of Passengers. Each player gets three little plastic guys who can be sent for a ride along the railway, collecting points at each town/city visited. The longer a player's rail, other things equal, the more points the little fellow can collect. But the value of visiting a town/city drops each time, so there's a nice tension between wanting to send them early (while the places are more valuable) and send them late (when more places have been connected). The addition of this rule (and the large number of points associated with it) really alters the strategy from the other two editions.

I don't know that I've done the games justice. They're truly outstanding. You don't have to care a whit about trains. 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.

I guess I'll end with a single criticism, only because it's related to the hazy word choice I had to use here. For whatever reason -- I won't speculate why -- the designers pitched these games as representing some kind of competition among travelers to visit places. It feels totally artificial. (Why exactly is a railway route unavailable once someone else has traveled it?) I've used neutral language, saying that players "collect" or "take possession" of routes, which they do in the game's backstory by riding the line. But we found it much more comfortable to interpret the game in a robber baron context, with players either building or buying railway lines -- and by the second time we played we were already referring to the claiming of a route as "laying rail." The game plays the same with either interpretation.
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71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 13, 2009
A couple of years ago, my family was introduced by some friends to the USA version of Ticket to Ride. We play a lot of different board games (A LOT) and thought it was pretty fun. I decided to purchase it for my dad for Christmas. What happened next is still slightly a mystery. Logically, I guess I probably messed up and ordered the Marklin/Germany version rather than the USA version, though I still can't believe I made that mistake. However it happened, we ended up with this version showing up in the mail, and we couldn't be happier. The USA version was fun, but the Marklin version is much, much superior. My family plays board games all of the time, and whenever I'm home vising my parents, it's no exaggeration to say that we play this game every night. It's captured all of our imaginations and has provided us with years of fun.

Ticket to Ride: Marklin is similar to the USA version in many ways. The winner is the person who at the end accumulates the most points. Each player draws and chooses several routes at the beginning of the game and then tries to draw cards with the colors corresponding to the tracks that will take you through the towns you need to visit. Of course, there's a limited number of routes between cities, and if other players take your route, you may have to find creative ways to get where you're needing to go. Each track you lay is worth points, and connecting the routes are worth points, too. Each turn consists of either laying a track, drawing cards, choosing new routes, or traveling with a passenger.

It's that last feature--the passengers--that the Marklin version of the game has added, and it makes all the difference in the world. In addition to accumulating points by laying the tracks and connecting cities, each city also has three numbered tiles (for a lack of a better word) on it. For three turns of the game, you may send one of your three passengers down one of the routes you've completed (you can't travel between the same two end-points twice), picking up points from each city on the path.

This changes the game drastically because it means that there are many ways to win (long routes typically win the other versions of the game). You may win with longer routes that accumulate a lot of points, or you may with with shorter routes that have more passenger points along the way. You must plan when you're going to send your traveler, as the other players may beat you to those points. You may also win by completing more routes. You may win by a combination of those strategies.

The effect is that this is a new game every time, and you constantly are having to adapt your strategy to the contingencies on the board. There is a heavy level of strategy, but it's not all strategy. You can be frustrated by bad luck or just by good play by other players. It's also quick moving. Each game takes around forty minutes to an hour, and you are pretty well consumed the entire time. Lastly, that may all sound difficult, but it's not so difficult to catch onto. We've taught a lot of people to play it over the years, and they've enjoyed it and picked it up quickly.

So, I give this my highest recommendation for board games. It's challenging, exciting, and fun, and it's a new game every time you play it. I've played a lot of board games over the years, and I would never hesitate to claim that this one is my favorite.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
The Marklin (Germany) Edition of Ticket To Ride is a lot of fun but not everyone at my gaming table agrees with me (although we are all fans of the Ticket franchise in general). They complain the new passenger mechanic in Marklin adds too much complexity to what should be a simple game as well as too many opportunities for opponents to quickly rack up bonus points. Both are valid criticisms from a certain point of view; however, I happen to think they are strengths, not weaknesses. I will agree that Marklin should probably not be your introduction to Ticket To Ride. You're better off starting out with the original Ticket to Ride (but don't play it without the Days of Wonder Ticket to Ride 1910 Expansion,Ticket to Ride Europe (get the Days of Wonder Ticket to Ride 1912 Expansion) or Days of Wonder Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries Board Game.

Although I love Markin, my favorite edition remains Ticket To Ride Europe since you can't be cut off as easily and it is slightly more complex than the original American version (but not as complex as Marklin). The American version is the most aggressive with many ways to really cut off your opponents. Both games are greatly enhanced by their respective expansion packs; they provide more route tickets to choose from and new rules options (and I won't play the American version any other way). Nordic Countries is a good choice if you usually only have 2-3 players at your table since you can use the double routes that you need a minimum of 4 players to use in the other editions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2011
Ticket to Ride is a fun train building game. Players collect cards to lay tracks between cities. Each player has a secret route to build and may be blocked by other players. Marklin edition adds passengers; players may place passengers and move them to collect points from cities.

I really like the Marklin edition, because I'm not particularly good at building track. Adding passengers increase the variety of strategies available.

I have found that some friends have trouble playing a game with a German map. This game, unlike the regular American Ticket to Ride, uses a German map instead of a US map. As a result, it's difficult for some players to find the cities that they want to connect. (i.e. NY to San Francisco is more familiar than Kiel to Nurnburg) You could teach a little German geography with this game.

Pros
Two player friendly!
Passengers are a nice addition
Rules are excellent
Packaging aids organization and storage of pieces, but the design could be more transparent

Cons
German map is confusing for some
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2010
I bought this game for my husband as a Christmas present. We have played the US edition and enjoyed it very much and my husband saw this one and thoguht it would be a lot of fun. It was easier to learn since we had already played the US version. The addition of an extra 4+ wild card and passengers adds an extra twist to the game. We played with newbies last night without passengers and they also enjoyed it and caught on quickly.

The most challenging part for me is learning the geography of Germany. I now know of cities and their locations in Germany that I never knew existed. If I ever get to travel there I'll have an idea of where I am now.

I'm waiting for them to come out with a version of boats and planes to connect the two versions. The only downside to the game is the limitation of the number of people that can play. Five is the max so if there are 3 couples someone always has to sit out. With us, the person that sits out deals the cards.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
I bought this for my wife for our anniversary. We played it and its was GREAT. At first we were a little nervous because of the riders, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. It was a nice change from Europe (the only other one we have played.) Also the train cards are AMAZING. Each card is a picture of a real train, it was fun getting to see all of them. I would recommend this to anybody, especially Ticket to Ride fans.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
Ticket to Ride Marklin edition is an incredible twist on one of the greatest family board games of all time. I won't get into the play style of Ticket to Ride, but I will comment on the differences this version has compared to the original USA version of Ticket to Ride.

1. This version includes a large board (same size as USA and Europe versions) with a map of Germany on it. Most of the neighboring countries are somewhat included, but the main focus by far is on the German map/cities. There are some routes that take you to the neighboring countries, but not to a specific city, just the country itself.

2. The cards are standard playing card size, as opposed to the small cards in the USA version.

3. There are no tunnels or ferries like there are in the European version.

4. There are several track sections that are over 6 train cars in length (longest length in USA version is 6), with point totals that reflect the increase in difficulty of completing such a section.

5. Score trackers are made of plastic instead of wood, and are shaped so that stacking them is very easy when needed.

6. The train cards each have a different real train car on them, with the model number on the card. Pretty cool feature, especially if you are a train person.

7. There is the addition of a +4 locomotive. This locomotive acts the same way a normal locomotive works, with two exceptions. First, you can only play this locomotive on sections that are four or more trains long, and secondly you can draw two cards instead of only one (like the normal locomotive).

8. In the beginning of the game, each player takes four tickets/route cards in any combination from the long and short route stacks - but must announce the number/combination of cards they take.

9. Passengers - by far the most impactful addition to the Marklin edition. As part of the game setup, there are point tokens that are placed in each city. Some cities have one token, others have up to four tokens stacked one on top of the other as determined in the rules. These tokens are worth a varying number of points from 2-7. Each player also receives three passenger pieces. During your turn, when you lay down a section of trains, you have the option of also putting a passenger in one of the two cities that your train section touches. Your passenger will then hang out in that city until you decide to use a turn to move it (it takes your turn to move a passenger, meaning you cannot perform any other actions this turn). When you move your passenger, it must be along a route that you have ownership of, and your passenger can travel to as many cities as possible/desired. If there is another passenger blocking the way, your passenger cannot travel through that city. Once your passenger has finished travelling, it is removed from the game. During your passenger's travels, you take the top point marker off of the stack in each city your passenger travels through. Once your turn is over, you add your point total up from each city and add it to your score.

10. Passenger cards are mixed in with the train cards in the draw pile, and are drawn using the same rules as the train cards. Playing a passenger card from your hand allows your passenger to "buy a ticket" on another player's section of trains, meaning your passenger can use a section that you don't own to travel to the next city. This allows for a much greater travel distance for your passenger as long as you have saved up some passeneger cards.

If you haven't played Ticket to Ride, do yourself a favor and play! I haven't played with anyone who doesn't end up loving the game. It is easy to learn and play, and the fun continues even after having played hundreds of times. For 2-5 players, these games are well worth the higher price tag due to production quality. The only issue I can see is having younger children, you may lose some pieces - although it comes ready for such a situation, as there are extra pieces in a separate baggie just in case you do lose some. The Marklin edition of Ticket to Ride adds a very specific and different tactic in the addition of the passenger, and makes the game a bit more difficult, but not extremely so. Great game for all, an instant classic!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2013
After seeing how much my daughter-in-law enjoyed 'Ticket to Ride: Europe' during one of our game nights, I decided to get her a T2R of her own, opting for the Marklin edition. Little did I realize how much I would enjoy this version!!

Aesthetically, this is the most visually stunnning of the base games. The cards are absolutely beautiful, and the board and trains are also very nicely done. But those are just niceties...the real difference is in the game play. While the heart of the game is still building city-to-city links to fulfill destination tickets, The addition of a new level of strategy is introduced via 'Passengers', which allow you to travel along your routes picking up point tokens along the way. Also, there's a 10-point bonus given for most completed tickets rather than for longest train. These two changes give the game a different feel altogether. Whie it's not exactly a brain-burner by any stretch of the imagination, it does give you different ways to proceed.

However, there are two drawbacks to this game. First, the setup is more arduous (if you're using passengers). You need to place 1-4 scoring tokens in each city, which makes the set-up time longer than most T2R games. It also can be a bit of a chore to remove one from the city as your passenger passes through, trying to surigically extract it from among the trains leading into the city. Second, the colors used for the trains are not all the same as the US and Europe versions, and the distribution of train cards (with it's +4 locomotives and Passenger cards) give the game a unique character, but this could also hinder it hen trying to utilize some of the expansions.

But all-in-all, this is my favorite base game of the series, hands-down!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2011
TTR; Marklin was my 2nd delve into the realm of European games (Carcassonne was the first). My love of board games is officially back! This is absolutely a must own. I won't go into another full description of game play, but the mix of strategy, ease of play, and fun is astounding. I will say that as a couple we love this game, but I will be purchasing TTR; Europe as the cut throatedness is seemingly turned down quite a bit with the addition of stations. It's not a major issue, but the choice of a TTR advanced strategy and TTR less confrontational seems like a nice mix. I enjoy deeper strategy. She enjoys route completion.

Again, this a must own in my opinion. I will have more Europe style games to review soon. Pandemic is on the way, and Puerto Rico is on the to do list. You won't regret this purchase. Good luck, and happy gaming...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
Ticket Ride Marklin is a good strategy game. No single strategy dominates others. It is 93% strategy and 7% luck. There are only 2 luck elements 1.) when a player draws from the top of the deck. Sometimes you will get the card that you need, sometimes you won't. 2.) When you choose destination tickets and you happen to get a few routes that are very similar. Every other decision you make is pure skill and strategy. The turns are quick and the game moves. (pun intended) It usually takes my fiance and I 30-40 minutes to play one game.
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