Traveling through Europe by train, ferry and tunnel...
Hello my wonderful readers! In today's post, we are going to be taking a look at the card-drafting, route-laying twist on a classic, Ticket to Ride: Europe, a 2-5 player game designed by Alan R. Moon and published by Days of Wonder in 2005.
1) Train Stations
Let's start by looking at the newest plastic addition that makes an appearance in Ticket to Ride: Europe, train stations! Train stations are lovely new addition to to this version of TTR that help to mitigate some of the potential negative interaction that can arise by way of blocking. In classic Ticket to Ride, once a route is taken by one player, it can not be claimed by any other player. In this version, however, routes can actually be "shared" by more than one player. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being blocked by another player, you can opt to go around or you can spend cards to build train stations in the city that you are trying to get to. This allows you to essentially "borrow" that route that had previously blocked you when you are completing your tickets at the end of the game.
While train stations can be vitally useful, though, they also come at a cost. In addition to spending cards and a whole turn to place one, each train station that you DON'T use will gain you an extra 4 points at the end of the game. So if you can manage without them, you'll be rewarded. What I love most about this addition is that it provides players a new option for handling the blocking that happens so often in TTR with a very simple rule addition that doesn't bog down play at all.
Another great little twist in this version comes in the form of a new type of route that can be found on the board: tunnels. Tunnels (which our outlined in black as you can see above), are a riskier form of travel than classic train routes. When attempting to claim a tunnel route, you will play your train cards and then flip 3 random cards from the top of the train card deck. For each card that comes up that matches the color you are trying to play, you will have to play an EXTRA card in order for your route to be successful... That is, if you have an extra card to play. If not, you will have wasted your turn and will have to try again next time.
I love the push-your-luck option that this provides players. You by no means ever HAVE to use a tunnel, but they are often times more convenient methods of getting between locations if you can manage to pull them off.
3) Ticket Changes
Last but not least, we have yet another small change that makes a big difference. That change would be the introduction of tiered route cards. In the original Ticket to Ride, all of the route cards are shuffled into one big deck. While this typically isn't an issue, really bad or really good luck can happen. One player could draw a bunch of 5 point ticket cards while another player could draw a bunch of 20 point ticket cards... not always fair. In this version, every player will get dealt a large route card, and the remainder of the cards (which are all smaller, lower value) routes are shuffled and can be gained at random.
Small changes can make big differences.
What's your favorite version of Ticket to Ride?