Ticket to Ride game
by Amanda Nettgen
Ticket to Ride Game for XBox 360
Video game manufacturer:
Playful/Days of Wonder
Number of players:
Ticket to Ride is a steam-powered strategy game. It forces you to focus while delivering plenty of healthy competition.
The game and gameplay
Now I haven’t played the Ticket to Ride board game before, but based on the other reviews on this site, the Xbox 360 version appears to be pretty similar. The main distinctions are of course the achievements, and the ability to play with others on Xbox LIVE.
The first order of business is to decide who you will be playing with. If you think you’re good enough for Xbox LIVE, there are achievements specifically for that. Otherwise you can play a Local Match with up to four additional people (real or AI). Now is also the time to stake your claim on a route color if you don’t end up with the default of purple.
Upon loading the map you will be immediately presented with three Destination Tickets, of which you must choose at least two. They’re basic in that all they show are the two cities and the point value. Highlight a card to get a scope of what it means for you on the map.
The AIs/other players will do the same, with the humans being encouraged to look away when it’s not their go (which can be awkward). I recommend only acquiring a total of 2-3 Destination Tickets per game if you’re a beginner, as these babies will cost you in the end if you fail to complete them!
The set-up of the Ticket to Ride game for the Xbox 360 is very nice. My only complaints are that some of the route colors are hard to see and that a few of the rules are lacking in explanation during the Tutorial round. To the left you’ll see all player scorecards, including your Gamer pic, of which mine happens to be Pinky from Pacman at this time (kind of funny to see in this game).
The scorecard lists a player’s number of trains, Destination Tickets, Train Cards and points. Your three options of Draw Train Cards, Draw Destination Tickets, or Claim Route are presented to you in a flashing manner every turn whilst Help is on (turn it on/off with a quick tap of the A button). Finally, a scroll of your Destination Tickets (including completed ones) can be found in the lower right corner.
You start with 45 trains and 4 Train Cards. Much of your time during the game will be spent drawing the latter, as these are your only currency for acquiring railroad routes in the first place. Once you have enough to claim a route (indicated by the number of colored dashes in between two points), use a turn to mark your territory using the A button.
Some of the routes are expensive/difficult to obtain but are worth a lot of points, and Locomotive (rainbow) Cards are wild.
Throughout the game you will want to concentrate on satisfying your Destination Tickets while also forming big, connected chains, as the player with the longest single route will score bonus points at the end. The idea is not to be aware of other player’s Destinations, as I think it would turn it into too much of an offense/defense matter rather than making actual progress.
When someone is running low on trains, a final round will occur. This tends to happen fairly fast in say, a two-player game. Your running point total will be added or subtracted with your Destination Cards and the longest train chain bonus will be awarded. This involves a racing train animation, which you can opt to skip but is supposed to be part of the “experience”.
Pros and cons
Fans of The Ticket to Ride enterprise aren’t likely to be disappointed. It’s an interesting little game that has no time limit when playing offline (good for thinking). You can play against Easy, Medium, or Hard AIs (or online) for those times when your friends are even farther than a caboose away.
Ticket to Ride won’t enthrall everybody. You need to find it to be quirky, delight in strategy, or appreciate achievements to enjoy it. Also if you only have a Silver account and often find yourself playing alone, you may start to question what the purpose of it all is.
After playing this game, you’re likely to add it to the mental list that includes the Boxcar Children, the Hogwarts Express, Aerosmith’s “Train Kept a Rollin'”, and others as a top thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “railroad”. It is more ideal (and scores higher) for those with an Xbox Gold account vs. those with a Silver.