Ticket to Ride – Board Game Review

ticket to ride strategic board game reviewed by developing human brain



30-60 [min]

Time to Play 





What is in the Box?

ticket to ride europe what is inside the game box

Game Components:

  • Game Board
    Foldable game board with a Europe Map illustrated on it. The board folds into 6 parts.
  • Trains
    45 trains of 5 colors (red, green, yellow, blue and black) + additional 3 trains of each color.
  • Train Stations
    15 Train stations, 3 red stations, 3 yellow stations, 3 green stations, 3 black stations and 3 blue ones.
  • Scoring Markers
    5 Wooden scoring marker for each of the available colors (red, green, black, blue and red).
  • Train Cards
    110 Train cards of different colors. The available train cards colors are: pink, black, white, yellow, green, blue and red. Wild cards are also part of the train cards deck and can be used as any color train card during the game.
  • Destination Cards
    6 Long Destination Cards and 40 Short Destination Cards.
  • Scoring Table Card.
  • +10 Longest Route Bonus Card.
  • Rule Book.

Available Train Cards:

ticket to ride train cards available

Available Destination  Cards:

ticket to ride board game destination cards

Who is the Game for?

Who Should Play?

Ticket to Ride is a versatile game that is both challenging and fun for both beginners and experienced gamers. A wide variety of players appreciate it:

Ticket to ride: family gamers
Ticket to ride: strategic players
Players who love strategy games
Ticket to ride: social players
Players who enjoy social interaction
Ticket to ride: players of mixed ages
Multi age player groups
Ticket to ride: players who love geography
Players who are interested in geography

Who Should Not Play?

Although Ticket to Ride is a popular board game that appeals to a broad spectrum of players, there will always be people who will enjoy it less:

Ticket to ride: players who don't like strategy games
Players who don't like strategy games
Ticket to ride: players that like heavy games
Players who prefer very complex games ("Heavy" games)
Ticket to ride: very young players
Young kids
Ticket to ride: players who don't like to compete
Players who don't like direct competition
Ticket to ride: players with short attention span
People with a short attention spam

How to Play?

  • Objective

  • Game Setup

  • TURNS &  Actions

  • Game End

The objective of the game is to get the most points while managing resources and connecting different locations on the map by building train routes.

How to get Points?

1. Claiming Routes.

  • Route in the length of 1 train will give 1 points
  • Route in the length of 2 trains will give 2 points
  • Route in the length of 3 trains will give 4 points
  • Route in the length of 4 trains will give 7 points
  • Route in the length of 6 trains will give 15 points
  • Route in the length of 8 trains will give 21 points

2. Completing Destination Task.

Once you complete a path connecting the two locations stated on a destination card, you get as much points as shown on its right bottom corner of that card.

(However, not completing a destination task by the end of the game will cause a deduction of points in the same amount stated on the card).

3. Making the longest continuous path on the board.

The players with the longest connected path on the board at the end of the game score an additional 10 points.

4. Each train station that was not used during the game gives the player 4 extra points.

Down Time

Down time refers to the time each player spends waiting for his turn. In Ticket to Ride games, the amount of players mainly affected the downtime at the table and their familiarity with the game. More players mean more down time. However, if all the players know how to play, the turns can go relatively fast. Since the game requires analyzing different options on the map and planning which routes to claim and which cards to collect, the time between turns is can be actually helpful. 

Game Mechanics

Set Collection:

Collecting sets of train cards in the same colors that will later be used to claim routes on the map.

Hand Management:

As the next step to set collection, the player needs to balance between the desire to take new cards (and decide which ones to take) and using the collected sets to claim alternative routes.

Area Control:

Once a route on the map is claimed, it belongs to the player who claimed it. That may make it difficult for other players to complete their destination tasks.

Route Building:

Getting points by claiming routes, placing train tracks and connecting different destinations on the map.

Hidden Objectives:

The destination cards each player receives and decides to keep are secret. So the players don't know at the start of the game which routes will the other players need to complete their destination tasks.

Educational Content

Planning and Strategy

Since Ticket to Ride is mainly a strategy game, there are a lot of things to take in mind and consider while playing the game. 

  • Which train card colors are required to complete a full route?
  • What are alternative ways to connect to specific destinations?
  • What is the best way to connect routes based on available cards?
  • When to draw train cards from the deck?
  • When to draw from the face-up cards?
  •  When to use wildcards?
  • What are the opponents' plans and what colors and routes they plan to go for?
  • Which destination cards to keep? When it is time to take new ones?

Pattern Recognition

While playing the game, a player is busy arranging train cards with colors and collecting sets that can be used to complete tasks. That may help develop pattern recognition, which is necessary for many life aspects, including driving and problem solving.

Resource Managment

As the next step to set collection, the player needs to balance between the desire to take new cards (and decide which ones to take) and using the collected sets to claim alternative routes.

Risk Managment

Dealing with risk and evaluating the probability of different situations is part of playing the Ticket to Ride game: 

1. There is always a risk that the opponent may claim a route that you need.

2. There is a chance that you will not complete the taken destination cards and get negative points.

3. When claiming tunnels, there is a risk of not being able to complete the claim.

All those contribute to the skill of calculating probabilities and help in decision making.

Geography Information

The game takes place on a Europe map before the first world war (Other versions of Ticket to Ride use maps of other countries and continents). Since the whole objective of the game is building routes between different locations on the map, it will inevitably increase geographical familiarity of the player and may provide inspiration to do some farther research about different locations. But since it is a historic map, some current countries do not appear on the map and the way the names of the cities are spelled match the way those were pronounced in the language of the country those cities were in at that time. For one looking for a game with a high focus on geography, there are better choices.

Trekking the World

If you like Ticket to Ride but are looking for a game with more focus on geography, then this is the best choice. This is a wonderful strategy-adventure game in which the players travel between different destinations on a world map and collect different accessories, which in the end score them victory points.

The World Game

Simple geography game that comes with a world map and 198 country cards that include facts about neighboring countries, country population, the area it takes and the height of the highest point. This is a light (not strategic) game where players compete between them based on the different facts stated on the country cards. 

Continent Race

A game with a large world map, and many cards with flags of of different countries. The goal of the game is to collect sets of country card for different continents. The game is based mostly on luck (not strategy), but is a great game to learn the names and flags of different countries as well as where those are located on the map.

Brain Benefits

While Ticket to Ride was not specifically designed as a brain training game, playing it may stimulate various cognitive processes and engage different brain areas associated with strategic thinking, memory, attention, spatial reasoning, and executive functions.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is analyzing the situation and making decisions based on that analysis. That is what the Ticket to Ride game is all about. At each step of the game, the player should evaluate the available routes on the map, the new available train cards and their own hand and make a strategic decision about the next step in the game. Developing critical thinking is crucial for effective communication, problem solving, decision making and personal growth overall.

Spatial Reasoning

Spatial reasoning refers to the cognitive ability to understand and visualize objects and their positions in space. As well as manipulate the relationships between them.

In this game, players need to plan the routes they will later claim according to the visual information provided on the map. Spatial reasoning helps players evaluate different route options, available paths, distance between the different locations and then decide what are the best paths for them.

Flexibility & Adaptability

As the game progresses, the opponents may claim routes the player was planning to take control of. Adapting to a new situation, finding alternative routes and changing strategies is a great way to practice adaptability and flexibility. These skills enable individuals to confidently navigate through uncertainty, leverage opportunities and thrive in a continuously changing world.

Attention & Focus

Ability to concentrate and stay focused are crucial skills for academic and professional growth, productivity, communication and overall well-being. During the game, the players should constantly maintain focus on the available cards, their own hand as well as the opponents' moves. Maintaining concentration throughout the game may help enhance cognitive abilities related to focus and task management.


During the game, the players need to remember the routes they plan to claim based on the cards they are collecting. Memory is involved in this game. However, this is not a primarily a memory game. 

Gameplay of Ticket to Ride engages various executive functions, such as planning, organization, cognitive flexibility, attention, and memory. These functions involve activation of multiple brain areas, including the prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, and basal ganglia.

Size & Quality

Box Size: Will Ticket to Ride Europe Box fit in a Kallax cubicle?

The size of Ticket to Ride: Europe game box is 30 cm in width, 30 cm in height and ~ 8 cm in depth. [11.75" x 11.75" x 3"]. It will easily fit in a kallax cubicle that is often used to store board games. If you place the box on the side , 4 boxes of this size can fit the kallax cubicle. You can fit 5 of those if you decide to place the board games facing forward. 

Board Size & Function

The board is made of thick, sturdy cardboard with clear and detailed artwork. The dimension of an unfolded Ticket to Ride: Europe board are: 79 cm [31"] in length and 52.5 cm [21"] in width. When folded, the dimensions are: 26.5 cm x 26.5 cm [10.5"x10.5"].

Overall, the components are well made and are visually appealing.


The cards are made of durable cardstock.

Trains and Train Stations

Thick plastic in different colors.

Scoring Markers

Made of wood in different colors.


Europa 1912 Expansion


How it Expands Ticket to Ride: Europe ?

  • Warehouses & Depots: An additional rule set that uses warehouses and depots that are included in the expansion. Adds an extra layer of strategy to an already very strategic game.
  • 12 Long Destination Tickets.
  • Big City Tickets (can be played as part of the short destination tickets or as its own game variation, making it an even tighter and more competitive game).

The total amount of destination cards in the expansion is 101 (46 same cards as in the base Ticket to Ride: Europe game and 55 new destination cards).

Ticket to Ride Nederland Board Game EXPANSION


Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • New game map.
  • Many double routes are without the limit to only being able to claim 1 of the 2 parallel routes when playing a 2-3 players game. (Although you can always remove that rule for the regular game as well).
  • No longest route bonus at the end of the game.
  • A neutral player mode for a 2 players game (optional).

Ticket to Ride Asia Board Game EXPANSION 


Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • New double sided game map.
  • Team Play (optional)  one of the board sides, introduces a team play option.
  • Dangerous mountain routes: for every dangerous route built , trains should be discarded.
  • No longest route bonus.
  • Asian explorer bonus: a player who connect the most cities gets the end game bonus.
  • 2-6 players can play the expansion (regular game is for 2-5 players).

Ticket to Ride France + Old West


Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • New double sided game map.
  • The tracks on the France Map are initially colorless and a player must first add a color track to the route. There are routes that cross each other and only one of them can actually have a colored track (required for the claim). 
  • Old West Map includes 3 city markers for each player. Each player can only claim routes in a network connected to a city. (If a player claims a route in a network of another player, the other player gets the points for the route).
  • There is an option to play with "Alvin". Whoever has "Alvin" in his city at the end of the game gets bonus points.
  • Bonus points for completing most destination cards.
  • 2-6 players can play the expansion (base game is for 2-5 players).

Ticket to Ride The Heart of Africa


Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • New game map.
  • Terrain cards can be used to double points for claiming routes.
  • Tight Map with a high risk of being blocked.
  • No longest route bonus points.
  • End game bonus points for completing the most tickets.

Ticket to Ride Japan & Italy


Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • New double sided game map.
  • Ferry routes and an extra deck of ferry cards [Italy board]: For each space on a ferry route with a wave symbol, a player must play a wild card or a ferry card (which can be used for 2 wave spaces). 
  • A continuous route connecting most areas on the Italy board gives extra points at the end of the game (it shows areas in different colors on the map).
  • Japan's game comes with bullet trains that are built on bullet routes and building more of them will give extra points at the end of the game. Any of the other players can use the bullet routes.

Ticket to Ride United Kingdom


Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • New double sided game map: UK & Pennsylvania. 
  • Pennsylvania side includes stocks: routes have different railway company symbols. By claiming routes, the player also can take a share of a company which will give bonus points at the end of the game. 
  • Ferries act as Tunnels in Ticket to Ride Europe.
  • The UK games allow any 4 cards of the same color to act as a wildcard.
  • The UK games comes with technology cards that give a player different special abilities

Ticket to Ride Poland


Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • New game map.
  • Simple, Fast and Easy to Understand Map.
  • No longest route bonus points/No most destinations bonus points.

Other Versions

Ticket to Ride: Europe is the second game published in the Ticket to Ride game series. The first game was published a year earlier (2004) and takes place on the United States Map. Many other Ticket to Ride games with different maps and few alterations have been published since then. 

Ticket to Ride  

Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • USA Map instead of Europe Map.
  • No tunnel routes.
  • No train stations used.

City Games:

Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • Fast Game: designed for a 15 minutes play. 
  • Small board size.
  • No train stations, no tunnels.
  • Easier version of the game.

Ticket to Ride Rails & Sails


Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • Double sided, large size, board: World Map & North America.   
  • Long game: ~2 hours.
  • Includes ships and harbors in addition to trains. 
  • An Additional Ship cards deck.
  • There are a few routes that require playing 2 cards for each space on the route.
  • Some of the destination tickets include multiple locations to connect.
  • Complex rules and might be a bit confusing to play.
  • No longest route bonus, no train stations.

Kids Versions:

Notable Differences from Ticket to Ride: Europe

  • For younger kids.
  • Short Game.
  • Simplified rules.
  • A very distinctive art for each city on the map, making it easier to recognize for kids.

Is Ticket to Ride Europe easy to learn?

Ticket to Ride is known for its relatively simple and intuitive rules, making it fairly easy to teach to others. The game can be enjoyed by heavy gamers and first time players minutes after the rules are explained. The rules are straightforward; the goals are clearly defined and there are no heavy game mechanics that can overwhelm first time players. While there may be a learning curve to master the game, there is no learning curve to start enjoying it.

Is Ticket to Ride: Europe Accessible for Color Blind Players?

The game is designed with color-blind people in mind. Although colors play a significant role in the gameplay, distinct symbols and icons are also used to differentiate between train cards and routes. 

Is Ticket to Ride: Europe Good for 2 People?

The game can be enjoyable with just two players. When there are just 2 players, the game usually moves faster and there is more control over the board, which gives more room for strategic long term planning.

How Re-playable is Ticket to Ride: Europe?

Even without using any expansions, Ticket to Ride: Europe is a highly repayable game. The randomness to the gameplay is added by the different destination cards each player gets at the start, different train cards drawn on each turn and different engagement on the board itself. The win in the game can be achieved by playing different strategies.

Getting expansions will add even more to a re-playability value since more destination tasks are introduced, most of the expansions include new maps to explore and each of them comes with a few rule alterations which make the game feel fresh and exciting time after time. 

What are the Best Strategies to Win Ticket to Ride: Europe

Players can use various strategies to increase their chances of winning Ticket to Ride: Europe:

  • Claiming as many long routes as possible, the longer the routes claimed, the more points they score. (Scoring a 4 spaces route gives 7 points while scoring 2 routes of 2 spaces each will only give the player 4 points).
  • Connecting the longest continuous route: that can be achieved by taking long destination tasks, or short destination task in different areas on the map and connecting those. Extending the routes after the task is completed also contributes to this strategy.
  • Blocking other players: claiming routes that other players need and even building stations may make it hard for them to complete their mission and gain points.
  • Completing lots of short destination tasks.
  • Gathering lots of train cards will help the player to stay flexible. In case other players' actions will cause a block of certain path, having many cards in hand will make it easier to adapt to the change and take control over alternative paths. 

Pros & Cons Summary


  • Engaging Gameplay
  • Appeal to a wide range of players
  • Highly Replayable
  • Quality Components
  • Lots of available expansion and maps to play on


  • Only six long destination cards. If dealt to each player at the start like it states in the rulebook, the players get too familiar with the long routes after a few games. (Alternatively, it is possible to play with just the short destination cards, add the long routes just as part of the entire cards deck or get the expansion).
  • Although the game is very strategic, the card drawing mechanics are partly lack based. 
  • The setup and cleanup can take a few minutes.

Price Vs. Value

Ticket to Ride Europe offers good value for its price. The gameplay experience is great and leaves a player with a desire to play it again and again. The rules are relatively simple, yet the game is engaging with a substantial amount of depth. Heating that best depth to rule simplicity ratio. It is not too long or too short. All the components are of good quality. The game flow works for 2 players and it scales well for 5 players, making the game a bit more intense. 

Our Rating for Ticket to Ride: Europe
5/5 stars




Rule Simplicity




Katia is responsible for graphics and content design. She is a mom of two beautiful children. Katia spends her free time searching for and trying to solve different brain games and teasers. She also likes board games, puzzles and crosswords.