Ticket To Ride vs Ticket To Ride Europe

When discussing about entry-level board games, Ticket To Ride is one of those titles that quickly come up to mind. However, once you walk into the store, you may get overwhelmed by the many different versions of the game. Below, we will help you choose between two popular editions, the original Ticket To Ride vs Ticket To Ride Europe.

The following article below will tell you more about:

  • The gameplay of Ticket To Ride
  • The additional elements and mechanics in Ticket To Ride Europe
  • The suitable audience and number of players for each game
  • The average runtime of each game
  • Which one between Ticket To Ride vs Ticket To Ride Europe that is more recommended for you


Ticket To Ride is often considered as one of the best entry-level board games in the world, along with Carcassonne and Catan (see also: Carcassonne vs Ticket To Ride). It is suitable for people who are not really into board games, yet it still has some depth to be enjoyable for the more dedicated audience. That said, the different editions of Ticket To Ride can be vastly different from each other.

Ticket To Ride is a German-style board game that is mainly about building railway routes. Players try to claim routes in order to connect cities or simply to amass points.

The original Ticket To Ride is the simplest full-size edition (excluding The First Journey edition which is designed for kids). In the original Ticket To Ride, the focus is more on collecting cards and claiming train routes. There aren’t many complex mechanics, so the game is quite easy and quick to understand. The original Ticket To Ride features a map of the United States, while Ticket To Ride Europe obviously has a map of Europe.

As additional information, Ticket To Ride was invented by Alan R. Moon and published in 2004. Since then, it has received various awards. Some of the most notable ones are the Spiel des Jahres Award, the Diana Jones Award, the As d’Or Jeu de l’annee Award, and the Origins Award for Best Board Game. By receiving so many awards, Ticket To Ride shows that it is such as high quality game.

Setup of Ticket To Ride

Before we head to the differences between Ticket To Ride vs Ticket To Ride Europe, it is essential for you to be familiar with how the original game is played. So, let us first see the gameplay of the original game.

First of all, every player chooses a set of 45 train cars of the same color along with a matching score marker. Later in the game, when claiming a route, you will need to put a number of your train cars on that route.

The next thing that you need to do is shuffle the train cards and deal 4 to every player. The rest of the train cards are put in a stack, creating a draw pile. Pick the top five train cards from this draw pile and place them beside the draw pile. You also need to shuffle the destination tickets and deal 3 to every player, then put the remaining destination tickets in a stack as another draw pile.

A player may discard one destination ticket, or keep them all. The discarded card goes to the bottom of the draw pile. Keep in mind that a player must have at least two destination tickets in the game. Once a destination ticket is kept, it can’t be discarded.

Every destination ticket has a pair of cities that must be connected. Completing a destination ticket will give bonus points, whereas failing the objective will yield a penalty. At the end of the game, you can also get bonus points if you own the longest set of continuous paths on the board.

Gameplay of Ticket To Ride

Now, decide who gets the first turn. The play will proceed in a clockwise direction. When it is your turn, you can perform one of three possible actions, but keep in mind that you can only do one action per turn. The three possible actions are:

  • Draw three new destination tickets. You should keep at least one of them, but you can also keep two or three of them.
  • Draw two new train cards. In this case, you may take one of the face-up cards. If you choose a face-up locomotive card (which is kind of a wild card that you can use for any route), you are not allowed to take another card. However, you may also draw two cards from the draw pile without knowing what you will get.
  • Claim a route on the board. You can only claim one route per turn.

In order to claim a route, you need to have a set of train cards of the same type. There are 8 different types of train cards. Also, the number of the cards should match the number of spaces in the route. You can claim any route on the board that hasn’t been claimed by another player. When two adjacent cities have two parallel routes between them, a player may only own one of the parallel routes and not both.

Afterwards, to indicate that the route has been claimed, you need to place one of your train pieces on each space of the route on the board. Since you only have 45 train pieces, you obviously can’t claim all of the routes. You need to decide which route to prioritize and which to abandon.

The game enters the end phase once a player’s stock of train pieces gets down to 2 or less. Now, every player gets one last turn before the game finishes. At the end of the game, every player must reveal their destination tickets and calculate their points. You get points from every route that you own. As mentioned above, you also get bonus points from completed destination tickets and if you have the longest set of continuous routes, and you get a penalty if you have an incomplete destination ticket.

Ticket To Ride Europe: A Different Map

As expected from seeing the titles alone, Ticket To Ride vs Ticket To Ride Europe use different maps. While the original features a map of the United States, this edition indeed comes with a map of Europe. Some cities have similar-sounding names here, so it will help if you know a few things about European cities.

In Ticket To Ride Europe, there are 6 special destination tickets that are particularly long. Every player gets a special destination ticket at the beginning of the game, and they may keep it or discard it. Keeping and completing a special destination ticket can be difficult, but the bonus is huge. If you play without it and someone else keeps a special destination ticket, you will need to claim a lot of routes in order to make up the points.

Unused special tickets go back into the box and won’t come into play. So, you need to decide at the beginning whether to keep yours or discard it. Throughout the game, you can only draw regular destination tickets which require shorter routes and net relatively lower points.

Ticket To Ride Europe introduces train stations into the gameplay. At the beginning, every player receives three train stations. You can use a train station on a city in order to ‘borrow’ one, and only one route that has been claimed by another player. You may want to do this if that particular route can help you connect the cities of your destination ticket.

There can only be one train station on a city. Putting the first station requires one train card of any color. Putting the second station requires two train cards of the same color. Putting the third station requires three train cards of the same color. At the end of the game, an unused train station will give you 4 bonus points.

Ticket To Ride Europe: New Types of Routes

Another big difference between Ticket To Ride vs Ticket To Ride Europe is that there are two new types of routes here. While the usual railway routes are still available and can be claimed through normal means, the new route types can only be claimed through special means.

First, there are ferries. They are grey routes which connect cities over bodies of water. A ferry route typically has a number of locomotives on it. So, in order to claim a ferry route, you need to play a locomotive card for every locomotive symbol on it, along with a set of train cards of the same color.

Second, there are tunnels. A tunnel typically has special markings and outlines on the individual parts. While a tunnel is sometimes helpful, claiming it can be a gamble because you may need to spend three more train cards in addition to the set required.

Suitable Audience

Ticket To Ride is suitable for ages 8 years old and over. It can be played by 2 – 5 players. One game usually takes 30 – 60 minutes to complete. The original game is rather simple, so it is a great choice for beginners and for people who are not really into strategy games or board games. It is also great when you want to play something that is light but still interesting.

Ticket To Ride Europe is also suitable for 8 years old and over, and can be played by 2 – 5 players. According to the box, the average runtime is still 30 – 60 minutes, but this edition usually takes longer to complete than the original because of the additional mechanics. It is quite more complicated, so it is not recommended for beginners. However, it can be a decent choice for enthusiasts because the new mechanics open a wider range for strategy.

Ticket To Ride vs Ticket To Ride Europe

BrandCarcassonneTicket To Ride
Key features- Uses a map of the United States - Destination tickets have more-or-less similar lengths - Only has railway routes on the map - Generally simpler and easier to understand - Recommended people who are not really into board games- Uses a map of Europe - There are 6 special destination tickets which are longer - Has railway routes, ferries, and tunnels - Has more elements with special mechanics - Recommended for experienced players and enthusiasts

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If you want to play with people who are not really into strategy games, the original Ticket To Ride is better. It is simple and easy to understand, but it is still quite fun. However, for a group of strategy game lovers, Ticket To Ride Europe is definitely a better choice because of the wider and greater depth from the additional elements.

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