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Publisher: Days of Wonder    Genre: Board & Card
Min OS X: 10.3    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 250 MB    Graphics: 16 MB VRAM

Ticket to Ride
March 24, 2006 | Nuno Alves

Click to enlarge

Board game view
Ticket to Ride is a faithful representation of the board game of the same name, which won several awards, including the prestigious "Spiel des Jahres." Never heard of this game? Then you are neither a dungeon master nor a board game geek. This only means you are missing out in life BIG TIME! Until I received the computer version of Ticket to Ride, my friends and I were sorely addicted to the board game. I was quite happy to find that the computer version surpasses the physical board game in some ways. For starters, I no longer have to gather my friends together whenever I have the urge to play. In fact, this computer version is so good that for the past month I've been spending all my free time playing it, instead of writing this review. A couple of days ago, my benevolent editor finally cracked the whip and forced me to (god forbid) do some work. I reluctantly placed my beloved Ticket to Ride game away for some hours, and the result is before you.

So what is Ticket to Ride?
Ticket to Ride is a railway-themed board game designed by Alan R. Moon and published in 2004. The game consists of players playing colored "railway car" cards, which are used to claim routes on a map of the United States, thus collecting points. Additional points are gained by completing routes on the players' "destination cards," and by claiming the longest route. Does it sound simple? It is simple! Anyone with an eighth of a working brain should be able to quickly pick up the flow of the game and come up with some sort of strategy.

Ticket to Ride is typical of German-style board games in that it encourages social interaction between people instead of simply playing the game as an end to itself, like chess or checkers. You play for the sake of having fun with your friends, not just to show off your well-earned intellectual superiority.

What I like most about Ticket to Ride is that it doesn't matter how much you suck in the game, you will only know if you lost at the very end of the game. Whatever you do, you will never get kicked out of the game, and quite often there is someone who actually underperforms you (most of the times my girlfriend). For me, the biggest selling point is that each game takes about 30 minutes to play. Fast and painless! Long gone are the days I wasted eight hours playing strategy games like Risk, only to lose terribly in the end.

The computer version
The computer version is pretty much the original US map together with two additional boards, or expansion packs (Europe and Switzerland maps). If you don't know how to play the game, do not stress out. Along with the disk that runs both in Mac OS X and Windows, comes a bonus DVD with real people playing and explaining the core mechanics of the board game. After watching the five-minute tutorial, you are ready to rock n' roll! We all know it is much easier to learn how to play by watching others. Let's face it: has anyone ever learnt how to play a game by reading the manual?


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