How To Play Ticket To Ride

Ticket to Ride has become a modern-day board game classic and is one of those games that you just have to try out. The good news is, Ticket to Ride is very easy to learn and is a great gateway game for new and casual players.

We’re just going to cover how to play the original version of Ticket to Ride, although there are many other versions with new maps to explore too! Let’s get started by familiarizing ourselves with the components you’ll find inside the box.

Ticket to Ride: Anniversary Edition Board Game Box and Trains

The Components

  • 1 Board map of the North American train routes
  • 1 rulebook
  • 5 wooden scoring markers (Players choose 1 color between black, blue, green, yellow, or red)
  • 144 illustrated cards
  • 110 train car cards (12 for each color/type of car, 14 wild card locomotives)
  • 30 destination tickets
  • 1 summary cards
  • 1 longest continuous path bonus card 
  • 1 promotional card for additional maps
  • 1 promotional card for Days of Wonder
  • 240 plastic colored train cars (45 for each color for gameplay with 3 extra cars per color)

The Objective

The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. There are 3 ways to earn points: 

  • Placing Trains
  • Completing Destination Tickets
  • Having The Longest Continuous Path

The only way to lose points is by having incomplete destination tickets at the end of the game.

Set-Up

Place the board in the middle of the table and have each player pick a color, then place their corresponding scoring marker at the start. Each color has a set of 45 plastic train cars to determine which route was claimed by who. 

Shuffle the train cards and deal 4 cards to everyone, then turn over the top 5 cards, face-up next to the deck. 

Then, shuffle the destination tickets and deal 3 cards to each player. Everyone is allowed to discard one of those three but has to keep at least 2 of the 3. All discarded cards go to the bottom of the destination deck. Be sure not to reveal your destination cards until the end of the game. 

Officially, the player with the most travel experience goes first, but if you play with the same group of people, having the same person go first every time can get tiresome. 

My group of table-toppers likes to switch things up. For example, whoever woke up the earliest goes first or whoever used the restroom last goes first, etc. Once you’ve decided who goes first, turns continue clockwise.

Gameplay

During each turn you are able to do one of three actions:

  • Draw 2 Train Cards
  • Claim A Route
  • Draw Destination Tickets

Drawing Train Cards

The train car deck contains 110 cards. 12 cards each for all 8 types of train cars and 14 multi-colored wild card locomotives, which can be used in any set. There are 8 different colors to match the types of train cars. The white, black, red, orange, purple, green, yellow, and blue train cars match various routes on the board. 

When drawing train car cards, you are able to draw either 2 from the deck, 2 colored train cars from the revealed pile, or one of each. However, if you pick a locomotive from the revealed pile, that is the only card you draw that turn. If you draw a card from the revealed pile, the top card from the train deck immediately replaces it. If 3 locomotives end up in the revealed pile, all 5 are discarded and replaced.

Claiming Routes

To claim a route, players must play a set of cards equivalent to the color and quantity of the given route. The set of cards should all be the same color/type of train car. Most routes require sets of specific types of cars. For example, a red-colored route on the map requires a set of red-colored train car cards to complete it. For grey routes, any color set will suffice. 

Once the route is claimed, the player places their plastic-colored trains on the route and discards the used set of train cards. If the claimed route is part of a double route, the player can only claim that one, not both. If the game is a 2 or 3 player game, then all routes are single. 

Scoring

Scoring a route is based on the number of train cars used. Scoring markers are moved in accordance with how many points have been earned. 

1 train car = 1 point
2 train cars = 2 points
3 train cars = 4 points
4 train cars = 7 points
5 train cars = 10 points
6 train cars = 15 points

Drawing Destination Tickets 

The last option for a turn is drawing 3 destination tickets and keeping at least one of the new tickets. The discarded tickets, if any, are returned to the bottom of the destination deck. Each destination ticket names a route between 2 cities and how many points the route is worth once completed. All completed destination ticket points will be added at the end of the game. Remember that all incomplete tickets will be deducted at the end as well. 

The End

The final round begins as soon as a player has 2 or fewer plastic trains at the end of their turn. Each person gets one more turn, including the player that determined the final round. When the round is over, so is the game and calculating scores commences. 

Each player should already have their score from points earned from claiming routes throughout the game. Players then reveal their destination tickets and either add points for completed tickets or subtract points for uncompleted ones. 

Afterward, the player with the longest continuous path is awarded 10 additional points. The continuous path may contain loops and pass through the same city multiple times, just as long as any given plastic train is only used once. In the event of a tie, all tied players receive the 10 point bonus. 

The player with the highest score wins. If there is a tie, then the player with the most completed destination tickets wins. If there is still a tie, then the player with the longest continuous route wins. In the unlikely event that players are still tied, then you would have to ask the game’s designer, Alan R. Moon, as he left no further instructions. 

Good Luck and Happy Gaming!

Ticket to Ride: 15th Anniversary Edition
  • Celebrates the 15th anniversary of the classic game
  • Includes 5 exclusive sets of clear plastic trains
  • Features a 4 page retrospective booklet featuring the history of...

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Stats at a glance

Players: 2-5

Ages: 8 +

Easy

30-60 Mins

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Published: 2004