The Great Ticket to Ride Challenge–Night Six

Last night, we played Ticket to Ride: Switzerland. I like this board, because it’s designed for only two or three players. Since it’s meant for so few people, you don’t feel as though you’re missing out when only two are playing. There are no bonuses in this game, and locomotives aren’t true wild cards…they’re used when claiming a tunnel route, and only a tunnel route.

Ryan took this one, winning 141 to 134. The reason was obvious…I just didn’t claim as many routes (although we both had the same number of completed tickets…10), and so I had nine trains at game’s end, compared to Ryan’s two.


At least this was a close match…I’m still hoping to tie things up at some point!

The Great Ticket to Ride Challenge–Night Five

On Sunday night, we played another new-to-us Ticket to Ride board–The Heart of Africa (another Christmas present from last year).

Like the Netherlands board, this game incorporates another new element…terrain cards. (As an aside, things get confusing when you’re talking about train cars, trains cards, and terrain cards!) When you play the terrain cards, they allow you to double the value of the route you’re playing, based on the number of cards you have compared to other players, the type of terrain, and the length of the route. To be honest, I used this ability only a few times (although Ryan used it a lot), because I couldn’t figure out how to coordinate getting the terrain cards with getting the train cards I needed, and building my routes before Ryan got to them!

In the end, the score was Amanda 200, Ryan 153. I’m just as shocked as you are, trust me. We both thought he was going to win handily as we were playing, because of all of the double route values he was getting. But I guess since I was ignoring collecting those cards, it allowed me to focus on route-building…I finished nine routes, and got the African Globetrotter bonus, while Ryan finished only four routes. I also had zero trains left at the end of the game, while Ryan had seven.


We’ve played seven different boards/versions of boards so far, and Ryan has the lead four games to three. Maybe I’ll tie it up next time!

The Great Ticket to Ride Challenge–Night Four

On Saturday night, we played two more variations of Ticket to Ride: Europe, and Europa 1912–Big Cities of Europe.

The Europe board is pretty standard, with one addition–stations. There is a bonus card–the European Express, which goes to the player with the longest route. I lost (again), but this game was a bit closer, at least…Ryan 140, Amanda 128. Ryan completed six routes, and won the bonus for longest route, with four trains and two stations left at the end of the game. I completed seven routes, and had no trains and three stations left.


Big Cities of Europe is a bit different. There are no bonus cards, but there are depots and stations, which have the ability to give a player bonus points at the end of the game, as well as warehouses, which allow you to pick up a bunch of train cards in one turn.

The final score was Amanda 184, Ryan 136…I finally won one! I completed ten routes, and had one train, three depots, and three stations left at the end of the game. Ryan completed nine routes, and had eight trains, three depots, and zero stations left when the game was done.


I think we might take a break from the Europe board from a bit, even though there are more ways to play it. There are still plenty of other Ticket to Ride maps left, though!

The Great Ticket to Ride Challenge–Night Three

Last night, we fit two games of Ticket to Ride in, both on the standard board. The first was the USA 1910 expansion, and the second was Big Cities. Let me tell you, it was not my night!

The USA 1910 expansion wasn’t too bad. The final score was Ryan 156, Amanda 144. I had no trains left at the end of the game, and completed 8 routes, but even with three trains left, Ryan managed to complete 10 routes and received the Globetrotter bonus.


Big Cities, however, was a disaster (for me, not for Ryan!). The final score was an embarrassing Ryan 157, Amanda 114. We both completed six routes, but there were no bonuses in this game (not that I would have benefitted from one, anyway). I had four trains left (and was so close to using them up and completing my seventh route!), but Ryan used all of his.


I have learned in playing that board that I should either play a train coming out of Las Vegas immediately at the beginning of the game, whether I think I need it or not, or just abandon any thought of using any route that goes through Las Vegas at all. In both games, I suffered from the fact the Ryan had a route through that city, which made it impossible for me to get a train in there, and in the first game we played, this completely ruined a non-insignificant (read: I probably would have won with it), route for me. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe there’s a strategy involving that city…just an interesting bit of information to tuck away for the future!

I think there’s only one variation left on the standard board, other than the mystery train version, (we’re working on figuring out a way to play that one)–the mega map. It includes all of the destination tickets, plus the two bonus cards (Trans-America Express and Globetrotter). That will be the last game we play to end this challenge, so for now, it’s time to move on to another board!

The Great Ticket to Ride Challenge–Night Two

Tonight we played the newest Ticket to Ride Board: Nederland.

It was definitely a different game! This game incorporates bridge tolls, and when you’re playing with only two people, you have to add a “neutral character” for part of the game. It made for a new Ticket to Ride experience, but I’m not sure how much I liked it!


The final score was Ryan 183, Amanda 175 (closer than I was expecting, to be honest). I completed six routes, with one train left at the end, but I also had to take out a loan, which cost me five points. Ryan completed five routes, with five trains left at the end, and he also had eight tokens left, which gave him and extra 35 points! That’s a huge bonus, and something to keep in mind when we play this board in the future!

We haven’t decided which board we’re playing next, but hopefully, it will be something a little more standard!

The Great Ticket to Ride Challenge–Night One

Ryan decided that we should play through all of the different maps and variations of Ticket to Ride that we own (which is pretty much all of them!), so that we could decide which board is our favorite, and who is the house Ticket to Ride champion. I have no idea how long this challenge will take us to complete…look at how long it took us to build the Lego Tower Bridge! But, we started our challenge tonight with the original Ticket to Ride map (but with the updated point values).


The final score was Amanda 137 and Ryan 132. I completed six routes with one train left at the end, and Ryan completed five routes (and won the longest continuous route–the Trans-America Express bonus), with two trains left.

I fully expect tonight’s victory to be an anomaly, as I tend to lose at, well, all board games when playing against Ryan, but even when I lose, Ticket to Ride is still my favorite game, and tons of fun to play!

The Game Cabinet

This is my favorite shelf in our game cabinet. It contains all of my very favorite games–the ones from Days of Wonder, (my favorite game company), including all of the different incarnations of Ticket to Ride and also Mystery of the Abbey, (which I love, even though I’m terrible at it!);The Pillars of the Earth, plus its expansion, as well as its sequel, World Without End; the Thurn and Taxis games, Carcassonne, (which Ryan just introduced me to, causing me to start looking at more game expansions), and even a game called Nuns on the Run. What can I say–I really enjoy the religious genre in games!

(Just don’t judge me for considering getting a game called The Name of the Rose, in which you play a monk with a secret identity, and also Habemus Papam, in which you get to, as the title suggests, elect a new pope.)

The only things missing from this shelf are Settlers of Catan, which is in a box so big and awkward, it has to reside on the top of the game cabinet, and Mystery Express, another Days of Wonder train based game that I hope to purchase at some point before it goes out of print!

Another Christmas Tradition

Every year on Christmas Eve, after the children are in bed and the presents placed under the tree, Ryan and I play my favorite board game–Ticket to Ride: Christmas Edition. OK, it’s actually called Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries, but the game is so pretty and Christmas-y, with holly and snow on the board and cards, and what I’m guessing (based on the geography of the game) is Julinisse on the box cover. This is the only time of year we get out this version of Ticket to Ride, and I look forward to it just as I do everything else that has to do with Christmas!