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Ticket to Ride expansion advice

KoboldLord

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Validated User
#1
I've been playing some board games with my family lately, and Ticket to Ride has been the clear favorite of my older sister and the one the most people are most reliably willing to play. We've been getting good use out of the base set, but there's been some piqued curiosity about the expansions in the catalog. So I'm turning to rpg.net for advice. Which expansions are good and worth the money? Which ones just kind of exist and are slightly different without really being distinct? Which ones are probably a mistake to avoid? At the moment, we're most considering the map packs or the variants that use the United States base set we already have, but as the games continue and wear and tear eventually take their toll on our first board, we might be open to the Germany or Europe versions as well.

Any thoughts? Strong opinions? We usually have 3 players, but get up to 4 a decent amount of the time and 5 very occasionally.
 

CarpeGuitarrem

Blogger and gamer
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#2
I don't have broad experience with most of them, but Europe is a fantastic version of the game; it adds a rule that helps players cope with getting blocked out of routes (albeit at a price), and the map is generally a bit more open.
 

Crothian

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#3
Nordic is fantastic but it is just for three people. It is my favorite of them all. Europe is great and goes to 5 people. Asia is a fun map and has the option of playing teams so that might interest you. India and Africa I'm not a fan of. Both complicate the game more than I want in my Ticket to Ride. Rail and Sails is challenging in good ways and enjoyable to us but might be hard to manage for people not used to the game. United Kingdom/Pennsylvania is just fine. The UK map with the need to get technologies to do a lot can be frustrating. Netherlands can be tough as one has to manage money to pay for many of the routes. Those are the ones I have played and are owned in my gaming group.
 

Gideon

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#4
I find the expansions I have played are usually 'just like the original (North America) but with a couple of extra rules.' They play the same with just a couple of bits to add interest or make a difference. You have the usual sort of feel where you're just waiting for your routes to emerge and you have a decent grip on what's going on (unless you play really cutthroat and aggressive). Rails and Sails however, completely changes the game. It's much more intense and has much more going on. It takes more hand management, and is genuinely difficult to find a decent groove even if you're playing a relaxed, non-aggressive sort of game.

Haven't really played the various other maps too much, but Europe is one that I'm most happy to play.
 

ChariotDriver

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#5
Nordic Countries would be my suggestion as a must-play, unless you'll always end up with more than three players. Europe is good, and probably worth picking up for the slightly different mechanics which a lot of later games use. France is quite fun, a little more complex than the base game but very manageable and with less waiting to collect a particular set of the same colour to make your route.

It's possibly worth mentioning that there are a number of fan mods (on the Days of Wonder and Board Game Geek sites) which add extra countries/regions and they are free. A great many countries with no official map have been added that way. Most of them don't use more than the base TtR mechanics or the TtR: Europe mechanics.
 

KoboldLord

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#6
I'll pass along the recommendations for the Nordic version, but I expect the rest of the family will decide that the 3-player limit is too restrictive, even though that's usually the maximum number of players we can muster.

What do the Tunnels, Ferries, and Train Stations mentioned in the Europe version actually do? The description on the box is not terribly informative, so I don't know if they are bonus objectives like destination tickets in my version of the game, a blocker that you can put up to hinder the other players, or what. Likewise with the new mechanics from Rails and Sails or Germany, it sounds like those are both well-received but I'm curious to know more detail about why.

Tentatively I'll probably back Europe as our eventual replacement board, since it seems to be universally well-received here so far. We might go with Asia or UK/Penn instead, though, if the group decides they just want a new map instead of variant rules.
 

CarpeGuitarrem

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#7
What do the Tunnels, Ferries, and Train Stations mentioned in the Europe version actually do? The description on the box is not terribly informative, so I don't know if they are bonus objectives like destination tickets in my version of the game, a blocker that you can put up to hinder the other players, or what. Likewise with the new mechanics from Rails and Sails or Germany, it sounds like those are both well-received but I'm curious to know more detail about why.
So...

Tunnels: they're a special kind of route between two cities. (Are those called Routes?) You choose to tackle one, and then flip three (I think?) cards. For each card that matches the color of the ticket you're using to complete the route, you have to pay an extra ticket. So let's say that you have a 4-length tunnel, and you use four blue tickets to complete it. You flip one blue and two reds, so you have to pay five blue tickets in total. If you can't pay, you take all your tickets back into your hand, and end your turn. So there's a risk of losing your turn, but they're very efficient routes.

Ferries: like normal routes, but a certain number of the tickets you use have to be wilds. (The exact number is shown on the route.) So they're a bit trickier to complete, and make some areas of the map difficult to get through. They also mean you have to budget your wilds carefully.

Train Stations: these let you salvage your destinations. If you play a train station in a city that you connect to, you can use it to ride an opponent's train to a connected city for the sake of a destination card. So, all those times someone claimed a route and blocked off a key segment of your big 20-point destination card? You can use a train station to mitigate that, although train stations are also worth points at the end of the game if you haven't used them. Probably my favorite new feature because it lets you have limited (but not free) counterplay to blocking.
 

Gideon

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#8
Likewise with the new mechanics from Rails and Sails
Rails and Sails you get two decks, a train deck, like normal, and a ship deck. You can choose to replace face-up cards with a card from either deck, so you might end up with all ships showing, etc. And you can pick from either deck. Some ship cards are double ships, so although the ship routes are often much longer, they're not as long as you think.

You choose (within reason) how many ships and how many trains you play with after seeing your tickets, so you can plan for mostly sea routes or a mostly land network, etc.

You also get bonus points for creating seaports. Some train/boat cards have seaports on and some don't, so there's a decision to be made whether to use them for routes as normal, or to save them for seaports. You need two special trains and two special ships all of the same colour to make a seaport.

Also the maps are quite sharp and competitive, and if you're not careful you can get squeezed out of routes quite quickly.

I think it's actually a much better game than the base game, usually giving you decisions to make with almost every turn, unlike the base game where you can sit there for 8 turns say, just collecting cards without really thinking. But this makes it less relaxing (I find TtR one of the most relaxing boardgames you can play) and much more busy.

Also, it's worth saying, that hand management is physically challenging, as well. You have all the colours of trains, but also all the colours of ships, and then you might have all the seaport potential cards you're keeping aside. It can be difficult to keep all these in one fan, but making several decks (boats, trains, seaports) can be a pain, as, for example, potential seaport cards and wildcards might belong in several decks.
 
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vitus979

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#9
If you're looking to dip your toes in the water without paying full price for the physical editions, you might try the computer edition of the game. It's available on iOS, Android, and Steam (more?) and there are often sales or Humble Bundles where you can get expansion packs VERY cheap.
 

PilgrimLazy

Spelunking Plato's cave
Validated User
#10
I've mostly played online, but my favorites are:

Switzerland - 2-3 people on a close map, divided between short routes north and long tunnels south; you score a LOT of tickets, but not a map if you hate being blocked.

Pennsylvania - 2-5 people; stock certificates add an extra layer of play; you're completing routes not only for tickets, but for majority share, which is the biggest endgame factor. Sort of like the game Acquire, if you've played that.

I got a chance to play the New York map (2-4 players) It's rather simple, but can be played faster; only 15 trains/player.
 
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