We’ve recently been asked to join the Blogger Board Game Club with Esdevium Games and each month we’ll be sharing our thoughts on a different game. Being a family of steam train enthusiasts, we were more than excited to open our first box and discover Ticket to Ride – Europe, inside!
I have had my eye on this series of board games for so long, and have just been waiting for my son to be old enough to play it. So I’m not sure who was more enthusiastic to play, the grown ups or our nearly 8 year old son.
Ticket to Ride – Europe is aimed at players aged 8 years and over and can be played by 2-5 players at any one time. Actual play time takes between 30-60 minutes.
The first thing we learnt when setting up Ticket to Ride – Europe was that we need a bigger table to play on. We made do with our kitchen table, but for future games we will need to clear the dining table, aka our office. The board is quite a bit bigger than standard board game boards.
Ticket to Ride – Europe comes with a game board featuring a map of Europe, 8 different coloured train car cards in sets of 12, 14 locomotive cards, 46 destination cards – 40 regular routes and 6 longer routes, a score card and European Express Bonus card, 240 coloured train cars in blue, red, green, yellow and black, 15 matching coloured train stations, 5 wooden scoring markers and an instruction booklet.
Ticket to Ride – Europe takes you on an adventures across Europe from the turn of the last century, visiting famous cities along the way. For my nearly 8 year old, this has proved to be a great geography lesson, without even playing the game. Although we did need to explain that the cities were written as you’d find them in their country, rather than in English, another lesson for him to learn. As well as completing train lines to connect the various European cities, you are able to erect stations, travel by ferry and use tunnels.
Having read the instructions, we’ve decided that for the first few games we will just concentrate on claiming train routes, so my young son can used to the game. Then over the coming months we will add in the extra features of game play that Ticket to Ride – Europe has to offer.
The object of Ticket to Ride – Europe is to score the highest number of points, which can be earned by claiming a route between two cities, completing a continuous path of routes between two cities listed on your destination tickets, completing the longest continuous path of routes to win the European Express Bonus Card or for each Train station kept in reserve at the end of the game.
My son was captivated by the idea of setting up his own train lines, he’s rather obsessed with Doctor Beeching at the moment and all the UK lines he forced to close in the 1960’s. So I think he thought this game would reverse all that, even if the game is based in Europe rather than the UK.
Anyway, we let him start our game of Ticket to Ride – Europe and we explained to him that he had four options. He could draw two train car cards to increase his rail stock. He could claim a route if he had enough of the correct coloured train car cards to complete a route. If you have enough coloured cards (you can use a Locomotive card as any colour) to complete a route then you place one of your coloured trains on each section of the line, hand the relevant number of train car cards in and move your scoring marker around the outside of the board by the relevant number of spaces. He could draw three destination tickets with the option to keep at least one of them or he could build a train station in any city without one already.
As I’ve already mentioned we decided to concentrate on claiming routes for the time being until my son had fully grasped that angle of the game. So we all worked on building up our rail stock with different colours train car cards to claim routes so we could complete the overall routes on our destination cards. Some of the destination cards are for short route offering a lower number of points, whilst others require a lot of movement across the continent , so you can gain more points. This is where strategic planning is required to ensure your line can take you all the way from A to B without one of your opponents taking control of part of the line.
My son soon became quite the railway mogul as he wiped the tracks with both myself and his Dad and claimed his routes one after another. The red lines were slowly working their way from Lisbon to Gdansk and my intrepid explorer was totally focussed at making us both look like amateurs. Although we did realise afterwards that you aren’t allowed to run double routes together in one game, but don’t tell my son that just yet.
There is quite a lot to take in with the rules for Ticket to Ride – Europe, but now we’ve played it a couple of times we’re going to introduce train stations to our play. By building train stations you have the option to make use of another players route in our out of that station to connect you to the next part of your own line. You can own a maximum of three stations in any one game, and I can see this really helping with strategic game play.
We’re now looking forward to introducing ferry routes and tunnels, with both travel modes adding extra complexity to the game. Ticket to Ride – Europe is a game we can play as a family but also once my son has gone to bed. It really is a multi generational board game and one that I can see us playing together for many years to come.
disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review as part of the Blogger Board Game Club.