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Ticket to Ride: The Card Game
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Ticket to Ride: The Card Game

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Product Awards:  
Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Card Game Nominee, 2009

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 30 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Alan R Moon

Publisher(s): Days of Wonder, Asmodee North America

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Product Description

The Ticket to Ride Card Game delivers all of the excitement, fun and nail-biting tension of the original Ticket to Ride board game, but with several unique game-play twists in a new stand-alone, card game format.

Players collect sets of illustrated Train cards which are then used to complete Destination Tickets -- routes between two cities depicted on each ticket. But before their Train cards can be used, players must face the risk of "train-robbing", where another player may force them to lose their hard-earned cards.

Every fan of the board game will want to own a copy of the Ticket to Ride Card Game!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Card Game Nominee, 2009

Product Information


  • 96 Train cards
  • 6 Big Cities Bonus cards
  • 46 Destination Tickets
  • rules booklet

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 3 reviews

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A new variant of the same flavor
July 28, 2008

From the general response this game has been given, it's been badgered for not surpassing the original Ticket to Ride. And that's the problem with those people. It's not meant to replace the board game.

Ticket to Ride: The Card Game stands alone in a different sort of style. Gone are the plastic train models, the giant board and the teensy weensy cards. The game is just about cards. Big, fat, colorful and detailed cards.

There are 3 types: Train cards that come in all colors. Route cards that have point values and color values on them. Finally there are Bonus cards which give you bonus points if you have the most of a certain city at the end of the game.

So how do we play this game? To get points, you must complete route cards at the end of the game. To complete route cards, you need to the right color of train cards that your route cards require. And to be able to pay for your route cards, you need to get your train cards into your "On-the-track" pile, which I refer to as the "safe" pile. And to get train cards into the safe pile, you need to place them on the "danger" or exposed pile, then wait for your turn again. At the beginning of your turn, one card from each color that you own in front of you is placed face-down into your safe pile.

So get that? Points < Route Cards < "Safe" Train Cards < "Danger" Safe Cards

However, your trains can get "robbed" or as I say, "bombed" or "sniped" by other players if they play more cards of a color that you have. So say you have 2 green cards. If Larry plays 3 green cards, your green cards have been destroyed.

On your turn, the first thing you do is take one card from each of the colors that you own and place them face-down into your safe pile. You can never look at these cards until the end of the game.

Then you can do one of the following:


  • Draw 2 cards from the 5 revealed train cards
  • Draw 2 cards from the face-down train stack
  • Draw 1 card from the revealed cards and 1 from the face-down train stack
  • Draw 1 rainbow train card from the revealed cards


  • Draw 4 route cards and throw away 0-4 of them


  • Play 3 differently colored train cards that nobody else has on the board
  • Play at least 2 cards of the same color, if someone already has the color you want to play, you must play more of it (Larry has 2 greens, then you must play at least 3 greens to trump it, Larry's 2 greens will then be discarded)

Yea, it looks overwhelming, but it's really simple. Just look at the colors you need for your routes and if you see them in the revealed pile, just take them. Rainbows are very good and should be taken.

The biggest choice you want in this game is if you want to play aggressively or defensively. To play aggressive, you'll want to play cards in the 3-color method, however you are prone to being sniped. You can however get cards in your safe stack faster.

To play defensively, you'll do the opposite; waiting for vulnerable cards and sniping them with larger amounts.

The game is about playing cards, sniping people and figuring out the colors you need. Once the train draw pile is gone, the game ends and now you pay your routes with your train cards in your safe stack. You can now look at them and match them up. The routes you beat get you points and the ones you don't SUBTRACT from your total. Then whoever has the most cities from their COMPLETED routes get bonuses. Highest point wins.

So that's about it.

The game is fast and fits four. A four player game however, reshuffles the discard deck and does the process again, after the last card is drawn the first time.

I like the game because again, it's fast, it doesn't require too much thinking, the art is great, there are no fiddly pieces, the game is portable, the cards are big and it's not too mean.

People complain about the memory factor of the game. I don't think think this is a bad thing and in fact I consider it a blessing. It adds more depth to the game; it adds more to master. To counteract it anyway, you can simply get colors for routes with a few circles and then put those missions face down to let yourself know that you beat them.

I really like this game because it plays fast, isn't too mean and is portable. However, do not compare it to the board game. It is meant to be different. Why would you want to get a dumbed-down version of the board game. Wouldn't you rather get a radically different game? I definitely recommend it.

A good memory is key
July 14, 2008

The previous reviewer provided an excellent description of the game so I will not duplicate that effort. The game is a good one. My wife and I enjoy playing it as a two player game (it has become one we play often) and we do get to play it as a three player game on occasion (which is even more fun). We have not yet played the four player version. In my opinion, the key to being successful is in coming up with a method of remembering what is in your “on the track” stack (since you are not allowed to browse through this face down stack). Having not yet found a method which works for me (as if I will ever find one), I go with a “feeling” for what I have placed in the stack. Unfortunately, this usually results in my taking on too many tickets and losing valuable points. If one has a really good idea of what is in their stack on their last turn of the game, and they know it to be a surplus situation, they can take four tickets as their last action, keep any that they know they can complete and discard the rest... a quick way to pick up some last-minute points. The game allows for some interaction via your ability to force an opponent to discard cards from their rail yard (always a “nice” thing to do... what’s a game without opportunities to be “nice”). The cards are of excellent quality (and are full size... a pleasant change from the current trend of utilizing those annoying small cards). My only complaint (a minor one) is that the design on the back of the cards is much too similar to the design on the faces. In closing, the game is a good one and one that plays fast, which is great for those times when you do not have a lot of time but want to get a couple of rounds of something enjoyable in.

Not the board game, but pretty good.
July 05, 2008

I had some trepidation about playing Ticket to Ride: the Card Game (Days of Wonder, 2008 - Alan R. Moon), because I enjoyed the board game so much that I didn't think a card game could possibly live up to it. Ticket to Ride is the most popular game I own, and I've introduced it to hundreds of folks with high success. I was eager to see the card game, and to see if portability had been injected into this tremendous series. T2R:TCG (what a bunch of initials!) used memory and card drafting to form an interesting experience, but it was not one that reminded me of the original game.

I think it's best described as watching a good movie sequel, except the main actor you loved from the first movie has been replaced. T2R:TCG is a good, fun little card game, which only really suffers from comparisons to the basic game. Forget that Ticket to Ride exists, and you'll find folks who enjoy this game. You will have to have some fondness for memory games, and there is the opportunity to really mess with your opponents; but most folks I've played the game with have found it enjoyable.

There are two different card types in this game. First, one locomotive and five other Train cards are dealt to each player. Then a deck of the rest of the train cards, made up of ten each of seven different colors and sixteen locomotives, is shuffled and placed in the middle of the table. Five of these cards are placed face up, along with six "Big City" bonus cards. A pile of ticket cards is shuffled; and six are dealt to each player, who must decide which of them they will keep (a minimum of one, but the player can keep them all if they choose). The youngest player goes first, and play proceeds clockwise.

On a player's turn, if they have any face-up train cards in front of them, one of each color is placed in a face down "On the Track" stack that they cannot look at until the end of the game. Then, the player can either

  • Draw two train cards, which can either be one of those that are face up or from the top of the draw pile. If a player draws a face up locomotive, that counts as both cards for the purposes of drawing.
  • Draw ticket cards. The player takes four of them and can keep any number, including zero.
  • Play train cards in front of them. The player can play exactly three cards of three different colors or two or more of the same color. However, players cannot play a color in front of themselves if they or another player already have that color, UNLESS they play more cards than the other player has on the table. If this occurs, the player who had the cards already on the table must discard them all.

When the last card is drawn from the train deck, each player has only one more turn (unless it's a four player game - in which case the deck is gone through again). Players then discard all remaining train cards in their hands, and use only their "On the Track" stack to complete as many of their own tickets as they can. Each ticket shows two cities that it connects, as well as the cards needed to complete it (each train card can be applied to only one ticket). For example, the Chicago to San Francisco needs a white, yellow, purple, and orange card for completion. Players score points for each ticket they complete and lose points for tickets that they cannot complete. Locomotives, acting as wild cards can be used to complete any tickets. Also, the player with the most completed tickets to each of the Big Cities takes the bonus card for that city, adding the points on it (from 8 to 12) to their score. The player with the highest score is the winner!

Some comments on the game...

  1. Components: As usual, everything is of high quality - the cards have a nice linen finish, and the artwork and layout are both done well. My only problem is that the back of the cards have four purple dots (small clocks) in the corners, and I've often seen people think that they were purple cards when giving them a quick glance. All the cards fit into a plastic insert in a small box (same size as the Kosmos two-player series). The game is easy to play and set up - just sort out some locomotive cards and then shuffle a couple of decks.

  2. Rules: The rules are only a few pages but are well-formatted with pictures and illustrations. I do think they are a bit sparse - especially when describing the end game, because not everything is made perfectly clear. For example, it never actually says you cannot lay down a set of locomotives, although it certainly implies it. No matter, though, as the game is very easy to explain and understand. Ticket to Ride fans might pick it up a bit quicker, but I can't see folks having too much of a problem with understanding the game - I've played it with young teenagers, and they also did fine.

  3. Memory: Since a player can't look at their "On the Track" stack, they'll have to remember what cards they've placed there. This sounds easier, but I always ended up with only a vague idea of what was in my stack. In one game I attempted to memorize the stack, and I sat there, mumbling to myself the whole game - and still got parts of it wrong near the end. The rules say that young or inexperienced players can look through their stacks, but I would HIGHLY recommend against this, as it adds a tremendous amount of time to a game that should be short. If you don't like memory games, I think T2R:TCG relies too much on it for you to like it. I didn't have a problem with the memory aspect, but it certainly keeps me from doing as well as I'd like.

  4. Ticket to Ride: The card drafting and the tickets are very similar to the original game, but that's about it. In the board game, I am constantly watching my opponents and can gauge what cities they are trying to connect by watching the trains they place on the board. In the card game, I really have no idea what my opponents are doing; I simply hope they don't put down the colors I need at any point in time. Wild cards are super valuable in the card game! In the board game I love them but only draw a face up wild when I really, really need it. I draw every face up wild in the card game, since they can be used to complete every ticket - making them extremely valuable. Really, though - comparing the two games is only because of the name. I think the board game is far superior (one of the best games ever designed!), but the card game can hold its own.

  5. Interaction: If you take your time to save up four blues, placing them in front of yourself, and then I throw down a pile of five; you've just completely wasted your time, and it's a bit aggravating. This is my favorite part of the card game; I love the tenseness of playing cards, hoping that the other players won't "trump" them with a higher number of cards. Playing three different train cards is a better move, because hopefully your opponent(s) won't be able to knock them all out - but it's much harder to do. Besides, it's a moment of joy when a player plays three different colors in a four-player game, and the other three players systematically knock out all three on their turns (okay - maybe the joy isn't for that player). Now, some folks are going to hate this - the playing of cards often feels (and perhaps is) spiteful. I personally think it ups the level of the game and would enjoy it quite a bit less without this feature.

  6. Strategy and Fun Factor: So what are you going to do? Do you try and get the most tickets to New York, to snag that fifteen point bonus card? Do you try to stop other players from completing anything, and then grab whatever you can? I found that it seems that whatever "strategy" I've picked, it doesn't matter at the end of the game, because of the luck factor of tickets, other players knocking out your colors, and the train deck itself. These all caused a great bit of chaos in the game. I actually think the game plays best with three, since four is an evil, tight game; but I still am not sure any strategy matters much. I think players will do best if they simply concentrate as to what is the best move on any specific turn. Is that fun? For players who don't mind confrontation and memory, yes.

So ignore the name of this game - your liking of it will have nothing to do with your opinion of the board game, good or bad. Think instead about the mechanics. If a card drafting, memory-heavy, confrontation-filled, fairly random card game sounds interesting - especially with a train theme involved - then this is the game. Most folks who played it said: "It's not as good as Ticket to Ride, but it's pretty fun." Since that seems to be my consensus as well, let's leave it at that.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"

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