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Ticket to Ride iOS Review

Ticket to Ride iOS Review

Oct 11, 2012

Download: iPhone/iPod Touch Ticket to Ride Pocket - Days Of Wonder, Inc. | iPad Ticket to Ride - Days Of Wonder, Inc.

Price: $1.99 | $6.99

Genre: Board Game

Publisher: Days of Wonder

My wife and I love to unwind with an occasional board or card game. Since we added a newborn to the family, though, we seldom have opportunities to play because our hands are seldom free. We began searching the App Store to get our board gaming fix. Ticket to Ride was the first game that we downloaded, and it’s still the one that we keep coming back to because it’s both a fun game and extremely well executed. We’ve purchased every expansion and will continue buying them as more come out — that’s how much fun we’ve had with Ticket to Ride.

A Two-Player iPad Board Game

Although we haven’t played the physical board game, we decided to buy Ticket to Ride for our iPad because many agree that it’s one of the best two-player board games on the market. As is the case with many classic board games, Ticket to Ride has a simple premise and gameplay but leaves plenty of openings for strategy, ensuring that no two games are exactly the same.

The default game board is a map of the United States. Maps of Asia, Europe and Switzerland are also available at the time of writing, with each map adding at least one rule change that alters the game slightly. These expansions are available as in-app purchases ranging in price from 99 cents to $4.99. Each map has dots representing several different cities and empty sections representing the tracks connecting them. To claim a section of track, you need to collect a sufficient number of cards matching the color of the track.

Ticket to Ride iPad Review

Ticket to Ride iOS Gameplay

At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt three random destination tickets and must select at least two. These tickets represent the routes the player must complete during the game. Longer routes are more difficult to complete but are also worth more points. If a player completes a route, he earns the number of points specified on the ticket. If he fails to complete the route, he is penalized by the same number of points. You can also claim more tickets during the game for extra points if desired.

During a turn, a player can perform one of three actions: he can claim a section of track, draw cards or select a new destination ticket. The challenge, of course, is choosing the correct action to take. If you draw cards, your opponent might claim the section of track you had your eye on. If you claim a section too early, though, your opponent might figure out where you’re going and attempt to block you. Selecting a new destination ticket at the last minute can provide the bonus points needed to clinch the win, but the tickets provided are random and you must select at least one. If you can’t complete your ticket, you could end up taking a penalty instead.

Tracks range in length from one to six train cars. Each time you claim a section of track, you lose the corresponding number of cars from your starting total of 40. Each section also gives the player between one and 15 points, depending on the length of the section. When one player is down to their last two cars, each player plays a final turn and the scores are tallied. Scores are based on the length of each track section claimed and the number of points gained or lost from the destination tickets. In addition, the player with the longest continuous track receives a ten point bonus — the bonus often decides the game.


Ticket to Ride is a “pass n’ play” game, allowing multiple people to play on the same device by passing it to one another between turns. You can also play against AI and online opponents. Games take about a half hour to complete, and you may find it difficult to play only one game in a sitting due to the game’s quick pacing.

A Must-Play iPad Board Game

If there’s any downside to Ticket to Ride, it’s the fact that the sound effects are loud and jarring compared to the pleasant background music. Because the sound effects tend to rouse the baby, we’re generally forced to play the game with all audio muted. It would definitely be nice if Days of Wonder added an option to mute the sound effects.

Overall, though, I have yet to find another board game executed as well on the iPad as Ticket to Ride. If you have even a passing interest in board or turn-based strategy games, Ticket to Ride is a must-have iOS app.