Ticket to Ride, or as my nephew calls it the train game board game, is a classic in the board game scene. It is an easy-to-learn game, but still fun for the more experienced player. Over the years several expansions and versions have been released. In this article we breakdown all the Ticket to Ride expansions and versions on the market today to help you decide which is the best Ticket to Ride version for you.
Ticket to Ride: United Kingdom & Pennsylvania is the best Ticket to Ride expansion. Both the UK and PA legs of this expansion add a lot of new mechanics and strategy.
The United Kingdom map is one of the more complex expansions. This variant is set in the 19th Century during the industrial revolution. During the game players can choose to upgrade their trains using technology cards. By upgrading trains, you can build on different routes. But don’t be too keen on technology; too much focus on upgrading to the highest technology makes you fall behind on your network.
The Pennsylvania map adds shares to the game. When completing a route, a player can choose to invest in a company, that can be worth a lot at the end of the game. This variant adds a lot of strategy.
Ticket to Ride is the original, award winning “cross-country train adventure” where players are trying to connect railway routes across the USA. This was the start of it all and we would be crazy not to include it on this list because it is still one of the best versions of Ticket to Ride even with all the other great maps that have come out.
It’s great for beginner and experienced table top games alike and can provide seemingly endless amounts of fun and is a great place to start. If you are wondering which Ticket to Ride you should buy first, you cannot go wrong with the original that started it all!
This version is even compatible with Amazon Alexa. No rule book necessary! Just say, “Alexa, launch Ticket to Ride” and she’ll walk you through the game from beginning to end. You can even play against Alexa! How cool is that? NOTE: You will need an Alexa speaker device and the Echo Dot found here is the cheapest way to get started. (And yes, it does more than play Ticket to Ride, but who cares?)
If you like the Original and the US map, Days of Wonder released a special 10th Anniversary Edition that includes new designs and illustrations, an oversized map and custom trains and tin storage boxes. The oversized everything (including the trains) make it tough to use the pieces on other versions in the Ticket to Ride series but we think it’s worth checking out anyway!
And if you are really hardcore, you can pick up the 15th Anniversary edition here that features more a collector’s appeal with translucent train cars and an included booklet on the history of the game! Cool for collectors if you are into that kind of thing!
Ticket to Ride First Journey is the kids version of the award winning original! It features simplified rules and faster gameplay that is the perfect introduction to the Ticket to Ride series for the aspiring table top gamers in the family!
Everything from the plastic trains to the cartoon style art has been used specifically for a younger audience. First Journey is the absolute best way to get kids off the video games and on to board games!
There are two versions of First Journey depending on where you live or what maps you prefer. There is the USA version found here and there is a Europe version found here. We recommend getting both! (They’re that good!)
Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails takes everything we love about the original Ticket to Ride and adds BOATS! That’s right! Not only are you trying to connect your railways, you are also building harbors and connecting boats across big stretches of water in order to win!
This version of Ticket to Ride includes two oversized maps. There is a World map and a map of the Great Lakes. That, in addition to the new game dynamic of boats, adds to the replay value of this version of Ticket to Ride.
You may find that Rails and Sails is a little more complicated than the other versions of Ticket to Ride because it now has two sets of pieces (boats and trains), two sets of cards and the additional dynamic of building harbors. If you consider yourself an expert at Ticket to Ride and are looking for another challenge, then this is the version for you!
Ticket to Ride USA 1910 is an expansion to the original Ticket to Ride board game (not a standalone game!). But if you have been playing Ticket to Ride for a while and need some fresh gameplay, then this is the ticket (bad pun intended) for you!
It includes 181 new large format cards (the same size as Ticket to Ride Europe). There are 35 new destination tickets and other suprises in addition to a complete replacement deck for the original game in the larger format.
In addition to the new cards, there is also a new rulebook which teaches three new ways to play the game including the game’s namesake: the 1910 rules! Click below to learn more about it, and we think this best option for those who already have the original Ticket to Ride but want to inject some new energy into their game nights!
Ticket to Ride Europa 1912 is an expansion to Ticket to Ride: Europe (not a standalone game!). But if you have been playing Ticket to Ride: Europe for a while and need some fresh gameplay, then this expansion is sure to reenergize an old favorite!
With 55 new destination tickets included plus the original 46, Europa 1912 allows for playing three new variants of the Europe map: Europe Expanded (19 additional routes), Big Cities of Europe (which focuses on tickets to 9 major European cities), and Mega Europe (which utilizes all 101 destination tickets).
In addition to the new cards, this expansion also introduces the concept of Warehouses and Depots which add yet another layer of strategy and complexity to an already fantastic version of Ticket to Ride. You can click below to learn more about these new game elements, but trust me if you are a long time player of Ticket to Ride: Europe, then getting this expansion is an absolute, no brainer!
Ticket to Ride Heart of Africa is an expansion to either the original Ticket to Ride (ie. USA version) or Ticket to Ride Europe. If you have either of those versions of the game, then you are set! With The Heart of Africa, you get a whole new map set in Africa and all the perils of the desert, jungles and mountains to navigate!
That’s right! This expansion introduces Terrain cards that are drawn just like Train cards and players can use these to double the value of their routes! This adds an interesting new dynamic to the game that makes this version of Ticket to Ride worth picking up!
Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries is our expansion of choice for games with 2 or 3 players. Most of the popular maps are too big for such small groups, which can result in too little competition. But this expansion has a smaller map that is tailor made for smaller groups.
Further, in Nordic Countries there are a lot of different types of train cards and railway routes, such as tunnels and ferries. This makes the game more varied and keeps it interesting in the long term.
And note that the Nordic Countries expansion can be played as a standalone game, so it doesn’t require the Ticket to Ride base game.
Ticket to Ride: Team Asia & Legendary Asia is the best Ticket to Ride expansion for players that like cooperative games.
This expansion has a huge map of Asia and is designed to play with up to 3 teams of 2 players. But there’s a twist. The players in a team don’t know the destination cards that the other team member holds. This makes it a lot harder to complete routes and is a great challenge.
Further the Legendary Asia map has mountain routes, that are more expensive, but also worth more victory points in the end.
Ticket to Ride: Nederland features everything that comes to mind when you think of Nederland: dikes, canals, and commercially viable toll bridges.
The main selling point of this expansion is the toll bridge mechanic. If you want to build on a route, you have to pay toll. If you are the first on the route you pay the bank, but if there’s already someone else on the route, you have to pay that player. Toll tokens are worth victory points at the end of the game.
What we like most about this Ticket to Ride expansion is that it enforces quick building, because you rather pay your tolls to the bank than to a fellow player. This leads to some exciting and fast paces Ticket to Ride games.
Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam places players smack dab in the middle of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century where Amsterdam was the wealthiest city on Earth and the center of global trade!
This is a standalone version of Ticket to Ride and is significantly faster paced than the original Ticket to Ride. The simple rules and gameplay are designed for games to take 15 minutes or less which is great for families, tournaments or other gatherings where short but exciting games are needed! That doesn’t mean that Ticket to Ride: Amsterdam is only for beginners though. Expert players will enjoy devising strategies for this version of Ticket to Ride just as much as they do for the longer variations in the Ticket to Ride series!
Ticket to Ride: London places players in the middle of 1970s London during the boom of fashion and music of the city. Double decker buses connect some of the most famous destinations in London.
This is a standalone version of Ticket to Ride and is significantly faster paced than the original Ticket to Ride. The simple rules and gameplay are designed for games to take 15 minutes or less which is great for families, tournaments or other gatherings where short but exciting games are needed! Players connect bus routes across the city to win and are penalized for routes they can’t complete. Fast paced and fun to keep the whole family engaged!
Ticket to Ride: India and Switzerland is an expansion of Ticket to Ride so you are going to need to buy either the original Ticket to Ride (USA version) or Ticket to Ride: Europe in order to play these maps. Included in this expansion is a new map of India where players must navigate the busy and cluttered landscape of India. One cool additional rule is the bonus points you receive for creating a continuous loop, or “Mandala”, that connects your route cities.
This is a double sided board with the backside of the board sporting a map of Switzerland! Cluttered like India, players attempt to not only connect cities within Switzerland but also connect routes to neighboring countries. This map results in much quicker games.
If you are looking for new maps to liven up your game night, this version of Ticket to Ride will provide hours of entertainment and is worth checking out!
Ticket to Ride: Japan & Italy is a great expansion because the Japan map introduces a very interesting new mechanic: the bullet train.
The bullet train works as follows. All players build together on the bullet train route and it can be used by everyone to reach their destinations. This unique competitive co-op mechanic is strategically super interesting: are you going to get victory points, but help your opponents, or are you freeloading on the labor of others, but risking a penalty in the end for not helping to build the bullet train?
The Italian map is more traditional, with the addition of ferries to travel cheaper over water and the option to connect region’s to score more points. It’s nice, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Ticket to Ride: Europe is an absolutely classic board game. It’s the second version of Ticket to Ride and, in our opinion, a little better than the original game.
In Ticket to Ride: Europe you can use ferries, tunnels and stations. Ferries make routes more expensive, and tunnels add a chance element to the game, making it uncertain how expensive a route is going to be. And stations can be built within someone else’s route, making it easier to finish your destination cards.
Although the original Ticket to Ride is a great game as well, we prefer Europe over the original. The few extra element complete the game in our opinion.
What’s also great about Ticket to Ride: Europe is that it’s not just an expansion, but can actually be played as a standalone without getting the original Ticket to Ride.
And another fun bonus is that you can play Ticket to Ride with Alexa. She can both help new players by explaining the rules, but she can also play herself, and she is pretty good!
Ticket to Ride: Marklin is one of the older versions in the Ticket to Ride series. It places players on a map of Germany, but this is slightly different than Ticket to Ride: Germany. First and most importantly, this version was made in tandem with Marklin , the leader in model railroading. So the cards feature historical photographs of trains and other neat additions.
The game rules also add the concept of Passengers which are a cool little addition but some players, myself included, feel like the addition loses the ease of play that I have come to love with the Ticket to Ride series.
Ticket to Ride: The Card Game is all the fun of the original Ticket to Ride board game in a nice and compact card game format. Some people even love it more than the board games (I prefer the board games myself). But if you are looking for a unique twist on a classic. The Card Game version of the Ticket to Ride series may be worth looking into!
Ticket to Ride: New York is perfect if you’re in a rush (just like the people in New York).
We like to play games early in the morning right before going off to work. However, most of our favorite games take at least half an hour. Not Ticket to Ride: New York. This standalone mini-expansion is there for you if you are busy-busy-busy, but really want to play Ticket to Ride.
The iconic yellow cab’s replace the trains and the map is of a city, instead of a whole country, but other than that it’s Ticket to Ride just as we know it.
Ticket to Ride: Germany seems like it has the biggest map of all Ticket to Ride versions and expansions. It stretches all the way down from Denmark to Switzerland and Austria. The twist of this version is the addition of passengers. In some cities passengers are waiting to be taken to their next destination and you can collect these passengers for extra points. This simple mechanic adds strategy to the game; are you just going for your destinations, or do make a detour to collect the passangers?
Ticket to Ride: France and Old West is a great expansion to the Ticket to Ride base games. You must have either Ticket to Ride (USA) or Ticket to Ride: Europe to play this version but if you do, you get access to two maps: France and the Old West!
The France maps drops players right into the middle of French Impressionism and the Industrial Revolution with one unique rule: you have to build the tracks before you build the routes! While some players claim this significantly slows down gameplay, it does provide a unique element of strategy as your opponents can claim the routes that you spent so much time trying to build in the first place!
The Old West map is my favorite of this version of Ticket to Ride. Not only are you trying to claim routes but the game puts an emphasis on “owning” the cities themselves and earning points when opponents build routes into your cities. You can learn more about it by clicking below, but the Old West map makes this expansion worth picking up by itself!
Which is the best Ticket to Ride version?
Personally, I love Ticket to Ride: United Kingdom and Pennsylvania. The added elements to the game make for some interesting strategies that differ from the original game. There are multiple ways to beat the your opponents which always makes for more interesting competition and replay value.
If you are looking for a version of Ticket to Ride that is more closely aligned with the original gameplay, I would recommend getting Ticket to Ride: France and the Old West. Mainly for the Old West map as the France gameplay with laying tracks is not my favorite.
Which Ticket to Ride should you buy first?
These versions are the original gameplay and rules and will have you set up nicely to play other expansions and versions later. As seen above, you are going to need one of these two versions to play a lot of the Ticket to Ride expansions anyway so you are going to want to have one of these at home as soon as possible.
Is Ticket to Ride Europe better than the original?
That completely depends on the player, where they are from, which map they like better and so on. I personally prefer the USA map from the original because I live here and recognize all the destinations. Others prefer Ticket to Ride Europe because it has bigger cards. The decision is ultimately up to you and you can’t go wrong with either one. Just buy both if you are having trouble deciding!
Which Ticket to Ride is best for two players?
We like Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries. We think it is the best version of Ticket to Ride for two players due to the small map that allows for competitive games with smaller groups of players.
The popularity of the Ticket to Ride series has taken off in recent years and with it comes a lot of versions and expansions to capitalize on that success! Which is great for us, because we love the game and want to keep playing it! Hopefully you can read through our breakdown of all the Ticket to Ride versions out there and buy one for your next game night!