Some expansions to games are great, others you buy and then barely ever play. In general the Ticket to Ride expansions fall into the former category. Which to pick is tricky and I will often find customers gazing in a fairly bemused manner trying to decide which one to get. Hopefully these next few words will help clarify your choices. I’ll give a general opinion on how good the board game World feels they are (as opposed to my own opinion), but mostly stick to telling you what they give you.
There are three general types of TTR expansions:
- Card expansions
- Map expansions
- Other stuff expansions
To play the maps you need TTR: USA or TTR: Europe. TTR: Nordic Countries and Marklin only give you enough trains for 3 or 4 players respectively, so bear that in mind when buying a base set.
TTR USA – 1910: It adds 30 new Big City destination tickets, and replacement larger train cards. Also 4 mystery train tickets. This one is OK, to be honest, why after 10 years they still sell the base game with the tiny cards, when all the other base sets have large ones is beyond me. Some feel the expansion tickets fix the problem of the base game, so that building in the West is relevant again because more tickets go there.
TTR Europe – 1912: Similar to the 1910 one. More tickets and slight variants of how to play. It also includes the Warehouse module, which allows you to put houses on the board, which when you build tickets to them allows you to collect extra train cards. Again, if you want more variety in the tickets its worth getting if not then it doesn’t add a lot more.
TTR – Asia Map: This is a double sided map and the most expensive of them all. It adds trains for a 6th player and card rails for team play. One side of the board allows for 6 players and a special rule twist. There are routes that penalize you a train for each spot you build on, they are placed in the corner of the board. Each train you have there at the end of the game is worth -2pts. The other side is a 2 vs 2 only board. You have a communal hand/routes which you use the card rail for as well as your own cards and routes. You win if your combined score with your partner is greater than your opponents. This one is excellent as it gives you two very new ways to play the game, especially the 2 vs 2 twist.
TTR – India/Switzerland Map: The India board was a winner of a fan contest to design a map. It only plays to 4 people and offers a couple of new ways to score points through connecting cities on multiple tickets. The Swiss map is a 2-3 player only board. Many of its tickets instead of going from city to city, go from country to country or country to city by linking routes to France, Germany and Italy. Its a very tight map and great if you only play as a couple because it offers the tension that USA and Europe with 4 or 5 players would offer as the competition for space heats up.
TTR – Africa Map: this is a normal 2-5 player single sided map. The tweak is the terrain cards which are a separate pile of cards similar to train cards which you can draw as well. Under certain conditions you can use these cards to double the value of the routes you build. This one is a little cheaper than the rest and adds a nice variant to the game by forcing you stick to the more populated coastal areas or dive into the middle where routes are tighter but more valuable
TTR – Netherlands Map: Money, money, money, MONEY. Every route on the single sided board is a double which are both always used no matter the number of players. To build anywhere you must pay 1-4 coins. The first player to build on a route pays the bank. The second player to build on a route pays the first player who went there. You start with 30 coins, if you run out of cash you must take a loan, which costs you 5 pts at the end of the game if you can’t pay it back. Another good one, there really isn’t a bad map expansion to be fair 🙂
TTR – UK/Pennsylvania: Woah, this one takes TTR to the next level. UK involves a kind of technology tree. You start only able to build 1 or 2 train routes. By spending wild cards you acquire new technologies that give you the ability to build longer routes, go over water etc…madness. Pennsylvania now brings in stocks. There are a variety of companies that you can gain stocks in. Some only have to 2 shares, other up to 15. If have have the most shares in a company at the end of the game you get bonus points, with more points going to the companies with the most shares. To acquire these you claim certain routes on the board, so no more holding onto lots of cards to see what everyone is doing, you need to get on the board quick to start claiming the shares, while also trying to get your routes as well….mind blown!
TTR – Alvin and Dexter Monster Expansion: Two little monsters stomp around the board being a pain in the bum. These monsters stymie players both during the game and once it ends. During play, no routes can be built into or out of a city where Alvin or Dexter are currently nesting, and during the final score tallying, any destination ticket showing a city where either monster stands is worth only half its normal value. Spend wilds to move them around the board. Can be played with any of the boards. A silly, but cheap and cheerful one.
TTR – the dice expansion: rather than draw and collect Train cards, you roll five custom Train dice each turn. Depending on the outcome you can re-roll some or all, then use the dice to claim routes on the board; grab route tokens for future use; or draw more destination tickets. Its tough to find this one, but its the least popular of the expansions, so no huge loss.