Ticket to Ride London (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  • Designer:  Alan R. Moon
  • Publisher:  Days of Wonder
  • Players:  2 – 4
  • Ages:  8 and Up
  • Time:  10-15 Minutes
  • Times Played:  > 5 

Ticket to Ride is doubtlessly the most famous of the train games.  Fifteen years after Alan Moon’s creation won the Spiel des Jahres, it is as popular as ever.  A new map — this time featuring London, baby! — was released at Gen Con.  The trains are gone, with buses taking center stage, and as with Ticket to Ride New York, the playtime is shortened.  

Gameplay Overview

Players compete to connect different cities by laying claim to routes on a map of London.

Each player starts the game with two “transportation cards” (which are used to build routes on the board) and two “destination tickets” (which award points if the routes on them are completed).  Five transportation cards are flipped face up next to the board.

A player may take one of three actions on his or her turn:

  1. Draw transportation cards.  A player may take any of the face up cards or take cards from the top of the deck.   If he or she draws a face up card, they immediately turns a replacement card face-up from the deck. He or she then draws his second card, either from the face up cards or from the top of the deck.  However, if a player takes a face up bus card (i.e. a wild card), his or her turn ends immediately and he or she does not receive a second card.
  2. Claim a route.  The player may claim a route on the board by playing a set of transportation cards that match the color and length of the route and then placing one of his or her colored buses on each space of this route. Grey routes may be claimed by playing cards of any color (though the color must match).  After claiming a route, the player records his score by moving his or her Scoring Marker the appropriate number of spaces along the Scoring Track on the board. Routes give progressively more points the longer they are: a one bus route earns one point, but a four bus route earns seven points. (Note: The double routes are not used in the two player game.)
  3. Draw destination tickets.  The player draws 2 Destination Tickets from the top of the deck. He or she must keep at least one of them, but may keep both if he or she wishes.

The game ends when one player’s stock of colored plastic buses gets down to only 0,1 or 2 buses left at the end of his or her turn.  Each player, including that player, gets one final turn. The game then ends and players calculate their final scores. 

There are three ways to earn points in the game: by claiming routes (as discussed above), by completing destination tickets, and by having completed districts.  Destination tickets, if completed, are worth the points on them. However, destination tickets not completed lose that number of points. Districts are completed if they link each location in it with each other: if they do, they win the points printed on the district on the map.  

The player with the most points wins the game.  

My thoughts on the game…

I love Ticket to Ride London, and it is a worthy entry in one of my favorite series.  The game’s shorter timeframe makes it fit perfectly into a variety of gaming situations, everything from being a starter for game night to being the perfect game to play with family during the holidays. 

The best features of Ticket to Ride London are the best features of Ticket to Ride generally: it is a highly engaging game that virtually anyone can learn.  There aren’t many rules, and the ones the game does have are intuitive, yet there is enough depth here for both non-gamers and gamers alike. The game can be explained in just a few minutes, and new players seem to pick it up with ease. 

Because London is a much shorter version, it is actually the better game to teach new gamers.  It has 17 buses instead of 45 trains, so the game plays very fast. My family and I have been able to play it in about 15 minutes, sometimes shorter.

The game doesn’t feel quite as epic as the larger Ticket to Ride maps, but changing out time for depth works given the increased versatility of the game.  If I had an hour to play, I’d rather play a big Ticket to Ride map, but this is perfect for those shorter gaming moments.  

The London map is beautiful — the routes overlay the city’s grid system — and the references to London culture are great.  There are light-hearted references to everything from the Beatles (the yellow cards are yellow submarines!) to the city’s famed double-decker buses.  Unlike other Ticket to Ride games, this game has bus routes, and its 1970s setting gives this a cool vibe.  

I fell in love with Ticket to Ride after my first play, and I’m a bit of a Ticket to Ride completionist, so it is no surprise that I love London.  I’ve used Ticket to Ride to introduce people to board games for years, and in many ways, it was my gateway game. Ticket to Ride is beautiful in its simplicity, and that shines through in London.  I enthusiastically recommend this new entry in the famed series.  

Comments from the Opinionated Gamers

Alan H: 15 minutes of fun to fill an evening. 

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it! Chris Wray
  • I like it.  Alan H, John P
  • Neutral. 
  • Not for me…
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4 Responses to Ticket to Ride London (Game Review by Chris Wray)

  1. Pingback: Ticket to Ride London (Game Review by Chris Wray) – Herman Watts

  2. Chris:

    How much different is it from TtR: New York?

  3. Pingback: Ticket to Ride London (Game Review by Chris Wray) - Rollandtroll.com

  4. jeffinberlin says:

    Mark, I think it’s really only the map that is slightly different, as well as a different 3rd way to score: this time, it’s district scoring, whereas in NYC, it’s connecting to stops that have bonus points on them.

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