As you might have heard earlier this month,Â Ticket To Ride finally made its debut on Android. As a board game buff, I was hugely excited about this and naturally had to give the game a go.
If you’ve never heard of Ticket To Ride before, it’s a hugely popular board game that has now been adapted for the mobile audience. The easiest way to describe it would be Monopoly with trains and train lines; the essence of the game is that you receive destination cards which define which stations you must connect on the board with your train lines. To do this, you must have the train carriages of the right colour to create a train line between any given two cities. Doing so will net you points that are accumulated till the end of the game. Some destination cards may be higher risk and offer more payoff (i.e. points), however, not completing a destination card by the end of the game subtracts that card’s score from your total.
Thus, the game is largely centered around strategy and careful planning (that bit is definitely not akin to Monopoly). Between 2 and 5 players can participate in a game at any one time; these options are easily accessible in the game menu before starting any game, and also gives you a selection of additional maps that you can play. Fans of the board game will be intimately familiar with this; Ticket To Ride is but the start of the franchises many additional maps that you can purchase, allowing you to play in places other than America, like Europe, Asia and quite a few other places. All these additional maps are not included in the $6.99 asking price of the Ticket To Ride app, asking for a few extra dollars for each one, but take it from a board game fan: this is a bargain compared to real boardgames.
The Ticket To Ride menu features one Gerry the Conductor who gives you spoken advice on what to do and what menus to go to for what you’re looking for. While this is a nice touch for a mobile game, it can get a bit tiring hearing the same lines all the time, particularly “If this is your first time playing…”. I believe this Conductor character will change for every different map you purchase, which would make for a nice change of pace. Even so, the spoken advice is different and informative, and extends to the tutorial video that plays if you turn on the Tutorial option.
From the Play menu, you will have the option to select either Solo or Online gameplay and between 2 and 5 players games. The solo games pit you against computer players, who are very competent adversaries, however I was disappointed by the lack of a hotseat mode to allow multiple players to play on the same device.
Online games are fairly straight forward from the Play menu: after selecting the number of people in the game you wish to play with, you are sent into either an open game or a game waiting for more players and wait till the game is full before you start playing. once filled, the game will start. This is more like the Quick Match multiplayer that you might be more familiar with that auto assigns opponents.
There is another online multiplayer menu but it is oddly hidden in the More… menu, but this menu allows you to add friends who also own Ticket To Ride, create public and private games, customize game options and even observe public games. It is a little inconvenient to add friends however as you need to know their user name and there is no social integration. But once you have added your friends, the options are extensive enough to allow you to play the way you want. In the online games, there are mediocre multiplayer options like a chat box on the left, but even on my Nexus 7, this chat window was woefully small and doesn’t expand when selected. That said, not many people talked during my short time playing online games so that’s probably not as large an issue.
Also on the matter of screen size, Ticket To Ride is limited to play on tablets with a screen size of 1024×600 and larger, with a resolution of 1280×800 recommended, and also only playable on Android 4.0.3 or higher in devices with 1GB of RAM. While this is pretty well most tablets and now some of the bigger smartphones on the market, it is a little unfortunate for some smartphone owners with small resolution wishing to play on the go.
Playing the game itself, the interface for Ticket to Ride is pretty well oiled; cards can be picked up from your stash and dragged to the route that you wish to commandeer and animations run well. There can be some delay when picking up cards and the like, but it is barely noticeable. There is music in-game, apart from the train sounds from making moves, which can be turned off via a button in the top left corner. The game progresses nicely with not so much as a hiccup throughout the game, which is exactly what you want from the game. All-in-all, the Ticket To Ride board game is pretty well exactly replicated in this Android app (and no fiddling with little train carriages).
When the game ends, the game counts up points for everyone, leaving your score till last and awards the winning based on the highest score. Ticket To Ride is the type of game that you will tenderly walk through the first time, but soon after that you will be a seasoned pro thinking up new strategies and ways to sabotage your opponents.
Ticket To Ride is a great app for playing its board game namesake. While enjoyment of the game is more related to the board game mechanics themselves, the Ticket To Ride app is more than capable of managing to provide all the necessary tools to players to properly enjoy a game of Ticket To Ride. With future Â updates and minor improvements, and basically limitless play scenarios, Ticket To Ride may be one purchase you should definitely think about making.
Game: Ticket To Ride