Board games have become fairly popular these days, even outside of geeky circles. One game that has captured the hearts of many is Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder. In this train-inspired game, you play the role of a rich train baron who is trying to control all the routes in the United States. The board game is so popular that it spawned many versions of the game available in PC, Android, and iOS.
Getting things Started
The popular game was brought to the internet with Ticket to Ride Online. The problem with most board games is that they usually carry a social aspect that never translates well when it’s made into a video game. However, it’s fairly different with Ticket to Ride, where one can literally get lost playing hours and hours just trying to beat it.
Ticket to Ride Online gave the board-game-turned-video-game the social aspect it needed by bringing it online and allowing you to play with other players over the internet. Ticket to Ride Online is not free. There’s a one-time fee of $9.99 for unlimited play.
Gameplay and Features
For those unsure if they want to spend that much, the Days of Wonder website allows for four trial games before you decide if you want to purchase the game or not. When you jump into the game you will be given the option to play solo first against computer opponents. This is to let you familiarize yourself with the game mechanics. The nice thing about the video game translation is that it copies the rules from the board game exactly as it is without making any liberties in the gameplay. So if you’re a fan with the original board game then it shouldn’t be hard to get used to playing it online.
Another neat feature of the online game is that it runs on Java. This means that you don’t have to install a game client on your PC. You just need to make sure you have Java already installed on your rig and you are good to play the game right away. This shouldn’t be a problem as well as most online-based games these days run on either Flash or Java.
On solo play, you get to compete against 3 computer opponents. Just like in the traditional board game, the idea is to get as many points accumulated by claiming routes, connecting cities, and having the longest train line. You will have 45 train pieces at your disposal to do this, so you have to choose wisely. You start the game with 4 locomotive cards of different colors and 3 destination tickets. These tickets show which cities you need to connect. You can start the game by choosing at least 2 tickets and returning the 3rd to the pile or getting all three tickets. You will then be dealt 4 train cards. The cards are of different colors. To claim a route on the board, you will need to have as many train cards of the same color to claim the route. The longest route is 6 trains long. There are also locomotive cards, also known as wild cards. They can represent any color so can be used with any other train card.
Since you only start with 4 cards, more often than not, you will need to draw a lot of cards before you can start laying down trains. You can either draw 2 cards from the face up pile or 2 cards from the face down deck. However, if you draw a wild card from the face up deck, that constitutes as your 2 card draw. On the board, you will see colored tracks and one that looks gray or no color. To claim colored tracks, you need the same colored cards. But for gray ones, you need cards of any same color. The longer the tracks, the more points you get.
Now of course, you don’t want to just be building random tracks or routes. Since you have destination tickets, you’ll want to get cities connected that are indicated on your destination tickets. When you complete a destination, you can claim the points at the end of the game. But if you don’t complete them, the points will be deducted from you.
However, the game isn’t really as challenging when fighting computer opponents and the online version allows for other formats. Once you complete your first solo game, you will then be brought to a player’s lounge where you can then participate in an online game. This is reminiscent of playing online chess or go. You can either choose to join an existing game, by clicking on it, or create a new game.
If you choose to join a game, just select one of the available games on the list. You’ll be able to see which maps are used (as there are a variety of maps, just like the game) and players that are already signed up for the game. Once you decide, you can click on the game and click on Join. You just need to wait from here for the game to start. The nice aspect of the online game as well is that you can chat with your opponents as if they are really there with you. And let’s face it, what’s the point of playing a board game if you can’t play and interact with others?
I also noticed this game doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth to play. I caution to say that you may be able to play this game on dial up. The chief complaint with many online Java games is that it has a tendency to be sluggish. However, I have noted that the game here tends to be responsive. This game does not require time, so there isn’t any rush, but of course you wouldn’t want other players to be waiting for you because it’s lagging. You won’t have that much of a problem to deal with as the game itself isn’t very heavy so it is able to respond and move right away.
If you’re not interested in the games that you see, you can start your own game by clicking on Create Game. You’ll then be able to see a bunch of options like which map to play on, if you want computer opponents, how many players, and if the game can be observed by other players not joining the game.
I have also noted that the players tend to chat in the player lounge or in-game. To be honest however, when I started playing, I didn’t really chat that much and just wanted to beat my opponents.
If you’re looking for a good board game to video game translation, Ticket to Ride Online does its job. You can practically play anywhere you want as long as Java is installed in the computer and all you need to do is go to the Days of Wonder website to start playing. The game comes with 4 trial games and is available at $9.99 for unlimited access.