Designer: Alan R. Moon and Francois Valentyne
Publisher: Days of Wonder
Date Released: 2011
Number of Players: 2-6
Age Range: 8 and up
Setup Time: less than 5 minutes
Play Time: up to 45 minutes
Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Asia is the first map collection, an expansion that’s not a full game and needs a base game of Ticket to Ride to play, for the Ticket to Ride family of games. I won’t go into much detail with the game flow, but if you want to read more about Ticket to Ride, you can check out our review of the original game.
Let’s go over the basics real quick. Each player is given their own pool of train cars to place on the board, and Ticket to Ride has players draw train cards with colors corresponding to the routes on the board (or map). You have to turn in enough train cards as the color and length of route you want to complete (for example, Portland, OR to Seattle, WA is one pink route away, so you have to turn in one pink card to finish the route and place your train car on the board). You’re also given destination tickets that give you points if you connect two cities on the map with one consecutive route. You’re given three options on your turn: draw train cards (to finish your routes), build a route, and draw new destination tickets.
Once someone has two or fewer train cars in their pool, everyone—including the person with only two cars or fewer in their pool—gets one last turn. Then, you tally your points (earned by completing routes throughout the game, completing destination tickets, and the longest continuous route) to see who wins.
We’ll find that Ticket to Ride’s Map Collection will add a new game element with each map. Some of these elements are great. Others don’t fare as well. Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Asia takes the award winning game mechanics of Ticket to Ride and adds a cooperative element to it. Players now have the option to work as a team to complete routes across Asia.
Each team of two players keeps their train cards secret from each other, but they share the destination tickets, displaying them on a card tray. Game play doesn’t change as much as you would think by adding the team element, but some poor communication between teammates can lead to disastrous results.
I’ve found the team element cumbersome. You can’t talk too loudly because the other team or teams are sitting at the same table, so you either whisper, grunt, or point to a card. Once you have your form of communication down, nothing else really changes and the most disappointing part is that the team map doesn’t feel much different than the base game’s map.
Fortunately, the every man (or woman) for themselves map on the flip side of the board has a unique feel to it. The southern half of the board gets claustrophobic, while the northern half is more open. This setup causes the two halves to function differently. If you’re shut off from your goal in the south, you’ll probably have an alternative means to get where you need to go, but if someone claims the north, you’re out of luck.
This map also adds ferry and mountain routes. Mountain routes have Xs on some of the spaces, and you have to discard a number of train cars equal to the number of Xs in the route. Ferry routes require you to pay with a locomotive card (which are wild, rarer and usually harder to get) in order to claim the route. The number of locomotives you need is equal to the number of locomotive silhouettes in the route.
Verdict: While I like the attempt at a team Ticket to Ride game, and it works for the most part, Ticket to Ride: Asia shines with its every person for themselves board.