TICKET TO RIDE: NEW YORK

Reviewed by Chris Kovac

TICKET TO RIDE: NEW YORK (Days of Wonder, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $19.99)

 

Ticket to Ride: New York is one of the two new City-themed variants (the other being Ticket to Ride: London) designed by Alan Moon of his classic Ticket to Ride boardgame (featured in the Spring 2004 Gamers Alliance Report).

To set up the game, first lay out the board showing lower Manhattan from Central Park as far South as a connection to Brooklyn.  (New York City is actually comprised of five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island – but only Manhattan and a bit of Brooklyn are involved here.) Next, each player chooses a color of markers (in this case taxis, rather than the traditional trains, which is a nice touch considering the theme).  The transportation cards are shuffled together and a hand of two cards dealt to each player. Five cards are turned up and placed next to the remaining transportation cards.  Destination tickets are shuffled with two given to each player. At least one of these must be kept. Remaining destination tickets are put face down next to the board.  A start player is randomly determined and you are now ready to play.

During a player’s turn, one of the following three actions may be done:

  1.  Draw up to two transportation cards or one wild card (cards with the yellow taxi) and put them in your hand.  You can draw either from one of the five revealed transportation cards or blind from the top of the transportation card deck.  Any face card which is drawn is replaced by one from the face down transportation deck.  If three wild cards show up in the display, then all face up cards are flushed and replaced by five new transportation cards.
  2. Claim a route on the board by discarding cards of the color and number of spaces shown on the route (you can use wild cards to substitute for missing cards).  Grey routes can be claimed using sets of any color.  Dual routes cannot be claimed by a single player except in a two-player game.  You mark the claimed route with taxis of your color.
  3. Draw two new destination cards from the face down destination deck and keep at least one.

The game ends when player is down to two or less taxis. Then one more round is played by each player (including the player that ended the game) and the game ends.

Each player scores on the included scorepad the value of completed destination tickets plus the value of the length of his routes (based on a table on the board) plus points for each tourist attraction he/she connects to (the points are marked on the board).  The value of any uncompleted destination tickets are subtracted from your score. The person with the highest score wins! (Ties are broken in favor of the player with the most completed destination tickets.)

As with the original, in order to win Ticket to Ride: New York, a player must balance the goal of completing routes to fulfill tickets with collecting enough cards to complete these routes. Of course, the other players are trying to do the same. As usual from Days of Wonder. the game has well produced components and well written rules. My only minor complaints are the cards are a little small for some people and that it seems to play best with four.  Since this game has slightly less than half the trains/taxis as the original game, it plays faster so you have less time to complete routes and collect cards. 

Overall, Ticket to Ride: New York is a nice light variant of the original Ticket to Ride boardgame while still being enjoyable for both casual and experienced gamers as well as a great game to introduce novice or family gamers to the Ticket to Ride line of games. I could see this series easily expanded to include any major city. (With New York and London already in the fold, perhaps a Ticket to Ride: Paris or perhaps my own home town Toronto next?) Ticket to Ride: New York is a highly recommended addition to the Ticket to Ride game series or to fans of games with a New York theme. I give it an 8.5 out of ten. – – – – – – – – – Chris Kovac


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