It's time to hop onto the board game express as Asmodee Digital brings the hugely popular Ticket To Ride to PlayStation's PlayLink system. The multi award-winning railway-based board game developed by Days Of Wonder has sold millions of copies worldwide, and has also spawned many variations both analogue and digital, so this is just another stop on its journey one might say.
One of the great things about Ticket to Ride is it only takes about 15 minutes to learn the entire game, and in this PlayLink version there is an interactive tutorial included in the app that is free to download so you can learn the rules before you even load up the game on the PS4.
Ticket to Ride is for two to five players, but unlike many PlayLink games, you can play on your own with one or more players being AI-controlled if you'd like. There are two main boards to play on in the core game; USA uses the standard rules, and France offers a slightly alternate style of play (we would recommend starting with the USA map until you've played a few games, just to get used to it before delving into the others). Gameplay can vary depending on the number of players and their level of ability, but most of the games we played took more than 30mins (but less than two hours).
The main goal is to connect the coloured railway links between the cities on the board to complete the rail links on your designated tickets. This is done by placing the correspondingly coloured train carriages along them, and you collect your train carriages by drawing cards and holding them until you have the correct amount of the given colour. Once played, that track belongs to you and other players cannot travel along it, so you must plan your routes well. There are eight different coloured routes and therefore eight different types of card, each of which is depicted as an assortment of train carriages all from the era of steam trains, including passenger, freight, caboose, coal, and more. All of them are wonderfully illustrated, and thrown into the mix are locomotive cards that act as a wildcard and can be played as any colour.
After the initial set up, generally you'll perform one of three actions; draw cards, play cards, and connect a route (or you can draw more destination tickets, although you don't tend to need more tickets until later in the game). The drawing phase is simple, as the first five cards of the deck are turned face up and the player can then choose to either pick one locomotive, up to two carriages, or draw blind from the deck, the idea being to build up enough train carriages to complete a route between two cities which can be played in the next turn. The board, upturned cards, and deck are displayed on both the TV screen and your mobile device, but each player has their own hand displayed on their device making for more realistic and tactical gameplay.
Each player starts with forty-five player carriages to lay down on the board as routes are taken, and play ends when a player runs out of carriage tokens and cannot complete any more routes.
Laying routes down and completing destination tickets earns you points which are added up as you play, and when it finally ends, any uncompleted tickets are subtracted from your total. The skill in the game therefore comes from balancing the greed of holding cards to complete long destinations against laying tracks to stop your opposition from reaching theirs. Really greedy players may risk collecting more destination tickets to earn more points but can get caught foul if another player lays enough track to finish the game early, which can mean big losses for the overzealous.