Basically, you try to claim as much of the available train track as you can. Okay, no. That’s pointless. You have to make very long continuous tracks while connecting destinations on ticket cards. Ticket cards ask you to go from city to city. In the USA version, it could be anything from a ticket pointing you on a route from Los Angeles to New York or one that requires a quick jaunt from New York to Miami. While the more ambitious ticket choices have higher point values, if you fail to connect the dots, the points are deducted from your score.
You can only set down trains if you have card colors that match the track colors and if you have the right number of cards to claim the track. Locomotives are like wildcards (I guess not all trains need them?), so they can be any color.
Of course, while you’re trying to hoard enough purple cards and locomotives in order to claim that long stretch of railway between two cities, someone might take it before you. Yes, I’ve cringed a few times at the computer screen when a fellow player (probably sitting pretty behind his computer console in some place interesting like New York or Paris) took my much needed route from Point A to Point B.
The game challenges its players to plan multiple routes for their trains so they don’t get trapped without a railway to their destination point. Or, and this has happened to me more often, I ran out of train cars. That’s right–you only get a limited number of cars to work with, and once someone has only one or two left, the game cycles into its last turn. Because of this, creative thinking is a must-have quality in the game.
Whether or not you wish to invest in the actual, real-live board game (do they still make those these days?) you should definitely check out Ticket to Ride. It’s enjoyable, and, dare I say it? Fun.