Monday, April 13, 2020


Family Vacation
We were supposed to spend my kids' Spring Break sightseeing in Manhattan but because of the pandemic it was a week of staying around our house instead.  Since we weren't going to be visiting the Big Apple, the kids imagined exploring its neighborhoods and landmarks by playing the New York City edition of the Days of Wonder board game TICKET TO RIDE. It provided for a fun time on a cold afternoon when we were cooped up inside.

Family Game Night

In this Days of Wonder tabletop game, players compete to secure the taxi cab routes that usher tourists among landmarks and residents between community hubs. Whoever can secure the most lucrative routes scores the most points to win the game. These are obtained by drawing two types of cards during turns and strategically playing them: Transportation Cards and Destination Tickets.

Routes are a variety of lengths ranging from one to four spaces and can be one of seven different colors. Players can draw cards each turn so that they have a maximum of five cards in their hand at any time. Cards are blue, black, green, pink, red and orange and can be turned in to secure a route by matching the same number and color of cards as spaces on the board game.

Days of Wonder
tabletop game

Wild cards are also available that let a player match it with other cards as the color of their choice. So you could grab a two space green route with one green card and one wild card or two green cards in your hand. If you don't have a combination of cards for a route you want, a player may have to select another choice on the game board so they can than pick new cards from the deck.

For example, someone may want to grab a three green space route but only has one green card along with solo orange, blue, and pink cards as well as a wild. In that case you would have to secure on the single space colored routes (we'll say blue) to be able to draw another card for your hand. If lucky, the next card would be green and that along with the existing matching card and wild in your hand would let you grab the desired route. But if say a pink card is pulled a player may need to alter their game plan. The randomness of the card pulls is what makes TICKET TO RIDE: NEW YORK fun to play.

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new york

Destination Tickets are what adds a competitive edge to this game which can be played by 2 - 4 players. Everyone pulls two Destination Tickets that highlight a path between two locations that a player needs to unite routes so as to create a continuous path. Your Destination Tickets are kept secret from other players during the game. Competitors are supposed to try and guess where each other are trying to go and block their opponents from obtaining all the routes to get there.

For example if you have a Destination Ticket to go from Lincoln Center to the Empire State Building and are able to secure an unblocked path there with your cabs than at the end of the game you will get the 3 points printed on that Destination Ticket added to your score. On the other hand if you have a Destination Ticket to go between the United Nations and Wall Street but are unable to achieve that goal than at the end of the game you will lose the 8 points printed on that card at the end of the game from your final score.

Ticket to Ride

Players who complete both Destination Tickets can pull another one from the deck if they want. This means they could add or possibly lose more points. This is optional though and players can stick with just the ones they drew at the beginning of the game. Every player though has to utilize a minimum of two Destination Tickets during the game. This aspect of the game adds mystery and intensity to TICKET TO RIDE that compliments the randomness of the Transportation Card pulls.


Whoever gains the most points during the game wins. A game ends when all the players have run out of taxis or all the routes have been taken. The game includes score cards to tally everything up.

Points are earned by claiming routes. Players get 1 pt for a one space route, 2 pts for a two space route, four pts for a three space route, and 7 pts for a four space route. See where you've placed your taxi cabs and add up your points.

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Next players add or lose points based upon whether or not they completed the Destination Tickets in their hand. So if you didn't get that trip done between the United Nations and Wall Street done subtract 8 pts from your Route Point tally. On the other hand if you completed the task add those points to your score.

Finally you can get +1 bonus points for connecting tourist attractions. These are identified with a cooper circle with a white one number one printed inside. If you have routes that connect between these points add bonus points to your score. So for example if you have all the routes in a circle connecting Central Park, United Nations, the Empire State Building and Times Square that would be four bonus points added to your score. When picking routes keep an eye out for ones that are bookended by two bonus markers.

There you have TICKET TO RIDE: NEW YORK in a nutshell. What I particularly appreciated about this game is that it is rather quick to setup and play. Games average about 15 minutes. So you can pull it off a game shelf and play a few bouts of it during a lazy weekend afternoon or for a family game night. The other day we played six games in about an hour and a half.  We had to keep going until my son finally won.

Days of Wonder

Because my family had a lot of fun playing TICKET TO RIDE: NEW YORK it earned a Geek Daddy nod of approval. If you are looking for a game that isn't too complicated to play yet provides a lot of entertainment value this is the game you have been looking for. I also liked that it is very portable to take along while traveling as well as doesn't take up much space to store at home. A great selection for family gaming fun appropriate for ages 8+ from Days of Wonder. You can pick up the game at a good price from Target.

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