An Ode to Ticket to Ride

By Ashleigh Hvinden

Ticket to Ride, first released in 2004 by Days of Wonder and designed by Alan R. Moon, has been described as the ultimate gateway game. Whether you ask board gamers, YouTubers and podcasters, they would all describe it as such and advertise this title as a great introductory game to those who have never played longish board games besides Monopoly and Life. Ticket to Ride was also my very first foray into discovering a brand-new passion for collecting and playing board games. 2019 marks the 15th anniversary of Ticket to Ride and Days of Wonder just released the anniversary edition.

My library began its very first adult board game program in 2016. My supervisor had asked for someone to help her run it. At the time, I was part-time and looking for ways to gain more library program experience and had a love of board games in general, so I volunteered. Our Friends of the Library had approved a fund to purchase games to jumpstart the program, so after surveying reviews in professional magazines and visiting our FLGS, we purchased One Night Werewolf, Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride and received several donations from local game publishers. During the program planning process, my supervisor created a special shift for me, so we could go over the games and logistics of how to run the program.I had never played Ticket to Ride before so we broke it open and played. It was an awesome experience. The card drafting and train placing mechanic made me realize that there were different types of board games besides Scene It and Monopoly (which I still love) and that games had evolved a lot since college.  I could not wait to play it again. This game is my first choice for newcomers to our “Library Got Game” program and my recommendation to those whom are unsure of which title to play.  This opened me up to a lot more games like Splendor, Lords of Waterdeep, Troyes and led me down the board game rabbit hole of experiencing new games, purchasing too many of them, checking out Board Game Geek and making a couple of new friends who love playing board games. I owe Ticket to Ride a lot and attribute my new(ish) found obsession love to it. 

Over the last two years, my mother and I have purchased several copies of the game to give as gifts and recently just bought Ticket to Ride Junior to save as a Christmas present for my little cousins. I recently bought Ticket to Ride London which is a 2019 Gen Con release. Ticket to Ride London is a great, quick game with a lovely new theme. I recently brought it out for my church’s board game night and taught two older adults. They got the game in about five minutes of instruction and two rounds. The shortened timeframe and small playboard is perfect. The new theme is an awesome tribute to British rock music and the colors are beautiful and bright.  You also can’t beat the $20 price tag. I love the new theme and I plan to play it during this upcoming long weekend.

So, thank you, Day of Wonder, thank you Alan R. Moon and thank you Ticket to Ride for helping me discover a new passion, awesome board game podcasts and YouTube Channels and curb some of the loneliness that single adults sometimes experience.

Do you love Ticket to Ride? What was your first foray into board games? Share in the comments below.

 Ashleigh Hvinden is a Reference and Teen Services Librarian with the Carlsbad City Library in California. Ashleigh loves IP board games and started developing a collection in 2016. In college, Ashleigh was the one who had all the board games and would make her friends play Disney Scene-It so much so that they would refuse to play. Her favorites include Chess, Monopoly, Splendor, Lords of Waterdeep, Thanos Rising, Ticket to Ride, and Farkle. Ashleigh is always looking for a brand-new game to play and listens to way to many Board Game Podcasts. Follow her on Instagram @librarianashleigh or on Twitter @librarianamh.

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