Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition – Game Review

Before I get into the review I feel I should mention that I haven’t played any of the other versions of Ticket to Ride.  This review will reflect that and those who have played other versions of the game are welcome to comment on the differences, but as I only have second-hand accounts of the differences I will not be discussing them.

The Game Components

The components in Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition are of high quality and the box contains the following:

  • 1 Board map of Germany with train routes
  • 240 Colored Train Cars (45 each in White, Red, Purple, Yellow and Black as well as three extras in each of the five colors to be used if any of the others are lost)
  • 165 Illustrated cards (The cards in the Marklin Edition depict different Marklin model trains.):
    • 11 in each of the eight colors (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Black, Purple, White and Orange)
      14 Locomotives (wild cards)
    • 6 Locomotive +4 (wild cards that can only be used on train routes of four cars or larger)
    • 10 Passenger Cards
    • 23 Short Destination Ticket Cards
    • 23 Long Destination Ticket Cards
  • 5 Scoring Markers (in the same card five colors as the Train Cars)
  • 74 Merchandise Tokens:
    • 16 White Tokens (all numbered 2)
    • 36 Yellow Tokens (12 numbered 3, 12 numbered 2 and 12 numbered 1)
    • 18 Red Tokens (6 numbered 4, 6 numbered 3 and 6 numbered 2)
    • 4 Black Tokens (numbered 7, 6, 5, and 4)
  • 1 Most Completed Tickets Bonus Tile (Value of 10)
  • 1 Rules Booklet
  • 15 Passengers (3 in each of the five player colors)
  • 1 Days of Wonder Online Access Number

Setting Up the Game

Each player chooses a color and takes the 45 Train Cars, 3 Passengers, and Scoring Marker in their color.  Place the Merchandise Tokens on the board with the highest number on the top of each pile.  Each player also receives four cards dealt at random and then five cards are placed on the table face up with the remaining cards left in a pile next to them.  Then each player draws four Destination Tickets (players choose whether they will draw long or short tickets and how many of each) and keeps two, three, or four of these cards.

Object of the Game

Like many games the object of Ticket to Ride Marklin Edition is to accumulate the most points.  Points can be scored in the following ways:

  1. Claiming a Route on the map (longer routes score more points – Length 1 = 1 Point, 2 = 2 Points, 3 = 4 Points, 4 = 7 Points, 5 = 10 Points, 6 = 15 Points, and 7 = 18 Points)
  2. Completing Destination Tickets (Short Destination Tickets are worth between 5 and 11 Points while Long Destination Tickets are worth between 12 and 22)
  3. Moving Passengers
  4. Completing the Most Destination Tickets (worth 10 bonus points)

How to Play the Game

Players take turns doing one of four actions starting with (according to the rules) the player with the best model train collection (our group rolled a die).  A player must choose one and only one of the following actions:

  1. Draw Cards – Players may draw two cards.   These cards can either be from the five cards that are face up or off the top of the deck.  The exception to this rule is if a player takes a face up Locomotive card in which case that player cannot draw a second card.
  2. Claim a Route – A player may claim any route as long as they discard cards equal to the route length and matching its color.  Grey routes can be claimed by any set of matching colors.  When a player claims a route they have the option of placing one of their three passengers on the board in one of the cities that connects the route.
  3. Draw Destination Tickets – A player may draw four destination tickets and then keep one, two, three, or four of them.
  4. Move a Passenger – A player may move one of their passengers along connected routes they control, picking up the top Merchandise Token as they move through cities.  During this move a player may play Passenger Cards to move along other players routes, one route per card played.

Players take turns choosing one of the four options until one player has zero, one or two trains remaining of their original 45.  Once this happens each player (including that player) gets one more turn.  Then players reveal their Destination Tickets and add the point value listed if they have completed the ticket or subtract the point value if they have not.  The player who completed the most tickets then takes the Most Destination Tickets Tile and adds 10 Points to their score.  The player with the most points is now the winner.

My Take on the Game

My first impressions of the game were, overall, positive.  While I am not the biggest fan of Euro Games (Puerto Rico was okay for a while but I never could get into Power Grid) this game had enough hidden information to keep me interested.  The first game I played I came in absolute dead last but I more or less enjoyed it.

This will never be a huge game in our group as some of our normal players did not like the game but it bears mentioning that others liked it quite a bit.  I think in the end I fell somewhere in the middle.   The fact that there is a lot of hidden information is interesting but it results in players often only stopping each other unintentionally.  This can be quite frustrating.  When a player deliberately messes with your plans I actually consider it less annoying than when it happens by accident.  This can add an element of luck to the game that may be unattractive.

Because of this my only real complaint with the game was the Destination Tickets, and I only really dislike them in a game that has fewer than four players.  On the game board some routes have multiple lines that can be claimed but in a two or three player game only one of the lines can ever be claimed.  This can make destination tickets much harder if you happen to choose tickets that line up too well with another player’s.  I honestly don’t see the option of drawing more destination tickets to be all that good.  Too often you will end up getting tickets you cannot complete, simply losing points by drawing more.

Possible House Rule: One idea that came up (suggested by Pat) for making the Destination Tickets less harsh was that players could avoid the penalty on one uncompleted ticket.  I don’t know if anyone else has ever tried something like this but currently the swing of completing or not completing seems incredibly harsh.  On the other hand, we have only played the game a few times and I think there would need to be further testing before any House Rule was implemented.

Some people do not like the passengers, which I understand only appear in this version of Ticket to Ride.  I can see why some people do not favor them, as they can provide a pretty big bump in score, but I don’t really mind them.  They do give you something else to think about, which can be hard for people like me that tend to over-focus in games but I still find their inclusion interesting.

Ticket to Ride Marklin offers a good deal to consider and those who figure out the best way to complete their tickets, as well as learn the ticket deck well enough to know what other players might have, will be better off.  While there is still a luck element to the game Ticket to Ride Marklin does seem like a game you can be good at.  Though I will admit right now, I am not.

Final Thoughts

As I said I like this game.  It will never be my favorite, nor will it be the favorite of my group but I think it will see steady play and not completely disappear into obscurity as some others have (Star Craft The Board Game comes to mind). I would love to hear what other people think of the game or any of the other versions of Ticket to Ride!

    ojiepat Says:

    I have played 2 versions of this game. The other version I played was on a US map, no passengers, and only one destination deck.

    In general I think the game is fun. It’s basically a big game of chicken. How long do you wait before revealing your intentions for tracks, or moving passengers. You can’t take it too seriously and have to always have backup plans percolating in your head in case you do get blocked, I like that aspect a lot.

    As Josh said in the sidebar, I suggested possibly making it so you can ignore one of you failed destination tickets, which would avoid some of the pain of being blocked. However, I just go balls to the wall with several big tickets and hope for the best. If I get them all, I have usually won, if I don’t I lose. Not sure how other people like that approach, but it is fun for me.


    Out of curiosity, what would you say made Starcraft the board game fade from the limelight in your group? (I have not played it yet).


    Most of us felt the end game was awful. Generally the final moves were one person stopping someone from winning only to allow another person to win because all the special missions become viable at the same time. It just made the whole thing not very much fun. We tried it several times because the pieces looked cool and it did sort of feel like Starcraft but in the end most of the group was pretty meh about it.