How do you play Ticket to Ride Europe

If you despair and are struggling to follow the rules to Ticket to Ride Europe. Then here we will explain how you play Ticket to Ride Europe.

Ticket to Ride Europe is a standalone game following on from the base game Ticket to Ride. It has some great mechanics in the tunnels, ferries and stations. Once you understand them you will delight at how this improves from the original game.

You will need at least 31 x 22 ¾ inches (79 x 52.8 cm) of space to place the Ticket to Ride Europe board on the table and extra space for the draw cards and train pieces.

Preparing to play

Each player chooses a scoring marker and places it on the start of the scoring track running around the outside of the board. As players accumulate points the markers give you a good running indication of where everyone stands.

The train card deck is then shuffled and each player dealt 4 cards and the remaining cards are put near the board as a drawer pile. The top 5 cards from the drawer pile are picked and placed face up next to each other.

The European Express Bonus and Summary cards can be placed face up next to the board as a reminder. 

Now take the Destination cards and separate the long routes from the short distance cards. Shuffle the long routes and deal 1 route to each player. Now place the long routes back into the box face down and make sure no one sees what they are.

Taking the regular route destinations and shuffling them you can then deal 3 to each player. The remainder of the regular destination cards can be placed face down as another draw pile next to the board.

Ticket to Ride Europe Game Set Up

Each player must now decide which of the destination tickets they want to keep. They must keep at least two in their hand and more if they wish. A player may discard regular or long routes and should put them back in the box without anyone else seeing them.

Playing the game

Ticket to Ride Europe begins by each player reviewing their destination cards. Each player must keep two cards but can discard or keep the rest (long or regular) as they wish. Any discarded cards are placed back in the box face down so no one else can see.

Game Turn

The player who has visited the most European countries goes first and can choose one (and only one) action from the following:

Draw Train Cards

You can draw two train cards or one locomotive card if it is a face up card. There are some special locomotive rules that I will explain later.

Claim Route

You can claim a route by using a set of train cards that match the quantity and color of the route. Once the cards are discarded the player can put a plastic train on each space of the route to claim it.

Draw Destination Tickets

If the player wants more destinations then they can draw 3 from the top of the destination deck and select at least one to keep.

Build a Train Station

A player can build a train station at any city by using train cards. For each station owned the number of train cards needed increases.

Drawing Train Cards

Ticket to Ride Europe Train Cards
When drawing train cards the player may pick two from either the face up cards on the table or from blind from the draw pile. If the player picks up a train from the cards facing up on the table it must be immediately replaced before they pick the next one. A player may only pick one card if it is a face up locomotive.

If at any time there are three face up locomotives then all five cards are discarded and five new cards are drawn to replace them.

You can have as many cards as you like in your hand. If the draw pile is exhausted then thoroughly reshuffle the discarded cards as they will be in sets. If there are no cards in the draw pile and no discarded cards then players cannot draw a card, they must choose a different action for the turn.

Claiming routes

A route is indicated by a number of colored or grey spaces between cities. In order to claim a route the player must have enough of the same colored trains to equal the spaces e.g. if there are 3 blue spaces then the player must have at least 3 blue trains in their hand.

Note that the locomotive is a wild card and so can go towards any space. You cannot partly claim a route i.e. put two trains down on a three space route. FInally, you can only claim one route per go.

When a route is claimed the score is immediately taken and the players counter is progressed around the edge of the board.

Double Routes

Ticket to Ride Europe Double Routes

There are some routes between cities with two different colors side by side. These are double routes. A player may only claim one route.

For two and three player games the second route is then closed. Four or more players can use the second route of a double route to be claimed by another player.

The image on the left shows two double routes. The third green is not a double route as it ends in Essen.

NOTE: Notice that some routes are not double if one of the routes ends at a different destination city. An example is the green route between Essen and Frankfurt. The black and red routes both start at Frankfurt and end at Berlin so are double routes.

Ferries

Here we begin to see the new features of Ticket to Ride Europe. Some of the routes on the boards are ferry routes which require a number of locomotives in order to claim. Each ferry route has a locomotive symbol on one or two of the spaces. Which means you will need one or two locomotives respectively to claim the route. 
Ticket to Ride Europe Ferry Routes

Tunnels

These are my favorite part of Ticket to Ride Europe and add a real sense of tension as you will soon see. Tunnels can be identified as colored spaces with an outline around them. Whilst there are a number of spaces between cities this only represents part of the route.

Ticket to Ride Europe Tunnel Routes

When a player wants to claim a tunnel route they must lay the correct number of colored cards for the length of the tunnel but that is only the start. Now they must turn up three cards from the draw pile. 

If any of those cards from the draw pile match the route’s color then the player must find that many more train cards or forfeit that route. Locomotives turned up from the draw pile automatically match the tunnel color and so require the player to find an additional train.

The player may wish to not play more trains if they wish. At the end of the players turn the cards taken from the draw pile are discarded.

If the player chooses to attempt to claim a route using only locomotive cards then only locomotives turned over from the draw pile will be considered a match. However, the player will then need to play another locomotive to then claim the route.

If there are not enough cards in the draw pile to turn over three cards then only the amount left in the pile are used. If there are no cards in the draw pile due to players hoarding cards then tunnels can be claimed as per normal routes.

Drawing Destination Tickets

A player can hold any number of destination tickets during the game.

The player will draw three cards (or however many are left in the pile) from the top of the destination pile. They must keep at least one card and can choose to discard one, two or no cards and keep all three.

Each destination ticket has two cities in which the player must have a continuous line of their colored trains connecting in order to claim. Once this is accomplished then they will get the bonus number on the card awarded to them at the end.

If by the end of the game they have not managed to complete the journey between the two cities the number on the card is subtracted from the player’s score. The point here is to not be left with destination tickets, or as little as possible, at the end of the game.

Don’t let your opponents see your destination tickets until the end. If they see your tickets then they can block your plans and leave you with lots of deductions.

Building Train Stations

Ticket to Ride Europe Stations

The train station is quite an important piece to wield in Ticket to Ride. If you had a destination ticket that required a certain route that your opponent had already claimed then you can add a station. This will count their route towards your destination ticket.

The station can only use one route into or out of the city. There can only be one station per city. A player can only build one station per turn and three stations per game.

Each station is more costly to be built. The first station requires a train card, the second requires two train cards and the third requires three. These can be any colour but must be the same e.g. they can be 3 red trains or 3 blue trains, they cannot be one blue, one red, and one white.

If a player does not use their stations then each station adds 4 points to their score at the end of the game.

End Game

The end of Ticket to Ride Europe is initiated when a player has two or less plastic trains left. The last round begins and will include all players.

Calculating Scores

As you have been claiming routes you should have your score calculated using your counter around the edge of the board. You can recount if mistakes may have been made or it is a particularly nail bitingly close game.

Now the players reveal their destination tickets and for each one completed their counter is progressed by the number on that card. For each failed ticket the counter is subtracted by the points on the card.

If the player is using a station to claim the route for multiple destination tickets then it will only count if those destinations all arrive along the same route into the station.

Add 4 points for each unused station.

Route Length
1
2
3
4
5
6
Points Scored
1
2
4
7
15
21
Ticket to Ride Europe European Express card
Now you must find the player with the longest continuous route. To do this count each train along the route only once. The route can loop and pass through a city multiple times. Stations do not count towards the route, only trains. Also, any opponent’s trains cannot be counted.
Once the longest route is identified then the 10 point bonus card is given to that player. In the event of a tie all players who tie will get 10 points.

Once you have moved all the counters on to their final points the highest score wins. If this is tied then the player with the most destination cards completed wins.

Ticket to Ride Europe – Conclusion

Ticket to Ride Europe is one of my favourite games. Now that I you understand the rules I hope you will enjoy it too.

Below are a couple of other games that may interest you too.

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