I’m very excited that you have found this post about 9 Exciting Games Like Ticket to Ride! If you are reading this it means 1 of 2 things:
#1 – You follow and love my blog and read anything that I write. If you are one of these people, you are simply amazing and I so appreciate that you take the time to read, comment, and share. You rock!
#2 – You found this article through a social media channel, website, or search engine because you love Ticket to Ride and you’re trying to find what game you should try next. Well, let me tell you!
Ticket to Ride is probably the most popular gateway games out there. I think more people have joined the hobby because of Alan R. Moon’s creation than any other game. It’s possible that I’m biased though, since Ticket to Ride was my introduction to the hobby.
While it is a classic, and always will be; it is, at it’s core, a gateway game. The draw of Ticket to Ride will inspire you to try out new games that are just like it. But what one should you buy first?
I think that depends on what you like about Ticket To Ride. There are no games that are exactly “Like” Ticket to Ride. Every game is it’s own creation, it’s own theme, with it’s own nuance. So what I want to do is break down the game into some of the aspects that you might like and we’ll go from there.
1. If You Love The “Territory” Control
While Ticket to Ride is far from your typical Territory Control game, it does have a bit of that in play. Once you place your trains on a route on the map, no one else can take that spot. Sometimes, no one cares… other times people around that table may let out a bit of a gasp or possibly even throw a train car at you.
This is a more of a press-your-luck mechanic (Should I draw a card or play a route this turn), but I believe it is also a great introduction to the feel you can get from a Territory Control game.
So if you love that aspect of TTR (That’s what the cool kids call “Ticket to Ride”) then I think you might want to try one of these games.
This game, published by Queen Games, still falls into the gateway game niche but has an entirely different feel than Ticket to Ride. If you’re wanting something new, but not wanting to spend 2 hours learning new rules, Kingdom Builder one is a great candidate.
Territory control is 100% Smallworld. If you are familiar with Risk, you need to know that Smallworld is nothing like it. First of all, Small World doesn’t take all day to play, second, there is a die in the game, but it is not the sole determining factor of combat. In fact, combat isn’t really an aspect of the game at all. I like Smallworld because it is pretty fast paced and is also a great way to introduce players to asymmetric powers. (Asymmetric powers means each player at the table has a different ability or action than everyone else at the table.) I would say it is only slightly more difficult to learn than Ticket to Ride, but it is tons of fun.
This game is much heavier than Ticket to Ride. If you are up to the challenge for working your way through a deeper rule book, and having to keep track of a lot of “fiddly” type things between rounds, you should check Power Grid out. Power grid is not a combat game but it does have a strong element of territory control. TTR may have been my gateway game but Power Grid was the game that showed me just how deep games could go, and sent me down the rabbit hole.
You can read my full review of Power Grid: Here.
2. If You Love Collecting and Playing Sets of Cards
One of the cool aspects of Euro, Hybrid, and Modern games is that they often combine various elements and mechanics of board games and card games. TTR is a great example of this. If you take a moment to think about it, Ticket to Ride is really just a set collection game that uses a board and bits as a visual representation of the sets that you are supposed to collect. Not surprisingly, Ticket to Ride is not the only game that does that.
Just like Ticket to Ride, in Pandemic players will collect sets of cards. In this case the goal is to get the right sets needed to discover the cure to various diseases. However, it’s totally different than TTR because it will introduce you to a whole new segment of strategy gaming: Collaborative games. Throughout Pandemic, players work together to save the world from viruses spreading across the globe. Thereby they will either win as a group, or lose as a group…. to a piece of cardboard. There really is no worse feeling. Nor is there a stronger motivation driving you back to play the game again.
You can read my full review of Pandemic: Here.
Bohnanza is a card game that is all about drawing, trading, and collecting sets. Fun graphics and make it a fun light game to introduce to your game group. But don’t be fooled by it’s whimsy. Bohnanza is the only game in my closet that has one specific mechanic: When you draw cards into your hand you are not allowed to play (or actually “Plant”) them unless they are the top card in your hand. This brings a level of strategy to the game and really encourages trading like no other.
This game was introduced in 2015 with an expansion that just got released in 2016. Not only that, but it has been my most played game in 2016, and even though there are 3 1/2 months left in the year at the time of this writing, there is no conceivable way a game is going to steal that title. Throughout Stockpile you’ll be bidding on and collecting sets of stock (cards) and deciding each round if you want to sell them, or hold them for the future. This game also does a fantastic job of introducing you to hidden information games, where each player exclusively knows a little tidbit of information that could help them, or maybe hurt other players.
You can read my review of Stockpile: Here
3. If You Love Having Secret Goals
I think one of the elements of Ticket to Ride that really sucked me so many years ago was the destination tickets. Knowing that I had these “secret points” up my sleeve that no one else knew about, while constantly wondering what other players had was just so new to me. Also, fretting about whether or not their routes would block my own was something that was very different from your typical roll and move board game.
Suburbia has this element at it’s core. Throughout the game each player is building a city. Each player will have goals that at the end of the game they will score, or not score based on whether or not they completed them. Players also have a number of common revealed goals that will also be scored at the end of the game. A word of caution, Suburbia is quite “mathey” as the game progresses, but it does have elements in play that make the math a bit easier to keep track of.
This journey into space takes hidden goals and adds what I would call the TTR twist. In most secret goal oriented games games, you get your goal at the beginning of the game and just keep it till the end. In Exoplanets, however, you will also pick up new goals throughout the game. The twists continue as your goal pieces also have immediate play options, allowing you to choose whether you want to save it and play it later as a completed goal, or use it for something else entirely.
The Manhattan Project
Some will probably say that it’s a bit of a stretch to compare The Manhattan Project to Ticket to Ride. Really, the games couldn’t be much more different. However, they share one thing in common and that is the ability to get points from secret goals. In The Manhattan Project, however, it is your sole source of points. If you are interested in trying out a worker placement game but want a small sense of familiarity, you could check out this one. It’s one of my favorites.
So there you go! If you like Ticket to Ride and are trying to decide what game you should buy next, those are my recommendations. If you take one of them, let me know in the comments, on Twitter, or Instagram which one you chose and what you thought!
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