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My wife has been playing Ticket to Ride on her iPod, and has achieved what seems to me a very impressive score of nearly 250 in the 2-player game. Naturally, nothing now matters to me except trying to beat her...

Even assuming a terrible computer opponent, it seems to me to be quite difficult to get much above 200 points in a normal game. But I thought if I enlisted the help of the BG:SE brain trust, we might be able to work out the maximum possible score for the US board.

And if we can find out or approximate that information, from there I'm guessing it should be easy to work out which routes or combination of routes are the best to aim for for racking up a top score...

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295. Sorry, don't have time to fully answer this. Leaving for someone else to explain. :) – ire_and_curses Mar 29 '13 at 20:10
@ire_and_curses I'll upvote the comment since you easily would have beaten me to the answer. :-) – SocioMatt Mar 29 '13 at 20:30
Success! After only a day of sporadic trying, I managed to score 265, connecting Vancouver, Montreal, LA and Miami and picking up about 15 routes. It would have been 272 if I hadn't pushed my luck by picking up more routes on my final turn :( – thesunneversets Mar 30 '13 at 21:37
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Straight from Board Game Geek:

In order to get 295 you must get one of the most important cities Miami! You end up sacrificing New Orleans and Sault St. Marie to do so.

Follow the same route from Vancouver to Santa Fe, but then you deviate from there:

  • Santa Fe -> Denver -> Kansas City -> St. Louis (Splitting Point Here)
  • St. Louis -> Nashville -> Atlanta -> Miami
  • St. Louis -> Chicago -> Pittsburg (Splitting Point Here)
  • Pittsburg -> Toronto
  • Pittsburg -> New York -> Boston -> Montreal

This route will give you the same 62 points for train length, but 223 for destination cards resulting in 295!

Dropped Destinations: Dallas to NY; NO to Vancouver; NO to Chicago; Sault St. Marie to OKC; Sault St. Marie to Nashville (48 points)

Added Destinations: Denver to Pittsburg; Miami -> LA; Miami -> Boston; Miami -> Montreal (51 points)

Following this as close as possible, you should be able to beat 200, and eventually eclipse your wife's score of 250. It's going to take a little luck, but this seems like the best blueprint.

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Cool! I should've known that BGG would have been a sensible first port of call, but obviously I'm a BG:SE loyalist. I'm going to go read up... – thesunneversets Mar 29 '13 at 20:31
@thesunneversets There's also a word document posted on the BGG section I linked. This goes through the way they figured it out, including individual calculations for each route. For some reason it shows up 5 points shy of the maximum, but 295 is the score ceiling. – SocioMatt Mar 29 '13 at 20:35
Having played a few games using this for inspiration, it certainly gives you a fighting chance of breaking 200 (against a weak AI anyway), but I'm all the more impressed by my wife's score of 246 now. So much has to go right to even stand a chance of hitting a score like that... – thesunneversets Mar 29 '13 at 23:37

Top score as far as I know is 293.

1. Vancouver-Santa Fe (13)
2. Vancouver-Montreal (20)
3. Seattle-Los Angeles (9)
4. Seattle-New York (22)
5. Portland-Phoenix (11)
6. Portland-Nashville (17)
7. San Francisco-Atlanta (17)
8. Los Angeles-Chicago (16)
9. Los Angeles-New York (21)
10. Los Angeles-Miami (20)
11. Chicago-Santa Fe (9)
12. Chicago-New Orleans (7)
13. New York-Atlanta (6)
14. Boston-Miami (12)
15. Montreal-Atlanta (9)
16. Montreal-New Orleans (13)

Longest path (10)

Seattle (1)
Portland (1)
San Francisco (10)
Los Angeles (4)
Phoenix (4)
Santa Fe (4)
Oklahoma City (4)
Little Rock (2) New Orleans (4)
Saint Louis (2) Nashville (2) Atlanta (1) Miami (10)
Chicago (2)
Pittsburgh (4)
New York (2)
Boston (2)
Montreal (2)

Destinations: 222
Longest path: 10
Trains: 61

Total: 293

Hopefully the breakdown is right, lots of numbers so maybe I made a typo, but the destinations and cities are all correct!

Tips: Get all the destinations ASAP, only skip a turn of claiming routes to claim Los Angeles-Phoenix, Oklahoma City-Little Rock and Chicago-Pittsburgh, as these are routes you need that will go first.

Happy travels!

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I believe 289 is the highest possible score. I have achieved it. Those who say 295 w/ Miami failed to subtract KC to Houston, another 5 points. I'm trying to figure out why the original document says 290 is the highest-- maybe just a math error.

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Can you give us a breakdown of how you achieved it? – doppelgreener Aug 13 '14 at 9:40

The highest I have ever seen was 378. All 45 trains were used, they got 26 destinations, and made all of them, had longest train and globe trotter (1910) I have a picture of the score too, as I couldn't believe it and I was seeing it.

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I have hit 266. I remember when I thought 200 was really high. 295 is the highest I've seen but I don't have a blueprint for it. Miami is a very important city. Basically I usually try to connect LA to Vancouver and NY, going more south if I can. Then try to get down to Miami. Watch your train count. Once I have a my 3 corners I'll try to keep drawing routes as long as I can, making sure I fill in the path to Miami along the way without triggering a last turn. Do this and you may not ever get 295 but you will eventually beat your wife (if she hasn't figured this out already) It may be worth noting that if the computer draws a few routes it may mess you up as to what's left. Thanks for other answers as well!

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Read the back of the score card. If you have a consecutive path of all 45 trains you get a bonus score of 225

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This is wrong - the score card says 45*5 to indicate the number of trains (45) and the number of players (5); there are 225 train pieces in the game. Building all your trains in a path will get you 10 points for the longest route. – Samthere Mar 3 at 10:12

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