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My wife and I play a lot of Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries but recently we discovered we'd been playing Ferries incorrectly. Oops!

A ferry is depicted on the board as, e.g., 4 red spaces and 2 more red spaces with locomotive motifs. We'd been playing under the assumption that, to claim this route, you needed to play exactly 4 red cards and 2 locomotives. It seems, though, that there are several fine points to the rules that we hadn't noticed.

(a) You can always use any 3 cards in place of a locomotive. (b) You can always play an extra locomotive in place of a coloured card.

So, for instance, you could buy the abovementioned red route with 3 red cards and 3 locomotives, 1 red card and 5 locomotives, or even 6 locomotives. You could also buy it with 4 red cards and 6 blue cards.

Our big question arising from these revelations: do these rules stack? That is to say, can I buy this route with 3 red cards and 9 yellow cards? Eighteen assorted cards none of which are locomotives and reds?

Tunnels I think - I hope - we've gotten pretty much correct. You state you're trying to build a tunnel of, for example, 3 green cards. You flip over a green card, a red card, and a locomotive from the deck. We've assumed that you can now build your tunnel by adding two cards in any combination of green or locomotive to the initial three greens (i.e., you don't have to match the quality of the cards you flipped, just the quantity).

However, our confusion over ferries possibly creates a new question. If I had only 4 green cards (and no locos) in my hand... can I pay one extra green and three cards of any colour, in place of a locomotive to build my tunnel? I'm inclined to think not, but I just don't know for sure any more!

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The original version has neither of these complications. I think Europe does though. – Gordon Gustafson Jan 10 '11 at 1:49
@CrazyJugglerDrummer - Europe has locomotives, ferries and tunnels on top of the USA rules. Nordic Countries though has completely new, more complicated rules on top of the Europe rules. It would be a mistake to think, just because you know one set of Ticket to Ride rules, you know them all. They are, quite deceptively given that they're all called "Ticket to Ride", slightly different games inside every box... – thesunneversets Jan 10 '11 at 3:20
up vote 9 down vote accepted


These rules do not stack.

  • You can only in 3 cards to fill the designated locomotive spots.
  • You can use locomotives to fill in the colored spots.

You cannot use the first to get a locomotive and then trade that in for the colored card.

This question was asked of designer Alan Moon, on BGG and his response was as I have given here.

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Looks good - I do think it's telling that, after getting an official ruling from the game designer himself, mutterings of debate still continue in the thread! I think it's fairly clear that Nordic Countries is not the clearest set of rules ever devised :D – thesunneversets Dec 20 '10 at 2:20
@the - agreed, I'm a bit dissapointed that the ruling I cited was from March '08 and I was unable to find an updated rule set or an authoritative FAQ. I did see some rumors that the expansion may be reprinted. One can hope that the rules will get a bit upgraded then! – Pat Ludwig Dec 20 '10 at 4:32

So I think Pat has provided an authoritative answer (which I will no doubt end up accepting), but let me see if I can phrase the (clarified) rules succintly:

  • If a route is marked with one or more locomotive symbols (i.e. it is a Ferry) then:
    • Each space marked with a locomotive symbol can be paid for with a locomotive or any THREE other cards (regardless of the colour of the space).
    • Each space not marked with a locomotive symbol can be paid for with a locomotive or a card of the colour of the route (if a grey route, then the colour chosen to pay for the route).
  • If a route is marked as a tunnel then:
    • Each space can be paid for with a locomotive or a card of the colour of the route.
  • If a route is not marked as a tunnel then:
    • Each space can be paid for ONLY with a card of the appropriate colour.
  • In the unique case of the grey Murmansk-Lieksa route:
    • Each space can be paid for with a card of the colour chosen to pay for the route, or any FOUR other cards.

If anyone has all that clear in their head by the time they sit down to play their first game, they have better powers of rulebook comprehension than I do, that's all I can say!

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I don't get the answer above. In the rules to the european version I play it is clearly stated that locomotives can be used instead of a card of the recuired color (tunnel or no tunnel, ferries are not colored in the eu-version). What I understand from this is for exampel that 4 locomotives can replace 4 red cards on a 4 red route. Nothing strange about that, and if a 2 yellow tunnel is paid for with 2 locomotives you dont want to pull neither yellow or locomotives (as usual), but: What if a 2 grey tunnel is paid for with 2 locomotives? What are the "scary cards" that you dont want to pu – Peter Jan 8 '11 at 16:34
@Peter: Nordic Countries have completely different rules for locomotives than Ticket to Ride: Europe, which takes a bit of getting one's head around. They can't be used as wild cards on "normal" routes, don't take your whole turn to pick up, and don't "sweep" the cards available when there are three of them. When a tunnel is played using only locomotives, though, I believe it's only locomotives that you have to worry about pulling from the deck - in both Nordic Countries and Europe expansions! (But you then can only play locomotives in answer.) Not 100% sure on that, would have to check. – thesunneversets Jan 9 '11 at 19:46

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