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I am planning to get the Ticket to Ride: Europe and introduce the game to a new player. For a beginner, I was thinking of playing the European map with the original US rules. I will be ignoring tunnels, ferries and train stations.

Is the European map playable and balanced with just the original rules?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would suggest that Ticket To Ride is fairly self-balancing.

What this means, applied to your question, is that the European map and destination tickets won't be as intrinsically balanced as if you'd played with the full rules. Obviously routes involving lots of ferries and tunnels have suddenly become a lot easier to complete, and as such more attractive to go for.

Equally, though, we can assume all players know this to be the case. If the game gains an element of competitive jostling to be first to obtain what appear to be underpriced routes, then that's a whole new layer to the game, and one which I imagine would be a lot of fun.

I wouldn't want to play Ticket to Ride: Europe with the US rules a lot of the time, but as a break from the norm there is no reason why it shouldn't be a great game. Having to re-evaluate a "known" gameboard in the light of a dramatic change of the ruleset is an excellent strategic exercise in and of itself.

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The map plays well using only the US rules, but not as well as with the full TTR:Europe rules.

You will have to decide how to handle the ferry routes and the tunnel routes. You can play it ignoring the difference, treating them just as any other route, and it won't break the game. It also won't have the same level of difference in feel, either.

Note also: The Ticket point costs are formulaic - they are the shortest possible route length between the two cities (except for the 2 miscalculated ones). So no adjustment of ticket values is needed.

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I do not think this is the best idea, here's why:

Usually, a game is designed and playtested against its original rules, to fit them as well as possible.
Since the Europe version adds the train stations, the game is built in a way that encourages their use. In this case, the map has several choke points that get crowded quickly, requiring the other players to build the stations.

So as long as you respect the other rules (mainly the one stating that with less than 4 players, double routes only count as single routes), you could encounter difficulties completing your objectives.

You can just risk it and hope for the best, of course. But in my experience, dumbing the rules down is not even necessary. I've taught TTR:E to a lot of people, and even the newbs hadn't had any difficulty dealing with the additional rules. You'll have to recap the rules for ferries and tunnels once or twice, but that's it.

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