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!

  • The original version has neither of these complications. I think Europe does though. Commented Jan 10, 2011 at 1:49
  • 4
    @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... Commented Jan 10, 2011 at 3:20

3 Answers 3



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.

  • 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 Commented Dec 20, 2010 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
    Commented Dec 20, 2010 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!

  • 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
    Commented Jan 8, 2011 at 16:34
  • 3
    @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. Commented Jan 9, 2011 at 19:46

The rules of Nordic Countries (found on Days of Wonders’ website) are a bit confusing and I admit having to read them more than once. However, I believe I have understood the edge cases and their implications for your question.

First off, to state the obvious, locomotives can only be played in ferry or tunnel routes or Murmansk–Lieksa (section Train Car Cards):

Locomotive cards can complement or replace the colored cards required to claim a Tunnel or Ferry route, but they can never be used to help claim a regular route.

(Note: Murmansk–Lieksa isn’t explicitly stated here but explained further down)

Section Claiming Routes contains:

The Murmansk-Lieksa route is an exception. On this route, a player can use any four cards (including locomotives) as a substitute for a card of any color.

This is the only mentioning of locomotives in the Claiming Routes section; the following sections are titled either Ferries or Tunnels and thus imply being relevant only to the specific type of route.

In Ferries it says:

Ferries are special routes linking two adjacent cities across a body of water. They are easily identified by the Locomotive icon(s) featured on at least one of the spaces making the route.

To claim a Ferry Route, a player must play a Locomotive card for each locomotive symbol on the route, and the usual set of cards of the proper color for the remaining spaces of that Ferry Route.

In addition:

  • A player can play additional Locomotive cards as a substitute for a color card
  • Any three cards can be used as a substitute for a Locomotive card

The rules do distinguish between the required locomotive cards and colour cards. As such, it seems obvious that only actual locomotive cards may be used as a substitute for colour cards and only the required locomotive cards can be replaced with a set of three. It is not immediately clear if you could use four locomotives and six colour cards to buy that six-train ferry route with two explicit locomotives added. What does seem clear is that you cannot substitute a card that should be red by three yellows. (The link in Pat’s answer does not clear up this confusion as far as I can tell.)

As I mentioned, this was exclusive to Ferries. In Tunnels it says:

When attempting to claim a Tunnel route, a player first lays down the number of cards required. Then the 3 top cards from the Train Car card draw pile are turned face-up. For each card revealed whose color matches the color used to claim the Tunnel (including locomotives), an additional card of the same color (or a locomotive) must be played to successfully claim the Tunnel. See Examples 1 and 2. If the player does not have enough additional Train Car cards of matching color (or does not wish to play them), he may take all his cards back into his hand, and his turn ends. The three Train Car cards revealed for the Tunnel are discarded.

Be aware that with regard to Tunnels:

  • Locomotives are multi-colored wild cards. As such, any Locomotive card revealed, forces the player to add a Train Car card (of matching color) or a Locomotive from your hand.

  • If a player exclusively plays Locomotive cards to claim a tunnel route, only additional Locomotive cards drawn from the deck will be considered a match. This means you will not have to worry about a colored card of the Tunnel's color triggering a match! If Locomotive cards appear in the 3 cards drawn for the Tunnel, triggering a match, it can only be fulfilled by playing additional Locomotive cards from your hand. See Example 3.

This section contains no mention of any possible way to substitute locomotives with any other set of cards as locomotives are never required in the first place. It does mention the possibility of colour cards being replaced by locomotive cards as both the corresponding colour and a locomotive trigger additional cost. It also mentions the all-locomotive tunnel in which case only locomotives count.

Thus, in a tunnel’s case a locomotive can substitute for a colour card if present but colour cards can never substitute a locomotive.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .