When completing a destination card, does the train have to be started from the beginning city on the card or can it be started from the destination city and worked backwards?
All you need is an unbroken chain between the two cities. It doesn't matter which way you started it, how many cities are in between, or whether it is the most direct route.
From the rules:
Each Destination Ticket includes the name of two cities on the map and a Point Value. If a player successfully completes a series of routes that connect the two cities, they will add the amount of points indicated on the Destination Ticket to their point totals at the end of the game. If they do not successfully connect the two cities, they deduct the amount of points indicated.
The rules for Ticket to Ride: Europe are similar.
If, by the end of the game, a player has created a continuous path of his color plastic trains between the two cities named on a Destination Ticket he holds, he scores the additional points indicated by the Point Value on the Ticket. If he has failed to complete a continuous path between those cities, he deducts the Point Value on the Ticket from his total score.
Note two important points:
- You don't have to start from an end at all. You can start in the middle and work out, or start at both ends and work in. Or both at the same time.
- When you lay a new track, it doesn't have to connect to an existing track.
Using these two points together in an effort to obfuscate your path from your opponents will become part of your overall strategy as you get better at the game. For example, suppose you need to make a track between A and E. You can go:
- A-B, B-C, C-D, D-E
This makes a single connected line that generally progresses in the direction of your target. A good opponent can use this information to try and block you. Consider something like this instead:
- B-C, D-E, A-B, C-D
This makes it much harder for your opponents to try and guess where you're going.