I want to make a custom ticket to ride map. I am trying to figure out what the mathematical formulas are behind the design. why alan moon decided which city pairs to put on the cards, and how to value each city pair.

  • I probably should have asked this as three separate question 1) how to value each city pair. 2) which city pairs put on the cards and how that relates to which routes are which color. 3) the math of the connections between cities Jun 23, 2019 at 21:04
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    I am not sure this would work as separate questions as I am guessing all 3 of those, along with other factors, are needed to determine the routes and values
    – Joe W
    Jun 23, 2019 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


The point value of tickets, as far as I can tell, in the minimum number of trains needed to link the two cities.

I wont explain all of them as you can check your self but here are a few examples to show what I mean.

Denver to El Paso ticket is 4 points. The shortest route is Denver to Santa Fe (2) to El Paso (2) totaling 4.

Boston to Miami ticket is 12 Points. The shortest route is Boston to New York (2) to Washington (2) to Raleigh (2) to Charlston (2) to Miami (4) which totals 12.

Seatle to New York is 22 points. The shorted route is Seatle to Helena (6) to Dululth (6) to Toronto (6) to Pittsburgh (2) to New York (2) totaling 22.

This works as far as I can tell for all other tickets and in my experience all other TTR games. There may be a few exceptions but if designing your own map then this seems to be the standard formula.

  • There are some exceptions to the "rule" of "point value of ticket"="minimum distance", and one of them is one of your examples - the shortest route Seattle-New York is Seattle-Helena-Duluth-Chicago-Pittsburgh-New York which is only 20. As in my answer I'll mention the 1910 expension, which modifies the scores of some tickets, but interestingly also away from what the rule would say, and I believe that I've read somewhere that Alan R. Moon himself has said that it wasn't meant to be a rule. Jun 23, 2019 at 20:26
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    I expect there will be some exceptions, as stated in answer, and as you rightly say some are changed in expansions. But the questions asked for guidance about what value to give tickets in a custom version and it seemed a good rule of thumb at least. Jun 24, 2019 at 8:40

I'm not sure there's much math in that.

It's probably more lots and lots of playtesting.

When the 1910 expansion was released, the classic version provided tickets that balanced the game in a different (in most people's opinion: better) way because more games had been played, and more pros/cons of the standard ticket set had been discovered.

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