Ticket to Ride was launched in 2004. This game was an immediate success and is loved by both people who occasionally play a game and hardcore players. A game that is this successful naturally requires variations and expansions and Days of Wonder brings almost yearly one or more Ticket to Ride products to market. Days of Wonder succeeds in keeping the level of the variants and extensions high. There is not a single ‘fail’ among them. In 2015, Days of Wonder introduced a very large expansion, namely a double-sided board with the United Kingdom on one side and Pennsylvania on the other.
Days of Wonder didn’t take the easy road by just releasing new cards, but both variants have something extra which makes them play very different from the previous Ticket to Ride games.
In the United Kingdom variant the players (maximum 4) are confronted for the first time with technique and permits. At the beginning of the game players are only allowed to claim 1 or 2 routes in England. If you also want to build longer routes or in the other countries of the United Kingdom you have to invest in technique and permits. At the beginning of each round you may buy a technique or permit card, which gives you something extra. You have to pay these cards with jokers (the price varies from 1 to 4 jokers). Fortunately there are extra jokers in the pile, but even then they remain so scarce that you can’t do everything you want.
In the Pennsylvania variant the players (maximum 5) also have to invest, but this time in stocks of train companies. This sounds more complex than it is. Next to almost all routes on the board are one or more stocks. If you claim such a route, you may choose one of the corresponding stocks. In the scoring you will also receive points for the stocks. The stock cards show how many points the player with the most (and second most, etc.) stocks of that type gets. The stocks are numbered and if several players have the same number of stocks of a certain type, the player who first bought a stock from that company wins.
Ticket to Ride: United Kingdom and Pennsylvania Map Collection still add to the original concept!
Days of Wonder has again succeeded in bringing out a nice expansion for Ticket to Ride. Especially the Pennsylvania variant is very good because you get to do more with the same difficulty. Routes you would build anyway also award stocks. If you pay a little attention to which stocks you choose, you can score a lot of extra points with them.
The United Kingdom variant is good, but it has a big disadvantage. You have to watch very carefully which techniques and permits you need for a certain piece of track and you’ll just miss something because for some routes you need three extra cards (for example for a ferry route in Scotland of a length 3 you need the concession to build in Scotland and the techniques for a length 3 route and making a ferry route). Because there are so many cards, it is difficult to keep an overview. This makes this variant a bit less interesting to play, especially for newer players.
But the expansion as a whole is definitely worth your money. You will get your money’s worth for sure. The box does not only contain a new double-sided map, but also a lot of extra playing material. Both variants are nice, although the Pennsylvania variant is the better one.