Large parts of the world could already be crossed with the trains from Ticket to Ride, but until now the game was limited to the mainland. This has changed because of the arrival of Ticket to Ride Rails & Sails. The title says it all: in this game you do not only travel by train across the country, but your journey continues with the boat over the water.
Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails, a game by Days of Wonder, contains a double-sided board with on one side a world map and on the other side a map of the large lake area in America and Canada. On these two maps, the well-known rectangular colored boxes indicate where there is room for trains. But in addition there are colored oval boxes on the board on the oceans, seas and lakes. Boats can be placed in these places.
The game is actually identical to all other Ticket to Ride games, with a few (minor) differences. Ticket to Ride is now so well known that in this review I will only discuss the differences compared to the standard game.
The first difference has to do with the introduction of the boats. You have to choose at the beginning of the game how many boats and how many trains you want. The total number of pieces you get is the same for everyone (50 for the Great Lakes variant and 60 for the world map variant), but you can decide how many boats and how many trains you take. If you discover in the course of the game that you have chosen a wrong combination, you can use a turn to change trains and boats, but this costs (besides your turn) 1 point per change.
The second difference is that you not only have train tickets, but also boat tickets. At the beginning of the game, three of each kind are open. If you take open cards in your turn, you may know yourself whether you fill the vacant spot with a boat card or with a train card. So you can take a train ticket and put a new boat card on the empty spot. Jokers only appear in the stack of train tickets, but fortunately they can also be used as a boat card. A large part of the boat maps consists of so-called double-boat cards. Such a card actually counts as two regular boat tickets and therefore gives the right to place two boats on the map.
The third and final change is the introduction of ports. Each player receives three ports at the start of the game. You can build them during the game, but they are expensive. You have to cover 2 boat cards and 2 train cards in the same suit. These cards must also be provided with an anchor symbol. It’s pretty tough to gather all the resources. At the end of the game you get 10 points for every completed route map that you have starting or ending in this place. Besides, ports that you do not build will also earn you 4 penalty points at the end of the game.
As normal, the player who has collected the most points at the end of the game wins the game.
Conclusion: Ticket to Ride Rails & Sails, a fun addition for fans of the franchise.
Ticket to Ride Rails & Sails is just the good old Ticket to Ride, but the few small changes still ensure that the game feels fresh. The game is not more complicated than the basic game, but it takes a bit longer (about half an hour). This is because you have more trains / boats that have to be built (in the original game you have 45 against 50 or 60 at Rails & Sails). Building the ports also takes extra time (especially because it is so difficult to collect the right combination of maps). You have to keep a balance between your boat and train building, otherwise it might be that at the end of the game you are heavily limited in your building possibilities or you have to sacrifice a turn and valuable points to exchange boats and trains.
Those Ticket to Ride fans will surely enjoy this new variation. The changes to the rules are small enough to be able to explain them quickly so you can start playing fast, but at the same time they are unique enough to make the game different from all other Ticket to Rides. People who have less strong feelings about Ticket to Ride franchise can let the game pass because they will probably find the differences too small.