Ticket to Ride is fondly remembered by a considerable number of gamers as their first step into the hobby, a lovely peek at the hinterlands that exist beyond Monopoly. Usually, it must be said, this is because it has Monopoly-esque elements: raw capitalism, competition for areas (in this case rail routes between cities), and lots of plastic pieces you use to block your opponents (in this case, train carriages). Players take it in turn to choose cards from a deck containing eight different colors of cards (plus wilds). Once enough cards have been collected, players can use them to lay trains on routes of the same color between cities, hopefully fulfilling hidden orders that score you points by collecting distant areas to one another. But if someone takes the easy route from A to B before you, the game becomes a frenzy of sudden recalculation—if you don’t complete all your orders, you lose the points.
There are loads of versions, covering the US, India, Germany, the UK and elsewhere in various time periods, but we’ve chosen Europe as the definitive place to start; it’s a slightly larger, more involved map than the US, and the box comes with a few additional elements that make the game deeper. This will be a game that no one will be disappointed to see hit the table, even if people can grow out of it.