This expansion is the first in a series of map packs being offered to expand the games of Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride: Europe. I believe Ticket to Ride: Marklin has a different distribution of train cards and therefore is not "officially" compatible with this expansion, but should work fine otherwise. And since Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries only includes enough trains for three players, it will work, but only for the lower player counts.
This map collection adds what I think is the greatest gameplay change to the Ticket to Ride series, which is the rules for team play (though I haven't played Marklin with its passengers), and is this expansion's greatest draw. It also provides another map with more traditional gameplay, though it does add a couple new things as well.
To date, I have played this expansion 7 times, three of those in teams on the Team Asia map, and 4 times on the Legendary Asia map.
The traveling competition moves to Asia. Now you can choose to work together in pairs, or go solo in a trek that includes dangerous mountain paths that may wreck a couple of your trains.
This game has quite a few more components than you would expect. It has the double-sided map board and accompanying tickets needed for each side. The Team Asia game needs some extra components to make it work, and for it you get 9 more trains in each of the player colors, as well as 6 wooden card holder racks that will be used to hold cards that are available to both members of each team.
I will start off explaining the Team Asia game of this expansion, as that is the one most different from the norm. For this map, you will pair up in teams of two, of which there can be two or three teams (which makes this the first Ticket to Ride to support six players!). Each pair of players will sit next to each other and share two card racks between them. One rack is for their shared train cards, and the other is for their shared destination cards.
Before the game begins, each player will get 27 trains, with both members of a team using the same color. Each player will use trains from their own pile when claiming routes. Each player will also get dealt 4 train cards and 5 destination tickets. Of these destination tickets, each player must keep at least 3, 1 of which MUST go on the shared rack. The others remain in the players hand.
Turns go around the table as usual, either choosing train cards, playing cards to place trains on the map, or drawing more tickets. However, choosing train cards has been slightly modified. Now when you choose a card, you must decide if it goes into your hand, or onto the shared rack. After deciding, the second card you take will go where the first one did not. So every time, you will choose a card that is only available to you, and one that is available to both of you. If you decide to take a wild locomotive, that must go onto the shared rack.
Playing train cards works the same as before, except that you can now choose to play from your hand, the shared rack, or a combination of both. If you decide to draw more tickets, you take three and must keep at least one. One ticket must go on the shared rack, and the others are kept in your hand.
One final action is available, and that allows you to place to of your personal destination tickets onto the shared rack. The rules for this game does not allow partners to discuss what they are holding in their hands, so this is the only way to let your partner see what your goals are in order for them to help you. Train cards in your hand can never go to the rack, and may not be discussed.
A feature used previously that makes an appearance on this map are tunnel routes. Each tunnel route has a number on it. When playing train cards to claim a tunnel route, you first draw that number of cards from the top of the train card pile. For each wild or like color that is drawn,, the player must play an extra card out of their hand to claim the route. If they can't or choose not to do so, than they take their cards back, and their turn is forfeit.
The game end is triggered when a team has only four trains or less between them. At that point, each player gets one final turn, and then points are counted up as normal, to decide which team is the winner. The longest continuous train gets a team 10 extra points, as does the team that completed the most tickets. Incomplete tickets take away points as usual.
The Legendary Asia map is a more traditional 2-5 player map with each player playing on their own. It follows all the basic rules of a normal Ticket to Ride game with the following additions. There are 6 long route tickets, of which one is given to each player as well as 3 normal route tickets. A player must keep at least two out of the four given to them, and they do not have to keep their long route. Any tickets not chosen are removed from the game as are the unused long routes. Only normal routes can be taken from that point on.
Ferries make an appearance from previous maps. Certain routes that cross water show a locomotive on them, which means at least one wild locomotive car must be played in order to claim that route.
A new feature on some routes are the dangerous mountain routes. When a route with at least one X is claimed, an extra train from the player's supply for each X must be placed in the mountain crossing area located in the bottom right of the board. Each train placed here counts for 2 points each at the end of the game, and therefore are pretty valuable, but it must be warned that the game can end sooner than expected if a player is discarding a bunch of extra trains.
As an end game bonus, whichever player is connected to the most cities in a single network of trains gets 10 points.
For those looking to really change up their Ticket to Ride experience, this is the expansion to get. Playing in teams adds a whole new dynamic to the formula.
Where you sit relative to your partner can be an important decision. The first player may want to be the card collector, while the second player claims important routes with the newly gained cards, before having to wait for another round of players to go. However, as each player has their own limited set of trains to use, this strategy only goes so far before the trains start running out and the players will have to swap duties. Sharing the duties is can be a better bet, but of course, this all depends on where you need to go, and what the other players are doing. Being able to place destination tickets on the rack so that both players can see the overall goal will sometimes be a good thing to do, but it does use up a valuable turn.
The Legendary Asia map is also a lot of fun. While it may not be the biggest draw, it is a fun change from the base maps, and still adds a few new things to keep it fresh. It plays a little bit more quickly than usual since trains can be lost on the mountain routes without extra cards being needed, so overall there are slightly fewer turns in the game.
As Ticket to Ride is still a more basic games than what I would prefer if given the choice, this is still an excellent addition for those looking for variety. As this is my mom's favorite game, having these maps definitely helps keep the game from getting too monotonous for me, as I am sure I will be playing Ticket to Ride for a long time. Following the BGG guidelines, I will give this an 8 (same as the base game), but highly recommend it to any Ticket to Ride fans!
You can check out my other reviews here at A Year With My Games. Thanks for stopping by!
An excellent review once again. I've had this for several months and I need to play it soon.
Nice review. This was an excellent addition to our collection. I enjoy the Team Asia format and have used that most often when introducing new players to the game this year.
...It is oddly coincidental that each time it has also been the last game of the night and no one wants to go home but would rather play again. At least it keeps them coming back for another game of something.