$30.00
Recommend
34 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Ticket to Ride» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Strategy - A Complete Strategic overview rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Andrew Rae
New Zealand
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This article has some fundlemental strategy tips but also a gameplan for a couple of deeper strategies to employ. I will also provide some comments on the subsequent ticket to ride games and how they vary from the basic. I will assume we are playing a four player game unless otherwise specificied.

I write on the back of around 300 online and face to face games and I hope I can give my readers a bit of a leg up based on my experience. I have said complete strategy to engage the comment of the crictics and I look forward to being proved wrong.

Founding principles

Long routes - If one considers each turn as an investment and tries to maximise the value of each turn then long routes provide the biggest return. In the first instance more trains can be used in a long route hence reducing the total number of turns used in building. In the second instance longer routes provide more points per train used. Although the same is true for TTRE there are significantly less long routes and it is usually not an option you have to take the longer routes. In all variants the 6 train routes are optimal for points scoring.

Choke points - There are several chokepoints which must be taken as early as possible if they are part of your projected route. Failure to secure these routes will force you to waste valuable turns and trains taking an alternative route. TTRE is an exception to this rule given you have stations available to you. In fact in some cases it is prefereable in TTRE to build stations.

The three choke points irrespective of game are LA-PHO, NAS-ATL, HOU-NO. In a two player game SEA - POR, DAL - HOU are also vital. Depending on the nature of teh game (and the more players their are the more vital they are) you might also consider getting MON-NY, NAS - PIT, TOR-PIT. Needless to say if a route is crtical to your sucess and the alternatives if it is lost are poor you want to get it.

Selecting tickets - Just as the long routes are most valueable, so are the long tickets. Where a long ticket is at your disposal early in the game, take it. Longer missions represent better economy in TTR because of the ability to use long routes to achieve them. TTRM is a totally different ballgame and their is a significant cost asssociated with taking long missions and long routes. With this in mind most of the coast to coast routes are like gold. These include NY - SE, NY- LA, POR - NAS, SF - STL, VAN - MON. The exception is LA -MIA which does not pair well with as many other large missions.

In the same vein a horizontal mission that goes across the board is better than a vertical one. All the long routes are coast to coast and a substantial score will involve the two coasts.

Claiming routes - In opposition to the advice about claiming chokepoints early is the piece that says not to claim routes to early. Often a player will collect one colour and then add wilds to fill out the link then satrt on another colour. In addition they will build their routes sequentially to adjoing routes. In doing so they often give away the tracks they might want in the future and invite otehrs to claim thier critical tracks. IN genreal it is better to hold cards and play routes in subsequent turns for secrecy reasons.

Choosing cards - Caliming routes as above also allows you to collect from the pile rather than the face up cards. Drawing from the face up cards gives you the colour you want rigth now, but cahrges you a premium for wilds. In contrast if you pick from the pile then you often get the cards you will need in the long run and you get wilds aswell but at the regular price. The more routes left unplayed gives you a longer time to get the long run average of cards and the colours you need. Of course you must balance that with picking up colours for the big routes, but the principle is sound.

Watch the cards being taken - With so much demand for the larger routes especially, one can often spot their competition for a route by observing what colours are taken from the face up cards. By spotting your opposition you can prioritise your collections and use those special wilds to get the jump on your opposition. It also allows you to measure how likely you are to get a card you like from the pile. Sometimes there are none of the crads you want in the pile and you need to collect wilds instead.

A single road - It is almost alwasy as easy to build one continuous road than it is many pieces put together resembling a web or disconnected routes. DIconnected routes are always bad because it does not allow you to pick up and complete new missions as easily.

Picking up additional tickets - I always try to pick up my extra tickets earlier rather than later. The more tickets you can see the better you can plan your route to complete them. IN this light I will often pick up ticket early to try and get several across the board missions once I have claimed my inistial chokepoints. The exception is where you have a good intial mission that goes along the perfect route (see below)IN this case you can build the ebst route anyway and then cash in on the inestment later in the game when you know there is time to complete the extra tickets.

Finsih quickly - The quicker you finish the game the less likely your opponents are to have completed their plans. Make it a surprise and hear their horror.

Gameplans

A couple of broad strategy options that you may want to employ

The perfect route - Given that there are 45 trains in your arsenal how could they be best used? The maximum points from missions using only 45 trains is well in excess of 220. The core of this route is VAN - LA - NY diverting down to ATL/NAS and going through SANTA FE,DEN,CHI,PIT and up to MON. This takes in all the missions above 12 except for those involving Miami.

If you can get a route resembling most or all of those spots then you can almost always pick up tickets and be guaranteed points without additions. The perfect route will be tough to get especially in a large player game but the core down the west coast, through PHO-SAN F - DEN - CHI - PIT - NY and down to ATL-NAS will win allow you top cash in at the end of the game if missions remain.

Where I have a choice of missions I always take missions along that route.

The quick kill - Sometimes your missions suck and you can see poeple loading up for across the board missions. Your position seems precarious at best. One option is to go for the Quick kill. In this scenario the player achieves her short missions by building many long routes. They try to finish as many long routes as possible no metter where they are on the board. Where possible the player also tries to leave several long routes till last. In this way they surprise the opponents and finish the game before the others have completed thier long tickets. Where a player has just picked up new tickets this is especially valuable. You may not score many points from missions but the number of long routes you have claimed has increased your score, decreased the others scores and left them with unfufilled missions.

Closing comments

These tips have probably wrecked the game for life for you. Over analysis can take all the fun out of it. Still any game that takes 300 plays to lose it's life is a fantastic game in my opinion. Hence my BGG rating is a 9 despite my lack of desire to play it more. New players may dispute it but an old hand will beat a newbie nearly every time despite the luck involved in TTR.

I suspect most additions will be clarifications or fuller explanations of these principles, but please alert me to other i may not have come across. If you are just embarking on your TTR career, enjoy, and for the old hand I hope I have given you some more food for though. Either way TTR is my most played game ever and I think it is a classic that is the perfect introduction to Eurogaming for almost anyone.
22 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Hamilton
United States
Asheboro
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Don't draw more tickets than you have trains for.
I was doing well and could have easily completed the tickets but didn't have enough trains. About 3 quarters of the way through I realized what I had done.
redtrainredtrainredtrainredtrainthumbsdown
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Of course, someone using the

"keep your two shortest tickets, finish them, then just grab the 6 length routes" strategy would probably grind you into the dust.

I guess you needn't worry that you've "wrecked the game for life" for me.

7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
the_kid
United States
manalapan
New Jersey
flag msg tools
I'll start with your 2 player comments. In a 2 player game amongst good players, Dal-Hou will almost never get played. Sea-Por also doesn't figure too prominently. A lot of weaker players play it first which screams Sea-LA or Cal-SLC. There are better ways to make both without playing the 1. Playing 1's is so costly.

As for the 4 player and places like Nash-Atl or Hou-NO, say you have SF-Atl. A lot of players play the 1 first. There are many other ways into Atl and it is more important to get the 6 Black then to waste a turn on the 1. If you don't get the 6 black with a ticket like that you will lose.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Rae
New Zealand
Wellington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yes perhaps I owed people the curtesy of putting that comment up front. Then again anyone reading a strategy article may well be that way inclined anyway.

Incidently TTR taught me not to spend my limited free time playing games on line but rather to save it for the face to face gaming sessions. In one way it preserves the discovery element of the game ( a ctach 22 when this is what you love about games) and it ensures you don't outdo your gaming group who may only play the game two or three times a year.

Actually my group organiser buys games like they're M&M's so we have this delima about playing existing games or new games. There are always new games to play. What do you favour?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Andrews
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
flag msg tools
OCD with the Letters in the Right Order!
badge
Squirrel Chaser
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
citylife wrote:
my group organiser buys games like they're M&M's so we have this delima about playing existing games or new games.


I haven't seen you at my house!

Oh yeah, I don't have a game group, just the pile of M&Ms, er, games.

Brad
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Morris
United States
Connecticut
flag msg tools
So, I decided to respond to this thread 'cause it has the most thumbs ups on it.

I generally play only 5 player games of ticket to ride, because as I have found, to my dismay, any fewer generally involves a whole lotta luck centered around which tickets you are randomly dealt at the very beginning. I have, however, identified what I believe to be the 4 or 5 absolutely primary fundamentals to winning consistently at 5 player TTR.

Let me preface this by saying the one largest misconception above all, I believe, is that you need to complete tickets to win. This is patently false. I regularly win without completing any. Here's why:

1) The single most important thing to do, above all, is to be the player that ends the game. This not only generally means the other players haven't achieved all their objectives, but also, in essence, gives you an extra turn!!

2) I completely agree that playing longer tracks is key. Avoid playing tracks that are shorter than three trains. They score fewer points per train (PpT as I acronymize it) but, more importantly, cause you to have to play more turns to end the game. That is bad. This specifically brings up one point of refutation for many strategies I've seen displayed: you don't need to, and often shouldn't, try and connect your tickets through the shortest route possible. If you do so, you generally score fewer points and take more turns to do so. That is bad.

3) There are actually certain colors that are more important than others, primarily because the longer tickets require them. In order of importance, I see it thus: White, Black, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange, Purple/Pink & finally Red. When faced with a choice of which card to take, use this as a very basic guide. Taking a card someone else needs is just as important, and sometimes more so, than taking one you may need.

4) Taking new tickets is not necessarily important, as I believe you don't need to complete them to win. However, if you do, wait until as close to the end of the game as possible. If you have built a good, long route that connects a few major cities (LA, NY, MIA, SEA, VAN, PHX & MON being the primary ones), you will likely gather one or two more fully completed tickets at the end. Even more likely near the end because, as others take additional tickets, they likely leave the ones for routes you are playing on!!!

5) Having the longest route is akin to having the VAN-MON 20 point ticket instantly added to your pool. You add ten points to your score but, even more importantly, you keep your competition from having the additional 10 points!!! Usually, this is the player with the second or third-highest score, also...EXACTLY the player you are competing against for victory!

Anyway, just my thoughts
29 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jo L.
Belgium
Gent
flag msg tools
badge
My scythe... I like to keep it next to where my heart used to be.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ijmorris wrote:
Let me preface this by saying the one largest misconception above all, I believe, is that you need to complete tickets to win. This is patently false. I regularly win without completing any. Here's how:


After that intro I just HAD to read the rest That was some good copywriting!

The rest of your comment was well-written and to the point. Thanks.

Edit: gave ya some
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
H C
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Another strategie thing regarding the color deck I'd like to say is that holding your rainbows as long as possible and picking up after rainbows is pretty useful. That is, the longer you hold rainbows in your hand without needing them, the lower the chance your opponents draw them from the deck since there's a finite number. The next thing relates to shuffling - stacks of colors tend to stick together more often than not when shuffling, even with a good riffle shuffle. So if a rainbow is flipped up from the deck, there's at least a slightly better chance the top deck is gonna be a rainbow. Its not often and its more so human error, but its something I've noticed in my games since people often play stacks of colors together.

ijmorris wrote:
So, I decided to respond to this thread 'cause it has the most thumbs ups on it.

I generally play only 5 player games of ticket to ride, because as I have found, to my dismay, any fewer generally involves a whole lotta luck centered around which tickets you are randomly dealt at the very beginning. I have, however, identified what I believe to be the 4 or 5 absolutely primary fundamentals to winning consistently at 5 player TTR.

Let me preface this by saying the one largest misconception above all, I believe, is that you need to complete tickets to win. This is patently false. I regularly win without completing any. Here's why:

1) The single most important thing to do, above all, is to be the player that ends the game. This not only generally means the other players haven't achieved all their objectives, but also, in essence, gives you an extra turn!!

2) I completely agree that playing longer tracks is key. Avoid playing tracks that are shorter than three trains. They score fewer points per train (PpT as I acronymize it) but, more importantly, cause you to have to play more turns to end the game. That is bad. This specifically brings up one point of refutation for many strategies I've seen displayed: you don't need to, and often shouldn't, try and connect your tickets through the shortest route possible. If you do so, you generally score fewer points and take more turns to do so. That is bad.

3) There are actually certain colors that are more important than others, primarily because the longer tickets require them. In order of importance, I see it thus: White, Black, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange, Purple/Pink & finally Red. When faced with a choice of which card to take, use this as a very basic guide. Taking a card someone else needs is just as important, and sometimes more so, than taking one you may need.

4) Taking new tickets is not necessarily important, as I believe you don't need to complete them to win. However, if you do, wait until as close to the end of the game as possible. If you have built a good, long route that connects a few major cities (LA, NY, MIA, SEA, VAN, PHX & MON being the primary ones), you will likely gather one or two more fully completed tickets at the end. Even more likely near the end because, as others take additional tickets, they likely leave the ones for routes you are playing on!!!

5) Having the longest route is akin to having the VAN-MON 20 point ticket instantly added to your pool. You add ten points to your score but, even more importantly, you keep your competition from having the additional 10 points!!! Usually, this is the player with the second or third-highest score, also...EXACTLY the player you are competing against for victory!

Anyway, just my thoughts


Really like a lot of these but I wanted to comment on some.

1. I dont think ending the game necessarily gives you an extra turn. I think the player with the greatest advantage is the one who starts the game as he gets first dibs on everything and will always. The extra turn from ending the game may end up being just a normal turn for example if you started last. Correct me if I'm wrong on this please.

4. Waiting until near the end of the game to grab tickets is rather risky IMO. There's a higher chance of someone ending the game while you're scrambling for tickets needed to complete your route, which may end up being a minus in the worst case. I think mid game, when you can reasonably expect your routes completed with many spare turns is ideal. Or early on when you're building, as you can accommodate your build to maximize cities hit.

Still, really like the advice here!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christopher Walker
msg tools
I just wanted to make a small contribution to this article.

If you want to optimize, remember that you only need a total of 45 train car cards. Since you already start with 4 (and also assuming that you can use these four in your routes), you should try to only pick up 41 more cards. That's a total of 21 turns of just picking up train car cards.

Of course you may not need that extra turn if you end the game with 2 train cars left without the train car cards to put them down. (i.e. If you find that you route doesn't really need the extra two train cars and that it would benefit you to end the game early, then end it)

This is just a concept to consider.

Please message me, if you want to talk more about this idea or about other strategies.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.