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12 Fun Board Games Like Ticket to Ride!

Ticket to Ride was one of the first games I played when I started exploring the board game hobby. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to find other games like Ticket to Ride! Over the years I’ve played several board games that are like Ticket to Ride.

Each board game on this list is similar to Ticket to Ride in different ways. So it depends on what you’re looking for in your next game. It could be the train and railway theme, building routes, or something that’s quite easy to learn and teach to other players.

Whatever it is that you like about Ticket to Ride, this list will give you some ideas for which game to play next!

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1. TransAmerica

Number of players: 2-6
Time to play: 30 minutes
Age: 13+ (but I suggest age 8+)
Complexity: Light

Why TransAmerica is like Ticket to Ride: Building train routes across America, family friendly, lightweight
See at Amazon: TransAmerica

TransAmerica is so similar to Ticket to Ride, it had to be the first game on this list!

Each player has 5 cities across the United States and they need to build railroad to connect them. Sound familiar? The first player to connect all 5 of their cities wins the round! At the end of a round, the players who didn’t manage to connect all their stations, lose points.

Like in Ticket to Ride, points are logged along a scoring track. The game ends when a player scores enough points to reach the end of the scoring track!

TransAmerica is easier to learn and play than Ticket to Ride. On a turn, all a player does is plays one or two rails in the places they see as most strategic to connect their cities. You can even cheekily add your rails to the tracks already laid by other players to route the tracks towards your cities instead of theirs!

Because there’s no resource management like with the Ticket to Ride train cards, TransAmerica is a great game for new board gamers and for playing with families. The recommended age is 13+ but TransAmerica is simple enough for younger children from about age 8 to play.

If you want a more strategic experience, you could always get the Vexation expansion which adds special coloured tracks that can only be used by you. So you can stop other players from taking advantage of tracks you’re already laid down!

TransEuropa is the European version of TransAmerica which features a map of Europe instead of the US. The cards in TransAmerica feature small images of the locations to help you find them on the map, TransEuropa cards don’t have these images. Which makes TransAmerica the better version for playing with children or players unfamiliar with the city locations. Otherwise, the games are the same. The Vexation expansion works with both games.

Go see TransAmerica for yourself on Amazon. Or if you fancy the European version instead, go take a look at TransEuropa on Amazon.

2. Trekking the National Parks

Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 30-60 minutes
Age: 10+
Complexity: Light

Why Trekking the National Parks is like Ticket to Ride: Trek across routes in the US, family friendly, card collection
See it at Amazon: Trekking the National Parks

Trekking the National Parks is another board game set in the US, but instead of building train routes, your objective is to travel across the States exploring the landscape and visiting National Parks.

It’s similar to Ticket to Ride in that you’re travelling along pre-set routes but instead of collecting cards and claiming routes, you collect stones, park cards and occupy Major Parks for points.

Each player has a little trekker meeple that represents them in the game. It’s this meeple that moves along the routes and visits the parks.

Like the coloured train cards in Ticket to Ride, Trekking the National parks has coloured cards that players collect and use. Each card is used either to move their trekker or to claim a park. Collecting colours and balancing the use of the cards between movement and claiming parks makes for a fun strategic challenge!

There are two types of park cards in the game. Regular parks and Major Parks.

There are only 3 regular park cards face up at any one time. When a park is claimed by a trekker visiting that location, the card is replaced by a new park card. You might just be in luck and be right next to a park when the card is flipped and not have to travel far to claim it!

3 of the 6 Major Parks are drawn at the start of the game and remain in play throughout. Each Major Park grants special bonuses for players that occupy it, for example, additional movement on their turn.

When a player has collected 5 park cards or all the stones have been collected, the game ends. Points are given for park cards, occupying Major Parks and for having the most or second-most stones of each colour.

Trekking the National Parks is a little more complex than Ticket to Ride, but not by much. It’s a perfect game for families to enjoy and each park cards has a beautiful photo and fact about that park so it’s educational too!

Take a look for yourself at the beautiful art in Trekking the National Parks on Amazon.

3. Pan Am

Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 60 minutes
Age: 12+
Complexity: Medium

Why Pan Am is like Ticket to Ride: Claiming routes but with airplanes instead of trains
See at Amazon: Pan Am

In Pan Am, your goal is to build your airline business empire and get rich doing so! Pan American World Airlines is a growing company and they want the best routes and destinations.

So you, along with the other players, buy planes, bid for landing rights on destinations and hope that Pan Am wants to buy them. You then get your planes back and can use them on other routes.

As for the profit? Well, you’ll want to invest some and use some to buy stocks in Pan Am. How much stock you buy is up to you of course! Keep an eye on the stock market to buy low whenever you can! The player with the most stock in Pan Am at the end of round seven wins!

The game takes place over four decades. Each decade brings with it special events like changes in technology and historical developments which will affect your strategies.

Each player also has engineers they can place on the board to take actions as well as special directive cards that give out special powers.

With a mixture of bidding, worker placement, route planning and some set collection, Pan Am is a little more complicated than Ticket to Ride but builds on its mechanisms.

It’s a good step up in complexity for those looking for something a bit more strategic but with a similar game experience to Ticket to Ride.

Go take a look at Pan Am (and its retro art style) on Amazon.

 

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4. Thurn and Taxis

Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 60 minutes
Age: 10+
Complexity: Light – Medium

Why Thurn and Traxis is like Ticket to Ride: Building routes, set collection, hand management and card drafting
See at Amazon: Thurn and Taxis

Thurn & Taxis is a lot like Ticket to Ride, but instead of building train routes, you’re creating postal routes and post offices in Bavaria in the 16th Century. Thurn and Taxis won the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) award in 2006, the same award Ticket to Ride won in 2004!

The game map is divided into 9 provinces with 22 cities spread throughout them. Players start the game with 20 houses just like in Ticket to Ride you start with your trains. The houses are used to mark cities.

On a turn, players draw cards that represent cities and then play cards and place one of their 20 houses to create routes through cities. Routes are only allowed to pass through a city once, which makes for some interesting planning decisions!

At the end of the game, points are given for marking all the cities in a province, all cities in any of the regions and for having routes that meet the target lengths given as the game plays.

With card drafting, hand management, network and route building and set collection, Thurn and Taxis has a lot in common with Ticket to Ride.

Thurn and Taxis can be a tricky game to get hold of with most places being out of stock. Because Thurn and Taxis is a board game set in Germany, the German edition is usually easier to find than the English version.

Check if Thurn and Taxis is in stock at Amazon.

5. Railroad Ink

Number of players: 1-6 (12+ by combining copies)
Time to play: 20-30 minutes
Age: 8+
Complexity: Light

Why Railroad Ink is like Ticket to Ride: It’s about trains and creating routes!
See at Amazon: Railroad Ink

For a different kind of game about trains, Railroad Ink is a great choice! It’s got all the fun of creating routes from Ticket to Ride, it’s easy to learn, it’s family-friendly and is quick to play too!

In Railroad Ink, each player has their own little dry wipe pen and an erasable whiteboard with a 7 x 7 grid on it and nine exits dotted around the edge. Every round, a set of dice with road and railway routes on their faces are rolled. The routes have different shapes such as straight lines, T junctions and corners.

Every player then draws the routes shown on the dice onto their individual whiteboards to create routes. It’s called a ‘roll and write’ game for this reason!

The aim of the game is to connect as many exits as possible to get points at the end of the game. Points are deducted for incomplete routes, so you need to plan carefully! It’s not always a good idea to try to connect all the exits!

There are two versions of Railroad Ink, blue and red, but they both play the same. The only difference is the expansion dice they include. The blue edition adds dice for Rivers and Lakes, while the red adds dice for Volcanos and Magma instead.

Both editions are for one to 6 players, but if you have more than one copy of Railroad Ink, you can use them together to have 12 players or more!

Go check out Railroad Ink at Amazon.

6. Tsuro

Number of players: 2-8
Time to play: 15-20 minutes
Age: 8+ (but 6+ will be fine)
Complexity: Very light

Why Tsuro is like Ticket to Ride: Playing routes on the same board
See it at Amazon: Tsuro

Tsuro is a really lightweight and relaxing game that anyone from about age 6 upwards can play. It’s a bit like those follow the wiggly line to get out of the maze puzzles that you see in children’s colouring books, but an interactive version.

The game has a board with a 6 x 6 grid on it and a stack of tiles featuring squiggly lines.

Each player has a hand of tiles with lines on them and a player marker. At the start of the game, players put their marker at one of 48 points along the edge of the board. They then play a tile from their hand in front of their player marker and move their marker along the wiggly line to the end. The other players do the same.

As the board starts to fill up with tiles, the tiles start to meet and form wiggly lines which stretch from one edge of the board to the other. Because anytime you move your player marker, you follow the wiggly line to the end (including over other people’s tiles) you could be following a line for quite some time!

If at any time your player marker follows a wiggly line to the edge of the board, you are out of the game! You’ve fallen off the edge of the world!

If you play a tile next to the tile another player’s marker is on, they must immediately move their marker to follow the line you just placed in front of them – even if it takes them off the edge of the board!

The aim of the game is to be the last player remaining on the board! Tsuro starts off super relaxing and becomes more tense as the board starts to fill up with tiles!

Go check out the relaxing game that is Tsuro on Amazon.

7. Karuba

Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 30-40 minutes
Age: 8+ (but 6+ will be fine)
Complexity: Light

Why Karuba is like Ticket to Ride: Build routes and claim locations before other players
See it at Amazon: Karuba

Karuba has all the route laying fun of Ticket to Ride and the same sense of urgency to claim a path before other players do!

In Karuba, players are leaders of a team of 4 adventurers who are seeking treasures from the temples of Karuba. But the adventurers must make their way through the dense jungle to get to get to the temples!

Each player in Karuba has an identical board with a 5 x 6 grid on it, a set of 36 numbered jungle path tiles, 4 adventurer meeples and 8 temples. To set up Karuba, one player places the temples around the board and all their jungle path tiles face down. The other players position their temples on their boards in exactly the same positions and lay out all their jungle tiles in chronological order face up around their board.

Each player then chooses the position of 1 coloured meeple each for every other player to copy on their boards. Then the game begins.

Each turn, the lead player selects a random face-down tile and announces to the group which number it is. The other players select the same tile from their set and place it on their board wherever they think is the best position to get them to a temple quickly!

Because every player begins with the same setup and places the same tiles throughout the game, Karuba plays like a puzzle. It’s really satisfying to create the paths through the jungle in a race for the treasures! It’s amazing how different everyone’s paths look at the end of a game!

Karuba is a relaxing light weight family game that children from about age 6 will be able to play easily. Because everyone concentrates on their own boards there’s not much player interaction during the game, but that leaves conversation free to talk about other things!

Go check out Karuba for yourself at Amazon.

8. Through the Desert

Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 45 minutes
Age: 10+
Complexity: Light – Medium

Why Through the Desert is like Ticket to Ride: Creating routes with some hidden victory points
See it at Amazon: Through the Desert

In Through the Desert, you are the leader of a tribe competing to control the desert. Using your camel riders and adorable pastel coloured camels, you create caravan routes across the desert to claim areas and collect points from oases and waterholes.

The board changes every game thanks to the slightly random way the waterholes and away series are placed during setup.

Players get points by connecting to an oasis, having a route pass through a watering hole, sectioning off an area of the board, and using the most camels of each colour. Similar to how Ticket to Ride ends, the game finishes when all the camels of one colour have been used.

After placing the first few camel riders and camels from each player, the board starts to feel smaller than it looks! With player’s camels so close to each other, every camel that’s placed causes players to revisit their strategy! Do they continue with their original plan of going to an oasis? Or do they need to intercept another players camel chain to stop them from enclosing an area of the board?

On each turn, every player can place two camels of any colour. The camels must connect to a camel of the same colour and lead back to their rider, and a camel can’t join two camel chains of the same colour.

Like many abstract games, Through the Desert is a game that is easy to teach but has lots of strategic options on every turn!

Go see the adorable camels in Through the Desert for yourself at Amazon.

9. Airlines Europe

Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 75 minutes
Age: 10+
Complexity: Light – Medium

Why Airlines Europe is like Ticket to Ride: Playing routes, set collection, card drafting
See it at Amazon: Airlines Europe

From the same designer as Ticket to Ride (Alan R. Moon), Airlines Europe is a pretty similar board game but with the addition of stock investment and an airplane theme.

Players are investors who collect stock, claim routes and expand their airlines. Like Ticket to Ride’s coloured train cards, players use coloured stock cards to play. Stock cards can be drawn from the five face up cards or drawn from the facedown deck.

On their turn, players can do one of four actions: expand airlines and draw a share, play stock from their hands to their portfolio for money, discard shares in exchange for shares in Air Abacus, or take $8 million so that they can expand airlines on their next turn.

The winner of Airlines Europe is the player with the most points at the end of three scoring rounds. Points are awarded in descending order for the most shares in each company.

Airlines Europe has the set collection and routes elements of Ticket to Ride but instead of playing trains players build their stock portfolios. It’s a little more complicated than Ticket to Ride but because it builds on the mechanisms it’s pretty easy for someone to pick up if they have played Ticket to Ride before. Plus, the tiny airplane minis are very cute!

Take a flight over to Airlines Europe at Amazon.

10. Power Grid

Number of players: 2-6
Time to play: 120 minutes
Age: 12+
Complexity: Medium – Heavy

Why Power Grid is like Ticket to Ride: Build a network
See it at Amazon: Power Grid

In Power Grid, players compete to supply the most cities with power across the networks. Like Ticket to Ride, players are building a network over set paths on the board.

To build their power network, players need to buy powerplants, fuel to run them, and connections. The price of the powerplants, fuel, connections and generators vary depending on stage of the game, location, market demand and whether another player has already built something.

The economic side of Power Grid is what makes it more complicated than Ticket to Ride. There are a lot more variables affecting what you decide to do on your turn which makes for a lot more analytical and strategic play.

Power Grid is the most complicated game like Ticket to Ride in this list. It takes about 2 hours to play and has a lot more rules to remember. It’s a great choice for Ticket to Ride fans looking for a heavier board game experience.

Take an electrifying look at Power Grid at Amazon.

11. Trains

Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 45 minutes
Age: 12+
Complexity: Light – Medium

Why Trains is like Ticket to Ride: Build a rail network
See it on Amazon: Trains

Trains is like Ticket to Ride meeting a deck-building game like Dominion. It has the route building aspect of Ticket to Ride but instead of collecting sets of coloured cards and exchanging them for trains, you build a custom deck of cards that you use over and over.

Each player starts the game with a small hand of cards and over the course of the game players buy cards they want to add to their card set. For example, a player might buy a Switchback card which allows them to return a train card from their play area to the top of their deck, or they might by a Tourist Train card which earns them a victory point every time they use it.

By purchasing cards each turn players make their individual sets of cards more powerful as the game progresses. It’s pretty fun putting together your own custom card deck that works the way you want it to for your strategy!

Trains is a fantastic game for introducing players that are familiar with Ticket to Ride to deck building games!

Take the express train to see Trains at Amazon!

12. Azul

Number of players: 2-4
Time to play: 30-45 minutes
Age: 8+
Complexity: Light

Why Azul is like Ticket to Ride: Collecting sets, item drafting, end game bonuses
See it at Amazon: Azul

If what you like the most about Ticket to Ride is collecting sets of coloured train cars and playing trains on routes, then you’ll love Azul!

In Azul, each player has their own board with a set of empty tile squares on. In the centre of the table are a pool of patterned and coloured tiles that all players can choose from. Just like the face-up train cards into Ticket to Ride.

Each turn, players take tiles from the centre. The aim of the game is to collect sets of tiles and use them to decorate the tile squares on your board. Points are given for completing sets of tiles and laying them in specific patterns. Any tiles claimed by a player but not used by the end of the game reduce that player’s score, just like incomplete tickets in Ticket to Ride.

Because players draw from the same tile pool and can see which sets and patterns other players are collecting, the game becomes an interesting balance between taking tiles to complete your own sets while also taking tiles to prevent other players from completing their sets!

Azul is a simple game to teach and play and the tiles are also incredibly beautiful! No wonder it won Spiel des Jahre (Game of the Year) in 2018!

Go see the beautiful board game that is Azul at Amazon.

Board Games like Ticket to Ride

I hope this list of games like Ticket to Ride has given you some ideas for your next board game!

If you’re an avid Ticket to Ride player, check out my article Ticket to Ride Strategy Tips – How to Win! for some fresh strategy ideas to bring to your next game.

And why not treat yourself to some Ticket to Ride Upgrades like extra trains in another colour? I have a set of purple trains which look exactly like the Ticket to Ride trains from Etsy. I love purple and really enjoy seeing them on the board!

For more Ticket to Ride upgrades, see my post, 17 Epic Ticket to Ride Accessories, Upgrades & Gifts!

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Emily
Hi, I’m Emily, the tabletop gamer behind My Kind of Meeple. If this article helped you, I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.

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