When someone hears the phrase “Ticket to Ride,” it’s entirely possible that the first thing that will pop into their head is the jingly guitar riff from the 1965 Beatles song bearing that name. It’s also equally as possible at this point that someone would instead think of the strategy board game, Ticket to Ride, which has been at the forefront of the industry boom.

Ticket to Ride was created by Alan R. Moon, one of the leading designers of German-style board games, or “Eurogames.” What tends to differentiate Eurogames from American-style board games is a greater reliance on strategy and themes that generally rely on economics; to contrast, American-style games have a far greater emphasis on chance or luck and themes that focus on conflict and drama between players. Eurogames typically don’t feature much in the way of randomness and also strive to keep all players involved in the game until a win condition is met, whereas American-style board games have a tendency to eliminate players until one winner is left standing. Moon’s previous successful board games included the award-winning San Marco and Capitol, both of which released in 2001, and Elfenland, which was published in 1998. Moon has designed or co-designed dozens of other games over the course of his career.

The original Ticket to Ride was published in 2004 by Days of Wonder, and the game was an immediate success. After the initial release, Ticket to Ride picked up the 2004 Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) award in Germany, as well as Best Board Game at that year’s Origins Awards – among dozens of other accolades around the world. The Spiel des Jahres win made Days of Wonder the youngest ever board game publisher to win the award, as the company had only been founded two years earlier.

Several additional standalone Ticket to Ride games have released since then: Ticket to Ride: Europe, Ticket to Ride: Märklin, Ticket to Ride: Germany, Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries, Ticket to Ride: 10th Anniversary, Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails, and Ticket to Ride: First Journey. The initial four in that list feature different regions of the world, while the 10th Anniversary edition features the original USA-focused game with nicer metal train pieces replacing the original plastic ones, and a larger board space.

Though it’s only been around for a decade and a half now, Ticket to Ride has established itself as a must-have for any board game collector. Most editions of the game are fairly easy to find either online or in a toy or gaming shop, and can usually be found for $30 or so. The one big outlier for collectors is the 10th Anniversary edition, which regularly sees prices of $150 in online auctions – sometimes $200 or more, depending on if it’s still factory-sealed, and those prices are likely to continue to rise due to the nature of this edition. Rails and Sails is also going to be pricier than one of the standard editions of the game, likely due to its larger nature; it usually demands prices of about $70 or more, roughly twice what the standard game costs.

With more than 3 million copies of the games sold worldwide – or roughly $150 million in retail sales – it’s clear that Ticket to Ride has broken the Eurogame barrier for the rest of the world and is bound to remain at the forefront of the board game renaissance for years to come.

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