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The Best Version of Ticket to Ride for Two Players

The Best Version of Ticket to Ride for Two Players

Ticket to Ride is one of the most popular board games and with countless versions, it can be quite difficult to decide which to get if you’ll be playing it a lot with just two players. Whether you’re looking for the best version of the base game or the best expansion to use with the copy of the game you already have the list below should have you covered.

Which option is best for you though is pretty dependent on your preferred type of Ticket to Ride game. If you are looking for a tighter and more competitive game everything in the list below should help with that, but if you prefer more laid-back and slightly more chill rounds any version of the game or its other expansions will work due to the larger and higher player accommodating maps.

This is the top recommendation for a stand-alone version of Ticket to Ride if you're going to mostly be playing with two players, as this game was designed with that player count exactly in mind.  This comes with everything you need to start playing and a map that has just the right amount of space.  

If you want to play with more players or buy larger maps though, this might not be the best version for you as you won't have enough trains to play at high player counts so will be limited to the two to three player range unless you purchase a different base game.

  • Competitive gameplay with a crowded map and choke points.
  • Incorporates tunnels and ferries, adding variety and strategic depth.
  • Wildcards have specific usage rules, enhancing tactical decision-making.
  • Limited to 2-3 players, reducing flexibility for larger gatherings.
  • High level of competition may not appeal to all players.

Ticket to Ride Europe isn't necessarily the best version for two players but will give you the widest range of options.  It's one of the best overall base versions and will allow you to play with 2-5 players and includes many improvements over the original in our opinion.

The map included in this version is a little too big for two player games but it still works, it just provides a pretty laid back experience.  So if you do decide to go with this version expect to purchase some map expansions to make the game a little better for the times when you do decide to play with two players.

  • Offers a balance between competitive gameplay and strategic route-building.
  • Includes stations mechanic, allowing players to utilize opponents' routes.
  • Introduces tunnels and ferries for added variety and challenge.
  • Some players may find the inclusion of stations mechanic too forgiving.
  • Will likely want to purchase additional maps to make the game work better with two players.

This map expansion is typically touted as the best for two player games, specifically the Switzerland map as it was created for 2-3 players.  It creates a much tighter game but some players might not like how much more competition there is.  The new city to country and country to country cards encourage players to draw more destination tickets than previously.

The India map is more traditional but the new Mandala scoring mechanism encourages players to double route to the same destination (like a loop), this creates a more competitive dynamic on the board making it work fairly well for two players also.

  • Unique gameplay with city-to-country and country-to-country connections.
  • Variations in locomotive (wildcards) usage add complexity.
  • The Mandala scoring option makes the game and routes more interesting while increasing the competition and congestion. 
  • Requires a version of the base game in order to play.
  • Switzerland map is considered to be slightly unbalanced.
Best Mini Version of Ticket To Ride
Ticket to Ride London Board Game

There are multiple "mini" versions of Ticket to Ride available, and they all work quite well with two players due to their smaller maps.  They offer a much different experience compared to the full game but provide a quick and streamlined version of the game. 

Any of these will work, but London is typically the favorite of the four.

  • Fast-paced gameplay with a smaller map, ideal for quick sessions.
  • Emphasizes completion of shorter routes, promoting strategic decision-making.
  • Limited map size may lead to repetitive gameplay over time.
  • Lack of complex mechanics may not satisfy players seeking deeper strategy.

Hopefully, this list has given you a good starting point for exploring which Ticket to Ride is best for two players, but as always your preferences are what matter. If you like less conflict in your games, than none of these are likely for you, but if you do everything above you should increase player interaction and competition making for a more strategic and exciting game.

Bonus Tips for Playing Ticket to Ride with Two Players

Big Cities Variant

If you already have a copy of Ticket to Ride, the 1910 or 1912 expansion includes some modifications that might make the game work just a bit better with two, specifically the Big Cities variant. This variant adds more tickets that focus heavily on the bigger cities which could lead to increased competition even at this lower player count.

Ticket to Ride Europa 1912 Board Game EXPANSION | Train Route-Building Strategy Game | Fun Family Game for Kids and Adults | Ages 8+ | 2-5 Players | Avg. Playtime 30-60 Mins | Made by Days of Wonder

Two Player Ticket to Ride Rules

A commonly missed rule when playing Ticket to Ride with two players is that only 1 of a double route can be claimed during the game. This does improve the game and increases the player interaction a little bit. So if you are looking for ways to improve the standard game for two players make sure you haven’t overlooked this rule.

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