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Ticket to Ride Europe Two Player Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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We board gamers can’t get enough of trains, can we? There’s no denying they account for some of the most popular board games of all time, with Ticket to Ride Europe being one of the highest-rated, but how well does it work with two players? 

Ticket to Ride Review

6.5 out of 10
Ticket to Ride Europe A Pair of Meeples Board Game Review

Is it Good For Two Players? : Not the best

Ticket to Ride Europe (and other versions) has quickly become one of the most sold modern board games of all time and for good reason.  It’s incredibly easy to teach and play, has a broadly appealing theme, and still has some strategic depth to it.  All these things come together to make a perfect family game, one that many consider the king of all gateway games.

Most experienced gamers won’t be reaching for their copy of Ticket to Ride Europe often once they’ve gotten their fill, but it will likely stay in their collection as a tool in their arsenal for introducing new players into the world of modern board games, and a great tool it is.

Theme: 7/10
Replayability: 5/10
Components: 6/10
Conflict: 3/10
Fun: 5/10

Husband's Rating
6 out of 10
Wife's Rating
7 out of 10

Pros

Extremely easy to learn and play, even with non-gamers

Quick to play, with minimal downtime between players

Broad theme that a wide variety of players can enjoy

A great gateway game

Cons

The board is a little too open unless playing with more players

Strategy, especially blocking sometimes feels unimportant as players can easily pivot their plans

Requires a lot of table space

Can sometimes be a little hard to see city names when there are a lot of trains on the map

Gameplay Experience:

Ticket to Ride Europe Board Game Review Two Player A Pair of Meeples

Honestly, the thought of train-themed board games evokes little to no excitement in my wife or me.  This game made its way into our collection purely on the basis that it feels like one of those games that you’re just supposed to have if you’re in the hobby.

Even years after owning the game it still kind of feels that way.  Sure it’s great to pull out under certain circumstances, like with new players and non-gamers but other than that we will very rarely reach for Ticket to Ride Europe or any version of the game.  

Even though it’s not our preferred game to play, it truly is one of the best family-friendly gateway games.  We brought it to my grandparents one time, both of whom have very little experience playing modern board games and within a few minutes we were playing and having a great time.

Ticket to Ride is simple, easy, well-designed, and wrapped into a very accessible theme, and the Europe edition follows suit with a few minor improvements.

The new stations allow the game to be a bit more forgiving while also allowing players to strategically utilize some of their opponent’s routes for their advantage.  Ticket to Ride Europe also introduces tunnels and ferries that add some interesting challenges to claiming certain routes.

These are minor changes but they make Ticket to Ride Europe slightly better for more experienced gamers while also still being a great game for those who aren’t. 

All these sound like great things so why does it sit on our shelf mostly untouched?  The truth is we just don’t fit the target market for this great game, at least anymore.  

It’s not the best two player game, it’s got a very generic theme, and we very rarely play board games with other inexperienced players anymore so for now and the foreseeable future our copy of Ticket to Ride Europe will likely continue to sit on the shelf.

It will be there when we need it though, to introduce newcomers into the world of modern board games.  So while it’s not a great game for us at this point in our board gaming journey, it is still a great game nonetheless and one of the best gateway board games of all time.

How to Play Ticket To Ride Europe Rules Summary:

Ticket to Ride Europe plays very similarly to the original but does introduce some minor changes, the biggest of which is that players will be building train routes across Europe.

Ticket to Ride Europe Map

Players will collect train cards of various colors and then use sets of cards and the occasional wild or two to claim routes between European cities.  The goal is to complete their long destination ticket and any other short route destination tickets they decide to keep or acquire throughout the game.  

Ticket to Ride Europe Train Cards

Completing routes will score players points based on their length when placed but completing the destination tickets is where the real points are made.  They are also where they are lost though as players who don’t complete any route they have decided to keep will lose the amount of points on that ticket.

Ticket to Ride Destination Cards

Players have the following actions available to them each turn and must take one of them:

  • Draw two train cards (or one wild), from face-up cards or the deck.
  • Claim a route by playing a set of train cards matching the color and number of spaces of a route between cities
  • Draw three new destination tickets and discard up to two of them (you must keep one of them).
  • Place a train station in a city without one by discarding one, two, or three of the same color train depending on how many stations they have previously placed. This allows them to use an opponent’s route as if it were one of their own.
Ticket to Ride Europe Stations

Two new route types are in Ticket to Ride Europe, ferries and tunnels.

  • Ferries:  Routes that cross water.  These require players to play a specified number of wilds when claiming.
  • Tunnels: These introduce a new luck factor to the game.  Players will need to flip over the top three cards of the draw pile, and however many of the color trains they’re using to claim the route appear, they will have to provide that many additional cards to successfully claim the route.  In other words, a player doesn’t truly know the required amount of cards to claim these tunnels initially.
Ticket to Ride Ferries and Tunnels

Players will continue taking turns until one player at the end of their turn has two or fewer trains left in their supply.  At this point, all players including that player will get one final turn.

After players have totaled up the points from their routes, the remaining stations they have left, and the longest route bonus the player with the most points wins.

How to play Ticket to Ride Europe with two players

Two and three player games of Ticket to Ride Europe play exactly the same as higher player counts except for one minor but significant rule change. Double routes can only be claimed once by a single player. Either route can be claimed but the other is unusable for the rest of the game.

Conclusion:

Ticket to Ride Europe Board Game Review

Ticket to Ride Europe (and other versions) has quickly become one of the most sold modern board games of all time and for good reason.  It’s incredibly easy to teach and play, has a broadly appealing theme, and still has some strategic depth to it.  All these things come together to make a perfect family game, one that many consider the king of all gateway games.

There’s no denying that, and while true, that’s where the buck stops, or should we say the train?

Most experienced gamers won’t be reaching for their copy of Ticket to Ride Europe often once they’ve gotten their fill, but it will likely stay in their collection as a tool in their arsenal for introducing new players into the world of modern board games, and a great tool it is.

This is what leads it to become a game that many feel they need to have in their collection even if they are rarely going to play it. While we really don’t condone buying board games you don’t need, in this case, we understand the feeling.  

And if we all feel the need to have at least one version of Ticket to Ride on our shelves in our opinion you can’t go wrong with Europe.  Most, including ourselves, would consider this the best version of the standalone game.  

The new route types and stations add that little bit of extra depth that increases the staying power of the game just enough for more experienced players. 

Is Ticket to Ride Europe Good For 2 Players?

Ticket to Ride Europe is not the greatest two player game but can still be enjoyable if you know what to expect.  My wife fairly enjoys playing it at this player count because the larger map allows for very low conflict as both players can pursue their routes without much interference, making it a great game to just unwind and chill.

For those who like a little bit of player interaction and more strategy though, you’ll likely find Ticket to Ride Europe slightly lacking when playing with only two players.  There are some other versions of the game such as Ticket to Ride Nordic countries that suit this player count much better at least in these aspects.

There are a few other negative aspects to playing with two players.  Unless you can get lucky with some destination tickets one player is pretty likely to gain the lead and keep it throughout the game.  This won’t bother some due to the game’s short play time and quick nature, but it’s pretty noticeable at this player count.

In a similar sense, the game feels almost too tight when playing with two players.  What we mean by this is that if you don’t keep up with laying as many trains as your opponent, you’ll have a hard time keeping the game close.  

Taking a turn to pick destination cards not only sacrifices the opportunity to draw more train cards or claim a route but also puts you at risk of scoring negative points if you can’t complete one of your newly drawn routes, putting you even further behind.   

If you have a good poker face there is some fun tension to be added by drawing additional routes but in general, it’s typically safer to try and keep up with your singular opponent and hope for the best, resulting in a less exciting and eventful match.

While there are some areas where this game goes off the track with two players, it can still be good for the occasional play when you want something easy going.  If you are playing with a less experienced or a new gamer all these negatives really won’t matter as much either.

Pros:

  • Extremely easy to learn and play, even with non-gamers
  • Quick to play, with minimal downtime between players
  • Broad theme that a wide variety of players can enjoy
  • A great gateway game

Cons:

  • The board is a little too open unless playing with more players
  • Strategy, especially blocking sometimes feels unimportant as players can easily pivot their plans
  • Requires a lot of table space
  • Can sometimes be a little hard to see city names when there are a lot of trains on the map.

Ticket to Ride Europe Train Board Game for Adults and Family | Ages 8+ | For 2 to 5 players | Average Playtime 30-60 minutes | Made by Days of Wonder
Ticket to Ride Europe Train Board Game for Adults and Family | Ages 8+ | For 2 to 5 players | Average Playtime 30-60 minutes | Made by Days of Wonder
Ticket to Ride Europe Train Board Game for Adults and Family | Ages 8+ | For 2 to 5 players | Average Playtime 30-60 minutes | Made by Days of Wonder

We hope this Ticket to Ride Europe two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


Ticket to Ride Europe with Alexa 

If you have Amazon Alexa capable devices in your house and especially near your gaming table you can actually play this game with her as an opponent or she can keep your score.  

We were initially pretty excited about this concept, as playing Ticket to Ride Europe with two players and Alexa would solve some of the problems we have stated above as there would be more competition on the map.

We hadn’t even finished setting up the game though before Alexa had us ripping our hair out and swearing at her.  We suffered through her countless “I didn’t get that” and “What two cities are on the ticket” and eventually made it into the game with her coming right out of the gate and placing a route.

She did have some pretty funny remarks and provided excellent background train sounds and themed music, but that wouldn’t be enough.

We only made it a few more turns before we decided to call it quits due to pure frustration.  Part of it could be attributed to our likely poor pronunciation of European cities but even with her occasional assistance she still struggled to register what we were saying.  

So if you want to give Ticket to Ride Europe with Alexa a try we warned you.  It’s a great concept but one that definitely needs some improvement. 


Ticket to Ride Europe 15th Anniversary DELUXE EDITION Board Game | Strategy Game | Family Game for Kids and Adults | Ages 8+ | 2-5 Players | Average Playtime 30-60 Minutes | Made by Days of Wonder
Ticket to Ride Europe 15th Anniversary DELUXE EDITION Board Game | Strategy Game | Family Game for Kids and Adults | Ages 8+ | 2-5 Players | Average Playtime 30-60 Minutes | Made by Days of Wonder
Ticket to Ride Europe 15th Anniversary DELUXE EDITION Board Game | Strategy Game | Family Game for Kids and Adults | Ages 8+ | 2-5 Players | Average Playtime 30-60 Minutes | Made by Days of Wonder

Ticket to Ride Europe 15th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

If you want to go all in on this game initially, you can get your hands on the newly released 15th-anniversary deluxe edition. This version of the game comes with more detailed trains, new artwork, train storage tins, various expansions mostly consisting of more destination tickets.


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