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Sure, this iPad version of the classic strategic board game Ticket to Ride is easy to learn, but you could spend a lifetime getting good at its mix of drawing cards, claiming railroad routes, and connecting cities to get your tickets punched. And with so many variations and available-to-purchase maps, it’ll never get old.
Solo mode lets you play against the computer in a game of two, three, four, or five, and the same variations (plus a randomized option for playing with 2-5 players) are available in Online mode, matching you up with Game Center foes. The well-thought-out matching system assures you're playing with people of your relative experience level, and a karma score rewards you for sticking out every game rather than quitting if you start to lose. But if an opponent does quit on you, he'll just be replaced by a bot, so you can still finish your game. You can buy more maps via in-app purchase: the Swiss map is $1.99, Europe is $3.99, and the 1910 expansion for the U.S. map is $0.99.
Criss-cross the nation by drawing cards and laying down trains on same-colored routes. The longer your routes, the more points you score.
It’d be awesome if you could play online games a turn at a time instead of having to play the whole match at once, but with only three options per turn, only a rare opponent will bore you by taking too long. Beginner two-player matches took us about 10 minutes, and as you get more hardcore, the players tend to move faster. We also wish it had pass-and-play multiplayer on the same iPad, but since you aren’t supposed to know what cards and routes the other players have, you’d need some honorable friends willing not to peek.
The bottom line. The graphics are adorable, looking like an illustration out of a storybook. The tutorials are helpful, making it easy for new players and kids to get up to speed (it’s rated 4+). You can’t go wrong, so get on board!
iPad running iOS 4.2 or later
Easy to learn. Great online matchup system. New maps available via in-app purchase.
No same-iPad multiplayer option. You can silence the music and the sounds, but not the conductor who says hello every time you launch the app.