When comparing Ticket to Ride vs Gloomhaven, the Slant community recommends Ticket to Ride for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Ticket to Ride is ranked 3rd while Gloomhaven is ranked 4th. The most important reason people chose Ticket to Ride is:
The core mechanics of the game are pretty simple to learn in under 15 minutes. Each player is given a destination ticket with the route they are tasked to build. Each turn they simply decide whether to draw a train card that represents the train cars, claim a section of a route using one of their train cards, or get another destination ticket to begin a new route. Whoever builds the longest route wins.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Easy to learn
The core mechanics of the game are pretty simple to learn in under 15 minutes.
Each player is given a destination ticket with the route they are tasked to build. Each turn they simply decide whether to draw a train card that represents the train cars, claim a section of a route using one of their train cards, or get another destination ticket to begin a new route. Whoever builds the longest route wins.
Pro No direct conflict
Most players will be solely focused on building their own train routes, and as such, there is no direct conflict against opponents. This makes it a good game not only for beginners, but also players who do not like the cutthroat tactics of games like Monopoly. It also makes for a good game for couples to play as there will be no arguments or moves that may slight another player.
Pro Great presentation
The board, train pieces, and cards all come together to create a pleasing and functional experience. The game board is a colorful, thick cardboard map of North America. It's large enough so the game board never feels crowded with game pieces. There are also 225 custom-molded train car game pieces of various solid colors. The game cards themselves are nicely illustrated and feature pictures of trains that take front and center - they contain no text overlay.
Pro A great gateway game
Thanks to its intuitive nature and easy to grasp rules, Ticket to Ride is great for newcomers to the game or those unfamiliar with board games in general, or even kids. It is widely considered to be an excellent gateway game.
Pro Satisfying to build routes, regardless of winning
Even if you don't win the game, it's often satisfying to watch your train routes slowly get bigger as you connect cities. There are also bonus points you can achieve for connecting especially long or tricky routes, which you gives you additional goals to work towards aside from the main victory.
Pro Tense gameplay each turn
Each turn, you will have to decide whether you want to draw another train card or connect more routes on the board. Since you can only choose one of these options, this is a highly important decision that may have you on the edge of your seat. By drawing more cards, you'll have more trains to place later, but you may be leaving an empty route open up for your opponent to steal.
Pro High detail design
Both the game board and playing cards have a very distinct style. The game board has an almost faded background of the landscape featuring mountains, rivers, and forests with the routes intertwining around the map in colorful patterns. This strong contrast really gives the board an intricate appearance. The game cards come in a variety of colors and all feature hand drawn artwork of all sorts of train parts - engines, locomotives, coal carts, storage carts, and more.
Pro Great expansions
Ticket to Ride offers numerous expansion packs that build on the base game in fun new ways. For starters, there's all new maps for places such as Europe, Asia, India, Africa, and more. This means you can play the game you enjoy on an a fresh board with new routes to learn. Each expansion also adds its fair share of new gameplay elements (such as tunnels, boats, and train stations) and has new train cards.
Pro Character classes are distinctly unique
Each and every class represented in-game has their own deck of cards. These cards feature skills and abilities that are entirely unique to that specific class. Whether you're attacking, moving, or looting - each class carries out these actions with their own distinct style. Thanks to the sheer amount of variety offered between the classes, no two ever feel alike, and you're guaranteed to get a unique game experience based on the class you select.
Pro Intense card management
Cards in Gloomhaven represent all of your attacks and movements, as well as determine the order these actions will take place. Furthermore, every class in the game has their own unique deck of cards.
Most of the cards have unique and complex mechanics, but they all follow a simple rule when brought into play: you must choose whether to play the top action (attack) or the bottom action (movement). Once a card is played, it goes into a discard pile. However, by "resting" a few turns and sitting out of the action, you can put them back in your hand.
Managing your cards each round and trying to get a victory in every scenario can be a very intense experience. Knowing when and how to use an card in your hand results in some really tense play where some tough, on-the-fly decisions have to be made. Do you attack or move? Do you save this attack for a tougher enemy later? Is this card worth playing now? Is it worth resting to retrieve cards?, etc.
Pro Exciting enemy encounter variations
There are a whopping 45 different enemies and 12 bosses. Each enemy in the game has their own unique stats along with combat modifiers such as additional damage. As such, each enemy acts and performs differently. Additionally, monsters can be set to various difficulty levels and scale based on how many players are in the encounter. All of this combined allows for a huge amount of variation, and keeps each encounter feeling fresh and exciting throughout numerous game sessions.
Pro Heavy immersion in the world thanks to events
Outside of the dungeon crawling, there are Road Events and City Events that can occur. Road Events take place when traveling to a new location, whereas City Events happen when you visit the city of Gloomhaven.
These events present players with unique and interesting situations and choices, such as meeting a traveler, running into monsters, or finding a new quest. The choices you make during events also influence the course of the story and may provide you with a buff (or debuff) for your upcoming dungeon crawl.
These additional story elements help the world-building along, as they take place during what would be otherwise mundane things (such as traveling a road, or visiting town) and make it easy to stay connected and feel like you're a part of the game world at all times.
Pro Easy to understand
Although the sheer size of the board, tons of cards, and numerous game pieces/tokens make the game appear intimidating, it is quite easy to understand the basics after a short amount of time spent playing. This is due to its clearly defined rules, detailed cards/iconography, and the clean visual presentation of the game board.
Pro Players can join and leave at will
A game can still run at maximum efficiency, even with a "revolving door" of players.
Monsters can be set to scale based on the number of players, so if your friend suddenly has to leave mid-game, it won't be a huge detriment to the group. Players can also drop in or leave the game at any point, as it's easy to add or subtract players to the party between scenarios.
It's all the little details like this that make it a great game to play with a group of friends who all have varying amounts of availability.
Pro Can play solo
Even if you can't find anyone to play with, the game is able to be played solo. You can still tackle events and dungeons solo, progress your character, and enjoy the story without the need for a game master or even a group to play with. This makes it a great choice when the the urge to dungeon crawl strikes, but nobody is available for a long play session.
Con Very basic
The "North American" Ticket to Ride (original game) is fun but has very low complexity. Regular players will tire quickly from this lack of depth. The variants like Europe or India bring some new maps and more gameplay elements, which is sorely needed after the first few games.
Con Very luck-based
The original destination ticket and the cards you draw during game play are random. This can make some routes easier or harder to connect, and it boils down to literally just being the luck of the draw.
Con Sometimes blocking routes for opponents hurts you instead
When preventing an opponent from completing their train route, you have to use your own trains to block them. This means less trains to complete your own route. It seems like this design is self-defeating at times.
The game generally retails for $50, which is quite high for a cardboard board game.
Con Takes a long time to set up
Setting up the board between each scenario is very time consuming as pieces have to be carefully arranged according to diagrams, cards have to be shuffled and placed into multiple piles, and character boards have to be configured. This process tends to take much longer than other similar board games.
Con Cumbersome game box
The game box is huge and all the pieces don't always fit neatly back inside. This could make transporting the game a hassle. It's heavy, large, and has many various parts and pieces.
Con Expensive due to being out of print
This game, while popular, is no longer in print. If you're looking to add it to your collection, you should be able to find it on Amazon or various board game hobby sites, but it normally carries a high price tag.
Con Not good for short gaming sessions
While it's possible to play one scenario at a time, the story and encounters are best appreciated and experienced as a full campaign which will play out over several long sessions. Additionally, the board takes quite a while to set up between scenarios, which isn't great when you only have limited time to play.