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Ticket To Ride Asia: Legendary Asia Review

Ticket to Ride is a classic within the board game world. Depicted as both a family friendly board game and as an entry level game, Ticket to Ride has made its way to the shelves of gamers around the globe. Several core versions are in circulation – the most popular being Ticket to Ride: USA (the original game) and Ticket to Ride: Europe.

I know I speak for a fair number of gamers when I say that a whole swathe of the gaming world became excited when expansions for Ticket to Ride were announced, and rightly so. When Alan R. Moon and François Valentyne put their heads together to create Ticket to Ride Asia some really interesting was born.

Ticket To Ride Asia, introduces two new iterations of the core game to the fold. Not only did it introduce two new maps, but it also introduced two new sets of mechanics. These are:

  • Ticket to Ride: Team Asia – a mode that not only made Ticket to Ride a team experience, but that made it for 6 players. This seems to be a great way of increasing the player count.
  • Ticket to Ride: Legendary Asia – This is what we’ll be looking at today.

Yes, I thought we would look at both parts in detail. One part will be today, and one part in the future, starting with Legendary Asia.

Ticket to Ride Asia box.

Ticket to Ride Asia box.

The Core Information: What is Ticket To Ride Asia: Legendary Asia?

Ticket to Ride Asia is an expansion pack for the world famous game Ticket to Ride, with the official name Ticket to Ride Map Collection Volume 1 – Team Asia and Legendary Asia. It adds two new maps to the game, although it requires the base game to play.

Ticket to Ride Asia introduces two new modes of play, as explored above, and also opens Ticket to Ride up to be six player in the Team Asia mode of play. Legendary Asia, on the other hand, introduces Mountain Routes and the Mountain Crossing area of play. In return, Ticket to Ride Asia: Legendary Asia removes tunnels, which are in the original copy of the game.

Rather than explain how these work in a separate section, and since there are only a few tweaks to the gameplay from the original game, I figured we would just explore them here. I’ll make the assumption that, if you are reading this, you have some idea as to the rules of the standard or European editions of Ticket to Ride.

The new Mountain Routes include spaces on the board with big crosses on them. Unlike in Ticket to Ride standard edition, where tunnels may require players to spend more cards then they need to in order to complete a track, in Legendary Asia, the Mountain Routes require you to discard carriages to build a route. This means discarding the physical plastic carriage pieces from play.

The discarded pieces then go to the bottom left corner of the board where there is a Mountain Crossing section. Any carriages in the Mountain Crossing section are worth 2 points each.

The Mountain Crossing in Ticket To Ride: Legendary Asia

The Mountain Crossing

Finally, rather than Longest Route there is the Asian Explorer bonus. This is a light twist on Longest Route, but it removes the need for everything to be in one long line. Instead, it is the number of connected cities by train lines in a spider web of connectivity.

Other than that, the rules are more or less the same as Ticket to Ride Europe. You can actually download the rules for Ticket to Ride: Legendary Asia here.

Our Opinions – What is Ticket To Ride Asia: Legendary Asia Like To Play?

I have to admit that when I was first told that we were to play Ticket To Ride Asia (it’s a friend’s copy, rather than my own) I was dubious. In the past we have played the UK expansion which was something I didn’t overly get on well with. It seemed to over complicate the game, and ultimately, the additional cards introduced during that version of the game (which I believe is officially called Ticket to Ride Map Collection: Volume 5 – United Kingdom & Pennsylvania) didn’t do much for me other than muddle a beautifully simple game.

This meant that my opinions, going into Ticket to Ride Asia were somewhat neutral. I wasn’t excited bar the mechanic for adding six players to the game in the Team Asia map. I had a certain interest in Legendary Asia , although it didn’t hugely grab me as a concept.

I am not ashamed to admit that I should have been excited going into Legendary Asia. It is a fun variation of the game. What Legendary Asia does, and does well, is keep the simplicity of Ticket to Ride whilst also adding in a new mechanic. Not only is a new mechanic (Mountain Routes) an interesting variation that is added into the game, but Tunnels is taken out to accommodate it. This works well as a balance, and I really enjoy the Mountain Crossing. It adds a whole new dimension and strategy to the game scoring making lots of short routes more viable.

IMG_20180915_195928-1587x1190.jpg

The board a few turns in.

That being said, I was a little bit disappointed by the theme. The rules have a Yeti on the front cover, and I thought the game itself would play more on the “Legendary” part of the Legendary Asia title. I thought one of the reasons trains get discarded at Mountain Routes is due to landslides or yeti attacks, or something out there and mystical. Instead, it is explained in the rulebook as:

Mountain routes cause wear and tear on the trains that travel them.

That was somewhat disappointing, since that was a slight thematic shift away from expectations, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome by the new mechanics. I saw it instead as carriages kept falling off the mountain routes, which make it feel like I was an incredibly inefficient track builder. I guess that is the price you pay for easy transport in the Himalayas.

The new mechanics are very well balanced, and that is an absolute credit to François Valentyne. We all tried different strategies, from long routes for points, to completing lots of tickets, to even completing lots of small Mountain routes (the strategy I went for). In the end there were only 6 points between first and third place. Part of that comes down to the fact that we are all very experienced gamers, and we all play competitively. Part of it comes down to how well balanced the mechanics are. The Asian Explorer bonus and the Mountain Crossing makes it possible to play competitively just going for small routes, and thus adds a whole new strategy into the game.

That strategy is welcome. It helps freshen the game up a bit, and it also gives players more options.

I believe there are fewer routes in Legendary Asia than there are in Ticket to Ride: Europe. This makes the game more cluttered from the start, and where this can be frustrating it can also encourage players to branch out to find alternative route. Since you are discarding carriages as well, the game keeps fairly concise and tied to the 60-90 minute mark.

The board mid-way through the game.

The board mid-way through the game.

TL;DR: The Good, The Bad, and The Train Wreck

All in all, Ticket to Ride Asia: Legendary Asia is a solid addition to the genre and to the game. I can’t wait to play Team Asia to see how that plays. For the time being though, let’s look at the Pros, Cons, and Neutral points about the Legendary Asia side to the expansion to see how well it holds up.

PROS

  • The new mechanics work really well. It is a well balanced game.
  • The Asian Explorer bonus encourages exploration of the map past the obvious routes and is a good method for gaining points at the end of the game.
  • The map gets busier, and can encourage more thinking around a problem.
  • The Mountain Crossing mechanic allows for another way of getting points.
  • The map and quality of the components are, as per usual with Ticket to Ride, amazing.

NEUTRAL

  • The rule book “does the job”. It explains the new rules on one page per language. It explains the rules clearly but there is no additional material to help immerse you into the game.

CONS

  • The word “Legendary”. This may seem like a it of a rubbish con, but I genuinely expected something legendary about the map. Instead, it is about wear and tear on carriages, which isn’t nearly as cool.
Carriage and Engine cards.

Carriage and Engine cards.

Conclusion

All in all, Ticket to Ride: Legendary Asia is a solid addition to the Ticket to Ride family. As I mentioned before, Legendary Asia is only one half of Ticket to Ride Asia, with Team Asia being the second. I look forward to playing it in the future and then I’ll be able to give a full review as to whether, as a whole, this expansion is worth while soon.

So, what do you think? Does Ticket to Ride need an expansion? Have you played it with expansions? If so, which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

13 Comments »

    • Have you played many of the expansions? It’s interesting what you have to say about the map and the team experience. I like the new mechanic but can only compare to Europe and UK. Are there better maps? I was looking forward to the Team game but now am more trepid.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve played a good chunk of them physically and digitally. My favorite ones are Nordic and, the name escapes me, but it’s another tight map for less players in Europe.

        Off the top I’m not sure how I’d rank all the maps I’ve played. I’m nor home right now or I’d rank them real fast for you.

        The mountain mechanic is interesting but I could take or leave it. You my have better luck with the other okay mode though so I look forward to your thoughts 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Surprised you didn’t jump at the “legendary” wording and take them to task for not making this a Legendary game. Of course, this title came out before the legendary mechanic gained more popular usage….
    Agree with the theming…missed opportunity by DoW. There have been other monsters out there so having a Yeti would to be too far a stretch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So I have played the following Ticket To Ride Games:

    USA (along with 1910 expansion)
    Europe (with 1911 expansion)
    Asia
    India
    Africa
    Netherlands
    Switzerland

    I would like to play Pennsylvania, Nordic Countries, and especially the new France set that I saw in the store.

    First, overall, I find Ticket To Ride to be a good, fun “gateway drug” to gaming (along with four or five other games). So I always recommend it and bring it out when new folks come for gaming. It has enough simplicity and enough strategy and it keeps moving quickly. You can teach it quickly.

    Second, all of the expansions have something interesting about them. Africa suffers, a little bit, because the new mechanic added a second deck – terrain cards – which slowed play a little and forced you to look at two different sets of cards. It’s too bad because the map itself is neat! Asia is good – my experience is similar to yours. Netherlands is a nice variant because it’s for 2-3 players and you collect tolls. Switzerland is tunnel central. My word it’s different. Challenging but fun. India is one of my favorites. The board is very pleasingly illustrated. It’s tight – my friends complain – so strategy is utmost importance. And it has the mandala mechanic which lets you build loops to score points. I like that a lot. It compares interestingly with the Asian Explorer variation in Asia, which takes a linear goal and turns it to a connection goal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting! I’ve heard some people say they love it and some say they can’t stand it. It’ll be really interesting to play. I’ll let you know how it goes 😁

      Like

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