12 Games Like Ticket To Ride

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by Lauren Moison

Ticket to Ride is a dynamic board game that mixes strategy, skill, and chance to give players a suspenseful and entertaining challenge. So if you’re looking to add variety to your game night and know you love Ticket to Ride, you’ll definitely want to keep those attributes in mind in order to pick another winner. Some additional considerations to keep in mind include the skills needed to play, difficulty level, number of players required, and the average time it takes to play.

How To Choose A Board Game Like Ticket To Ride

Board games use specific mechanics for gameplay, and Ticket to Ride is known for these:

  • Network and route building
  • Hand management, or knowing which cards to play at the perfect moment and keeping your hand at the right size
  • Set collection
  • Open drafting, or picking cards or resources from a common pool to gain an advantage

Each of the board games on this list uses at least one of these mechanics that will be familiar to fans of Ticket to Ride.

You can also consider the length of gameplay, number of players required, and age recommendations. Ticket to Ride is designed for two to five players, has an average game length of 30 to 60 minutes, and is recommended for ages 8 and up. But if you want to mix things up for your next game night, there are similar strategy-based board games that offer a range of gameplay times, player counts (some even work well as a single-player game), and age ranges.

With these considerations in mind, I’ve rounded up some of the best games like Ticket to Ride to add to your board game collection.

1. A Board Game Based On A Classic Computer Favorite

In this Oregon Trail board game, you’ll travel to the wild west by wagon as you discover trails, rivers, and towns — but to get there, you’ll need to make important decisions and fight disease, snakes, and other hazards. Players take turns drawing cards and taking necessary actions, and you have limited space and supplies, so strategy will determine whether you make it or not. The game ends when a player reaches Willamette Valley or the last trail tile is placed, and the explorer with the most money wins.

A helpful review: “If you've made it halfway through and you're not dead, you're probably doing it wrong! The rules are pretty clear but the first round is definitely a bit of a learning curve. However, now that we know how to play, it will be simple to explain. Definitely a more light-hearted game. If you're a serious gamer who like super complex strategy, this game probably isn't for you. But if you want to have a good time with friends and family, it's a blast. The age range 14+ is really because you can't be a sore loser [...] That's not to say you can't finish, but, hey, dysentery happens.”

Matching Mechanics: Network and Route Building | Time To Play: 30-60 minutes | Players: 2-4 | Recommended Ages: 14+

2. This Board Game With A Cult Following

In this popular board game with a 4.8-star overall rating on Amazon, players tap into hand management and route-building skills by trading resource cards, buying development cards, and building cities on the island of Catan. Players try to expand and stake their ground in territories on a hexagon-shaped board, collecting victory points for each settlement and city. Many reviewers love the variable board that changes each time you play and, for added variety, there are multiple extension packs available, too.

A helpful review: “The gameplay is strategic, easy to learn and simple, but it is challenging and difficult to master. This is a great family game as well for anyone over 8-10. Highly recommended by my game playing family who loves Ticket to Ride, Forbidden Island, Latice, and Carcassonne.”

Matching Mechanics: Network and Route Building, Hand Management | Time To Play: 60 minutes | Players: 3-4 | Recommended Ages: 10+

3. A Retro, Route-Planning Airline Game

In the Pan Am board game, you’ll be in charge of a brand new airline and compete with Pan Am and other players to dominate the air travel business. Players will work to establish airports, expand their fleet, and even buy stock. Competition can get fierce as players begin to bid on locations, buy bigger and better planes, and use inside connections to work in their favor. As an added twist, the game timeline spans over four decades in which a variety of events and technological developments that impact the industry will occur.

A helpful review: “I have at least 30 games but this is the best game I own. Played it about a dozen times in the month since I’ve had it. Take a route building strategy game (like Ticket to Ride) and marry it with the capitalist cutthroat aspect of Monopoly. Then make it cool and retro for aviation lovers. Each game I’ve played has been very different and I haven’t found one lone strategy that gives you the winning edge each time. I’ve tried different approaches and have had fun experimenting.”

Matching Mechanics: Network and Route Building | Time To Play: 60 minutes | Players: 2-4 | Recommended Ages: 12+

4. This Medieval City-Building Game

The Carcassonne board game uses an element of network and route building that reviewers find very similar to Ticket to Ride. Players will strategically place tiles on the board to develop a medieval fortress city, gaining followers such as knights, monks, and farmers that will earn you points depending on how they’re used. The player who scores the most points from tiles and followers will win the game. There are also a variety of expansion packs to choose from to keep things interesting.

A helpful review: “If you like games like Ticket to Ride or Catan, you’ll love this. It’s a different game every time since you place the tiles and although has an element of chance, it is a strategy game. Easy enough kids could play, but interesting enough for adults to use a ton of strategy in.”

Matching Mechanics: Network and Route Building | Time To Play: 45 minutes | Players: 2-5 | Recommended Ages: 7+

5. A Puzzle Game For Treasure Hunters

Become an adventurer in this treasure-hunting board game as you make your way through the jungle in an effort to reach ancient temples. Prior to the start of each game, players work together to decide where to place their adventurers and temples. Then, each player will lead a team of four adventurers to navigate through the jungle, using route-building skills and strategy along the way.

A glowing review: “Really fun, quick and neat little package game. Easy to learn, but can have a depth not quite realized, especially when you find yourself blocked off from one of your temples, because you lost sight of all your objectives lol. Kids and adults will really enjoy this fun game.”

Matching Mechanics: Network and Route Building | Time To Play: 40 minutes | Players: 2-4 | Recommended Ages: 8+

6. This Cooperative Game That Saves The World

Unlike competitive games such as Ticket to Ride, this cooperative board game gives players a common goal and they win or lose together. However, it involves both hand management and set collection mechanics as players work together to rid the planet of disease. Cards are drawn and discarded to maintain the hand limit of seven as players try to collect sets of city cards that will enable them to complete the necessary disease-fighting research. You’ll travel the world, treat local populations, and fight outbreaks in hopes of finding a cure and winning together. With more than 12,000 reviews and an impressive 4.8-star overall rating, this game is a strong contender for your next game night.

A glowing review: “This game is great. It's a "cooperative" board game so you work with the other players, as opposed to against them so you all either win or lose together. There enough variables to it that each game is different and exciting. I've played it a couple times with my 7 year old daughter and we have a lot of fun with it. She's really into classic strategy games (like Settlers, Carcassonne, Alhambra, Ticket to Ride, etc) so she picked this one up pretty easily. Kids (or adults for that matter) that aren't into those types of games might not like this either since it requires a lot of upfront explaining and setup—but if you have the patience it's totally worth it.”

Matching Mechanics: Hand Management, Set Collection | Time To Play: 45 minutes | Players: 2-4 | Recommended Ages: 8+

7. A Strategy Game That Puts You In Charge Of Power Plants

In this unique board game, players will decide which methods they wish to use to generate energy for their power grids (coal, oil, garbage, or nuclear power, for example) and compete with opponents for necessary resources. Players will use network and route-building skills to expand their power grid and generate additional income. The player that’s able to successfully power and build the largest network, wins. With more than 100 Monopoly-style houses, 84 wooden resource tokens, a fun auction hammer, and more, the competition is sure to get fierce in this complex game.

A glowing review: “If you like games like ticket to ride, Catan, and other strategy games... this is the ultimate one!! It does take a little while to learn and you might have to watch a how to video, but it’s worth it.”

Matching Mechanics: Network and Route Building | Time To Play: 90+ minutes | Players: 2-6 | Recommended Ages: 13+

8. A Fast-Moving Game With A Race To Reign Supreme

The popular 7 Wonders board game takes place over the course of three ages. During each age, players take turns drawing and playing six cards to develop resources and roads for a city, enhance military supremacy, and create an architectural wonder of the world. When the third age is over, the player with the most points wins. With varying themes of expansion packs available, there are plenty of ways to keep this game interesting.

A helpful review: “7 Wonders is my new favorite game. One of the best games I have ever played! If you like Ticket to Ride, purchase this game! It can be played over and over again without getting boring, as the strategy can change with each game and number of people playing. You do not know who wins until the very end and everyone takes their turns at the same time so less waiting around for others to take turns (one of the biggest upsides to this game).”

Matching Mechanics: Hand Management, Set Collection | Time To Play: 30 minutes | Players: 3-7 | Recommended Ages: 10+

9. A National Park Exploration Game

This award-winning board game is a great one for both kids and adults. Similar to Ticket To Ride, players race across the country. However, in this one they’re visiting various national parks and collecting points. Certain parks require specific resources so you’ll want to use strategic hand management and set collection skills to plan accordingly and get as many park cards as possible. The person with the most points at the end wins.

A glowing review: “I'm a hobby gamer with a large game collection, but I still love finding games that can be enjoyed by family and friends who aren't into board games as much. This game is a knockout success! It is certainly inspired by Ticket to Ride but is ultimately a very different game that I believe will be easier to learn and get "good" at than Ticket to ride for most casual players. The game is beautiful with an extremely high quality board, lovely cards (the park cards are huge!), big chunky wooden player pieces, and even the box is super thick.”

Matching Mechanics: Hand Management, Set Collection | Time To Play: 30- 60 minutes | Players: 2-5 | Recommended Ages: 8+

10. This Artistic Tile Placement Game

This beautiful tile placement game allows players to claim tiles and then strategically place them on the board to earn points. You can earn extra points by collecting sets of the same color tile and creating patterns. However, keep an eye on your opponents because playing defense is just as an important part of winning this game. Reviewers describe the game as beautiful and love how the randomized setup makes each game different from the last.

A helpful review: “I struggle teaching games to my gaming group. My group is very varied when it comes to learning/skill. Half prefer simpler styled games over heavy strategy, while the other half find the simple games mundane. Azul exists in the middle of the two. Like Ticket to Ride, Catan, and Pandemic. It can be taught quickly. Played quickly. And it's deep and rich enough for everyone. This game quickly made it's way to the top of our frequent return list.”

Matching Mechanics: Open Drafting, Set Collection | Time To Play: 30 - 45 minutes | Players: 2-4 | Recommended Ages: 8+

11. A Nature-Themed Game With A Single-Player Option

Like Ticket to Ride, the Wingspan board game asks players to utilize hand management and set collection skills to win. Players will act as bird enthusiasts, seeking to discover and attract birds for their aviary. Throughout the game, players roll dice, draw cards, acquire food, lay eggs, and more. Plus, as one reviewer notes, Wingspan is “fun to play alone and more fun to play with others,” making this award-winning game a unique and well-designed addition to your collection.

A helpful review: “I would rate the difficulty as a tiny step above Ticket to Ride; my child struggled more with Carcassonne than this game. The strategy has nuance, and the game seems really balanced. Game play has a good flow, in part because of how well designed the boards and cards are. The pieces feel really nice. The playtime is not too short and not too long, and there are solo play options. I honestly struggle to find any critiques for this game.”

Matching Mechanics: Hand Management, Set Collection, Open Drafting | Time To Play: 40-70 minutes | Players: 1-5 | Recommended Ages: 14+

12. A Complex Strategy Game You Can Also Play Solo

In one of the more complex strategy board games on this list, you’ll represent a major corporation and work with others to create human living conditions on Mars. When the temperature, oxygen, and ocean levels have all reached their goals, life can be sustained and the game is over. The winner is the player with the highest combined terraform rating and victory points. This game averages 120 minutes to play so it’s definitely more involved than other options on this list, but it uses some of the same game mechanisms as Ticket to Ride, so it may be exactly what you’re looking for.

A helpful review: “This game does take some time to understand but if you have the time, the more you play it the more fun it is. It is also one that changes each time you play it so one strategy may not always work each time you play. I like challenges and having things be different so it's been fun to play. In order to do it right, you need at least 2 hours per game even after you've learned how to play, but if you enjoy games like Pandemic or Ticket to Ride, then you will also enjoy this one as well. Highly recommend!”

Matching Mechanics: Hand Management, Set Collection | Time To Play: 120 minutes | Players: 1-5 | Recommended Ages: 12+