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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cynical Ticket to Ride UK Variant

We all know that it was the railroads that built America, which might explain the happy and nostalgic feel for them in Ticket To Ride. However in the UK it was the Romans that built everything and frankly the railroads just cut dirty great lines across all their great stuff.

In 2007 I received an unofficial expansion to my unofficial UK Ticket To Ride board that celebrated the slightly more cynical British view with added government legislation and duff contractors. Thanks to Jay, Alex and Ubbie for sending it to me.

Happy British train traveling!

Ticket To Ride: UK Cynical Edition

This expansion was created by a small group of game playing friends namely Jay, Alex & Ubbie. It is meant as a bit of fun and is in no way endorsed by Days Of Wonder, any Railway Company or the UK Government.

After playing Dave Millard's great UK expansion we collectively decided that it played very well but lacked a certain modern Britishness. The Ticket To Ride games exemplify an idealised 19th century railway system, not the crud we have today. In the UK news a week can barely pass without some train problem or transport minister making an arse of himself. So we decided to put our not so serious heads on and invent an expansion to Dave's unofficial map to bring back those elements we miss from our modern railway system.

Warning, if you have no sense of humour and have no idea of the calamities we have on our railway network you may just not get it!

What You Need

  • A Copy of Ticket To Ride, preferably Ticket To Ride: Europe, available from all fine game retailers. We all got ours from Plan 9 in Aberdeen who do mail order
  • A copy of Dave Millard's UK Map
  • These rather simple rules
  • A print out of the event cards shown below (each file is around 1MB in size). Do the Blue Peter thing and get busy with the paper & scissors (remember to ask a parent to help you)

Updating the Map

This needs a little modification. Don't worry, you can still use the map for the normal game afterwards so no real damage done.

We have 3 new symbols that are placed on the map. 2 of these are straight out of Ticket to Ride: Europe but Bridges are all our idea. So familiarity with Ticket to Ride: Europe is useful.

Where these symbols are placed and their meanings are described below.


As per Europe version these have a number of locomotive symbols on the route. A locomotive must be played instead of the normal coloured card for each locomotive symbol

1 locomotive ferry routes:

  • Stornoway to Wick
  • Londonderry to Glasgow
  • Belfast to Stranraer
  • Stranraer to Douglas
  • Douglas to Liverpool
  • Dublin to Holyhead
  • Dublin to Douglas

2 locomotives ferry routes:

  • Fort William to Stornoway
  • Dublin to Liverpool

As per Europe rules. After completing these routes turn over three cards. Each of these cards that have the same colour as the completed route (locomotive cards will automatically be the same colour as the route) require the player to play an additional card of the same colour (locomotives can be used). E.g. complete red route. Turn over three cards one of which is red and one is a locomotive, player must play two further red/locomotive cards to complete. If player can't do this he takes all his cards back into his hand and his turn end.

Tunnel Routes:

  • Cardiff to Aberystwyth
  • Aberystwyth to Birmingham
  • Aberystwyth to Liverpool

The London Underground:

The inner four spaces of the four London station double routes are also tunnels. Leave the outer routes as they are - they represent the over-ground network


These routes require an additional card of the same colour (locomotives can be used) only score as the route length however not the number of cards expended.

We marked these by placing a \____/ symbol either side of the bridge sections (i.e. over the water bits)

Routes with a Bridge:

  • Newcastle upon Tyne to Aberdeen
  • Holyhead to Liverpool
  • Newquay to Swansea
Playing the Game

This is the easy bit, honest.

At the beginning of the game deal out 3 of the event cards to each player where they are kept in hand. Less cards at the beginning of the game may be preferable.

Cards can only be played when stated on the card:

  • Play In Turn: These cards must ONLY be played when it is your turn. They can be played IN ADDITION to anything else you do in your turn.
  • Play Out Of Turn: These cards can ONLY be played during someone else's and cannot be played in your own.
  • Play Any Time: These cards can be played at any time cards that are being played on other players must be played during their turn as they are carrying out the action that the card influences. You may play them on yourself or as a counter to another player playing a card on you.
  • Play As Turn: These cards are played instead of you having a turn. i.e. To play one of these cards you must play it in your turn as your ONLY action effectively skipping a turn.
  • Play End Game: These cards are kept in hand until the end of the game and final scoring commences. A player must show the card to finalise their score.

Cards that affect the actions of another player must be played during their turn as they are carrying out the action that the card influences.

Some cards may need to be laid out in front of the player to take effect - this is indicated clearly in the card text.

Players may draw one additional card as their turn. Allowing players to draw 2 cards and discarding one, or keeping both are options to use if you wish to encourage more card use.

General Card Usage Notes
  • Cards can be discarded freely
  • There is no hand limit
  • Imposing a hand limit of 3 or 5 cards may be worthwhile if you find people are hoarding to the end of the game - this limit may or may not include cards laid out in front of the player.

To discourage similar gamesmanship you may want to ban card use after one player only has 10 train pieces left except for Play End Game cards which can still be played.

Countering Cards

Cards that cancel other players cards must be played immediately. Any player can cancel a card being played if they have the appropriate counter card - not just the target of the card.

Ministerial or Government cards are indicated by the words Minister, Gov., Government or Ministerial in the TITLE BAR. For Example:

  • The New Transport Minister counter card can itself be cancelled by a card that affects Ministerial or Government cards thereby allowing the original card to remain in play.
  • The Pending General Election card cannot be countered using a Ministerial or Government card as it does not contain the necessary wording in the title

A few people have suggested new cards to me. You may like to add these to your pack:

  • Influence with Civil Servants: When you play this card you can steal another randomly from another player. Play in turn.
  • Vandalism is Rife: Lose one train car from your unused stock. Play in turn.
  • Grant from EU: Add one extra train car to your stock. Play in turn. Compulsory Purchase: An extra grey route can be built parallel to any fully occupied route. Play in turn.
  • Stock Market Crash: The second line of all grey double routes is closed if unoccupied. Play in turn provided there is a ring of occupied routes around London.
  • New Rail Company: An unbuilt route is changed to whatever colour you like. Play in turn when you build the route.
  • Sleaze: Honours For Cash: 4 identical train cards can be traded for 4 victory points. Play as turn.
  • Cabinet Reshuffle: Any number of train cards can be exchanged for the same number of cards from the stack. Play as turn.

Put together by Jay, Alex & Ubbie.
Thanks to Dave Millard for his great UK map and for hosting this.
Thanks for Alan R Moon and Days Of Wonder for a great game.
Thanks to Ron for his suggestions for new cards.
Thanks to for just being a great web site.
Thanks to the UK Government and all the train companies folks for providing such hilarity and rich inspiration.


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