When Ticket to Ride was released on the iPad in May, I thought it was a fantastic adaptation of the game, but it was missing a few key features that would make it even better. In particular, the lack of a pass-and-play mode meant that you couldn’t play with friends unless they had their own iPads.
Also, one commenter on my original review lamented that the app was horrible for people with color blindness, as you can’t tell the various trains apart and match them to available routes, which is a crucial part of the game.
Well, the app has just received a welcome update with a lot of fixes, and if you were hesitant before it might be time to take the plunge.
First and foremost is that pass-and-play mode. Now, aside from a solo game with bots and online play, you can set up a local game for two to five players with a mix of bots and human players. You can name the human players if you like something more personal than “Player 3.” Now there’s a screen before each player’s turn, so that you won’t see any of the hidden information for any other players. Of course, it means you can’t set the iPad down in the middle of the table while you play, but for a game with private information this is probably the best solution.
Since you can’t watch the other players make their moves, the app adds a couple details to the interface. First, instead of the player portrait across the top of the screen, you can see the last move taken by each player. If the player drew cards from the table, they’re shown in their circle (see “Robyn” above). If they took face-down cards, it’ll show face-down cards instead of the colors. If the player claimed a route, it shows some spaces with a checkmark — tap and hold the circle and it will highlight the route on the board, noting what types of cards were used.
Another nice detail is that in a pass-and-play game, the animation (with sound) of the train traveling along a completed ticket is removed. Instead, when you finish a ticket, there’s a very quick, silent animation of the finished ticket being bunched and highlighted, so that your opponents won’t notice a lengthy delay and can’t tell your progress.
As far as the support for color blind players, the app is better but still not perfect. The train cards now have icons in one corner of each card which can be used to distinguish the train cards from each other. And on the map, if you zoom in, the icons appear on the routes as well. (Grey routes, which can be claimed with any color trains, have no icons.) This more closely matches the actual game, which uses the same icons for the various colors.
I’m not color blind, but I imagine that it could still be somewhat tricky planning your overall strategy if you can only see the color icons when zoomed in. Also, I noticed that the little icon showing what color cards other players drew on their turn is very tiny and doesn’t enlarge. Likewise, when you tap to see a claimed route from another player, the cards shown are pretty small (though you can zoom in on those). The update is certainly better than the original for color blind players, but you may want to check the full-size version of the image above to see whether you can see all the icons clearly enough to play the game.
Here’s full list of new features and bug list, as shown on the iTunes store page:
- Pass-and-Play mode
- You can now mute voices. Go to the Settings controls in the Mechanic’s room to do so.
- You may skip various animations by tapping the screen, such as the start-up animation when launching the game or the Ticket completion animation.
- You may also skip the end-of-game animation by using the fast-forward skip button on the side.
- Better support for colorblind players: in zoomed-in mode, the map now shows the card icons on the tracks. To play in zoomed-in mode, double-tap on the map.
- Buttons in Central Station now have names for easier navigation.
- You can now set the number of players when creating an online game from the Restaurant.
- When you choose Tickets, cities of the currently selected Tickets are highlighted in blue for easier planning before confirming your choices.
- Just-in-time log in: to avoid problems for players with poor Wi-fi connections, Ticket to Ride now logs on to the Days of Wonder server only at the last moment, and only when necessary. We also added an automatic quick recovery in case of connection loss, so that you can jump back into your online game right away. Network connection errors are also better handled.
- Several crashing bugs have been fixed (e.g. trying to claim a city that was already claimed on the European map).
- Various user interface usability improvements.
- Various fixes to enforce some games rules in Solo mode (e.g. number of Tickets proposed in USA 1910 Mega and Big Cities games).
If your biggest hesitation about the app before was the lack of local multiplayer, now’s your chance to dive in. Personally, I’m excited about the opportunity to have Ticket to Ride with me when I travel (or, for example, during my upcoming move when all my precious board games are on a moving truck somewhere… eep).