It's easy to "hate" on Ticket to Ride. It's popular. It's light. It's theme is barely there.
There's something elemental about the gameplay. People simply 'get it.' I've never plopped this down--with any group--and had them not like it.
Collect cards, try to complete your routes by slapping down your trains and claiming them. At the end of the game you get points based on completion of tickets and lose points for those you could not complete. But you have limited resources--both in cards, in time, and in routes as if you wait too long, someone else may snatch up a route you need. If that happens, you may have to pick a sub-optimum route or worse, you get blocked off completely.
The fact that this game is considered a "Euro" hurts it on two fronts, but helps it as well. If this were a mass-market game (and it's barely a step removed from being as such in terms of design) then I don't think AT fans would crap all over it. There also wouldn't be the Euro backlash because it was so popular..."we once loved it, but man, now it's sold out and become a corporate whore." Then again, if it weren't lumped in with the Euros, Eurofans and BGGers might never have checked it out in the first place.
As far as the hobby Eurogames go, this is one of the best.
A good, light, fun family game; it is easy to learn, not overly confrontational, has a good dose of luck but still a decent amount of strategy required, looks nice and cool and attractive on the table, and has fun little bits to play with when you're waiting for your turn. It's a "family game" that actually has some opportunity for strategy and conflict, and it's actually fun.
Yea, Yea. I hear the detractors saying it is too light. But when I write reviews I basically write them on the response I get from friends when I bring a game to the table. And every time I bring this one to the table, it is always well received. Men, women, family, young, old, hip and the not so hip... I have tested this game out on many different types of people and this is one of the few that I am asked: "Hey, where can I buy this game?" Simple, fun and thematic with its cool plastic trains and excellent production values, there is much not to like about this game.... unless you are into a deeper type of game entirely.
Anyway, this is a true *Gateway* game. We play it about two or three times a year and I have personally enjoyed playing it every single time.