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When it comes to popular board games that are fun for the whole family, two classics that you may or may not know are Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride. Now, both are great games for the family and for a group of friends, but that said, they are vastly different and nothing alike.
Let’s figure out which of these two board games is better suited for you.
Carcassonne vs. Ticket to Ride: A Detailed Comparison
We want to compare these two board games on a few specific aspects including the theme, objective, difficulty, number of players, who the game is ideal for, and more.
Starting with Carcassonne, what is important to note is that this game is about the French countryside, specifically about the medieval city of Carcassonne, which yes, exists in real life to this day, in the southern part of the country. Based on this, you might be able to guess that the theme of the game has something to do with castles. It is definitely medieval-themed. Moreover, the game’s theme is also centered around city expansion. In layman’s terms, the theme of Carcassonne is medieval settlement building and expansion.
Ticket to Ride, on the other hand, as you might be able to tell by the image on the box, is a train-themed game. Yes, the main theme in Ticket to Ride is railways, but geography and commerce also play roles. This game is all about building the biggest and best train routes.
Objective of the Game
To explain it in a simple way, the objective of Carcassonne is to get your meeples (little characters that represent knights, robbers, monks, or farmers) onto the structures/farms/cities/cloisters that you build. The point here is for players to lay down tiles (a player can lay down one tile per turn), which makes the board larger every time (this can be a road, city, wall, farm, or cloister). Each tile must be connected to the other via a road, and it must match the edges of the surrounding tiles.
The point scoring system is quite difficult to be honest, with points being scored when a meeple is placed on a complete building/structure/city/road. At the end of the game, the player with the most strategic placements with meeples is the winner (with the game ending when the last tile is placed).
The objective of Ticket to Ride is a bit more straightforward. In this game, you get destination cards, and the aim is to quickly purchase and claim the best and fastest train routes that will connect your designated destinations.
Moreover, the aim of Ticket to Ride is to have the most and longest train routes, with connected destinations earning much more points than train routes alone, plus, at the end of the game the player with the longest uninterrupted route gets extra points.
What is interesting is that Carcassonne is rated ages seven and up, and it is seen as being a very family-friendly game. The theme of it is certainly oriented more towards younger people. That said, this game involves a heck of a lot of strategy. It’s more or less a combination between a puzzle and a board game, with a whole lot of thinking required.
Now, we know that the box says ages seven and up, but we cannot agree with this assessment, especially because of the complexity of how the score is calculated. We think that if a seven-year-old can easily play this game, then it must be one of the smartest seven-year-olds on the planet. For anyone else, we would say that it is not ideal for children under ten or even twelve years of age.
Ticket to Ride is rated for ages eight and up, so it does appear to be very child-friendly. A lot of Ticket to Ride does have to do with luck because drawing the right destination cards does make a huge difference.
However, there is also a bit of strategy involved, because it is important to claim the train routes that connect your two destinations as fast as you can, but without alerting your opponents to what your destinations are, or else your opponents will claim those routes and obstruct yours from connecting the destinations. All in all, Ticket to Ride is pretty easy.
Number of Players
Ticket to Ride can be played by anywhere from two to five players, making it a good game for couples and families alike. In fact, Carcassonne is also designed for two to five players.
Average Play Time
What is nice about both of these games is that they are relatively fast-paced. Turns only take a few seconds to complete in both games, depending on how much thinking people do. Carcassonne on average takes between 30 and 45 minutes to play, whereas Ticket to Ride can take up to 60 minutes. For the most part, Carcassonne is a bit faster to complete.
At this time, there are 18 main versions of Carcassonne available, with six small expansions, ten large expansions, and a couple of other specialty expansions. On the other hand, including all variations, there are 27 versions of Ticket to Ride that can be played.
Which of the Two Games Should You Get?
In all reality, both of these games are quite family-friendly, although we do think that Ticket to Ride is much better for young kids than Carcassonne. Ticket to Ride is just a bit less complex, although it can take a bit longer to complete.
Moreover, which of these games you get also really depends on which of the themes you like more, with Carcassonne being a lot more puzzle-like in nature. If we are going to go off what most other people say, Ticket to Ride is the preferred game by most. People just seem to enjoy the gameplay much more.
At the end of the day, if you are looking for some new board games that you have not played before, and you like games that involve a decent amount of strategy, then Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne are both fantastic games to consider.