Multiplayer: the crown jewel in the game of Ticket to Ride.
Ticket to Ride's multiplayer is accessed from the main menu by going to the station ('More' on the main menu) and clicking the restaurant ('Online Games' in the station)
Once there, you're confronted with the lobby, which can be an interesting thing to come to terms with.
Effectively, there are two main screens, what I like to call the 'View' tab and the 'Create' tab.
Firstly, the View tab:
What the view tab is used for is to see the games that other people have made, in order for you to join and compete against them. The actual tab name is 'Join', but I prefer view as you can see what games are there, whether or not you can join them.
I'll run through in order what each of the sections are before outlining some multiplayer ettiquette.
1. The game name
. This will do one of three things: Say who owns the game, what map it is or the house rules the game owner wishes to play by.
2. The map
. If you don't yet understand or can't infer from context which map is which, the map choices are USA, 1910, Europe, Switzerland and Asia.
: Black figurines show how many are waiting in the game already. Grey figures show how many the game needs to start and White figures show the maximum number of players allowed.
4. The '!' section
: Shows two things, a Lock and a Trophy. The Lock, if closed, means a game is password protected (and you'll only be able to play if you have the password). The trophy shows that a game is ranked, which means the outcome will count towards your online rank.
5. The Tabs
: The three tabs, Join, Create and Observe allow you to navigate between the sections of the lobby that you require. If you need to create a game, click the Create tab and so on.
: You can search for players by name, if online, so you can add, block or message them.
7. Your profile information
: This part includes your profile, including games played, score, karma*, time zone, language and online rank. Will display another user's information if they are selected.
: Users waiting in the lobby can discuss things in this section. Messages will be displayed here.
Secondly, the Create tab:
The Create tab is used to set up a game of Ticket to Ride for your friends or for online opponents.
In order, the sections numbered are:
1. The game name.
This is the part where you name your game, will be seen as this in the Join/View tab. Name it either after yourself, the map or the rules you wish to play (see later)
2. Public/Private slider
: Probably the most important part of the creation is this tool. When unlocked (as per image), the game is open to any who wish to join. When locked, you set a password (underneath where 'Game name' is) that allows users to join only when they have the password. Use this to set up games for your friends. Make sure to tell them the password before you start.
: When lit orange, the game you set up will count towards your online ranking. If you don't want your games to count (for instance, you're just playing for fun against a friend, non seriously), make sure to uncheck this icon.
4. The map
: Use the arrows to select which map to play on. If you don't have the required DLC, you will not be able to play some maps.
5. The game settings
: Use the 'Min' and 'Max' bubbles to change how many people can play the game. 'Min' will not allow the game to start until that number of players are in game, 'Max' is what the highest number of players that can join is. The Karma setting is for if you wish to deny access to players with a certain Karma below the threshold. 'Robots' toggles the number of AI bots playing the game. The most you can have and still play with another human is 3.
The 'observable by' option changes which users can watch the game in the observe tab and the Hide Cards button is to change whether or not spectators can see the cards players have. Keep this on if you don't have a set reason to turn it off.
Okay, Multiplayer Ettiqutte:
There are a few things that will become apparent the more games you play. Firstly: 'Fair'/'No Block'
These games are cryptic at first, as fair means to abide by the rules... In online Ticket to Ride, it doesn't. What a 'Fair' game means is 'No Blocking Allowed'. You are not allowed to perform an obvious blocking maneuver to stunt another player's progress. This is not actually against the rules, and is in fact encouraged by Alan R Moon, but keep in mind that in these games, it is frowned upon. Secondly: 'Fast'
Some players like to take their time thinking about moves. Some don't. In 'Fast' games, a 'ten second rule' is considered to be 'in effect', where you play moves quickly and know what you're doing in order to play a game and finish it in a small amount of time. Thirdly: 'Min Rank'
These games are restricted to those with an online rank that exceeds the 'cutoff'. Don't join these games if you're below the rank unless you've asked them first. These players are in one of two categories: Score chasers and High-Level-Expectations. Unless you meet their criteria, try to avoid these games.
*Karma is the sum total of your propensity to finish games. 1 point received for a finished game, 3 points lost for an abandoned game. Once karma is at the highest threshold, you will not gain any more karma for finishing games. Generally, set medium karma thresholds to stop any serial offenders of abandoning games, but still allow players into your games.
I have three hard and fast rules with Ticket to Ride:
1. Don't join any game you want then complain when something happens.
2. In general, make your own games, because you can play how you most enjoy playing.
3. Don't get caught into fights with other users, just block them and carry on. Leave if you have to, and send a report to Days of Wonder through their website.
Mostly though, online is about having fun and playing well in order to have the best, most competitive games of Ticket to Ride that you can.
Hope you all enjoy online, and look forward to seeing you there myself!