Days of Wonder Redesigns Ticket to Ride on Mobile [Interview]

The update introduces asynchronous multiplayer, a redesigned user interface and more to the digital board game.

Asmodee studio Days of Wonder has launched a redesigned version of Ticket to Ride on iOS and Android devices. The digital board game has been rewritten using the company’s DoW Playground cross-platform technology, which introduces the ability to play cross-platform asynchronous multiplayer games with other users.

In Ticket to Ride, players work to connect cities via railroad lines by collecting colored cards which match the colorful railroad markings on each map. Players can only claim tracks on the map when they’ve collected the necessary cards in their hand, and players may need to change their strategy or train route between two cities if another player claims a specific track first.

This update introduces a new user interface to the game, and also adds the new India map as DLC. The map costs $4.99 to unlock (it’s currently on sale for $2.99), and is the first vertical map to be introduced in this digital version of the game. When playing on the India map (or on other vertical maps which may be introduced in the future), the interface will switch to the proper layout for the vertical board. In general, the interface also uses one of two display modes depending on the size of the user’s device.

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With the game’s new asynchronous multiplayer feature, users can have multiple active Ticket to Ride games at one time (called ‘Multi Session’ games), and can play each when it’s their turn. Finally, new social sharing features have been added to the app for players to show off their stats after games, and the game’s friends system has been updated.

While the Ticket to Ride Pocket app still costs $1.99 on iOS, users can upgrade to the full experience for an additional $4.99 via in-app purchase. In this case, there’s no need for Ticket to Ride Pocket owners to purchase the more expensive standalone Ticket to Ride app, which costs $6.99.

Meanwhile, owners of the original Ticket to Ride iPad app will receive the update for free, and can now play the game on iPhone as well. If players have previously purchased both versions of the game (Ticket to Ride Pocket and Ticket to Ride on iPad), they’re encouraged to delete Ticket to Ride Pocket and download the Ticket to Ride app on their iPhone, to access the new features for free.

Ticket to Ride 3In an interview with SocialTimes, Yann Corno, chief technical officer at Days of Wonder, told us more about the new version of the game.

SocialTimes: What inspired Days of Wonder to release this new version of Ticket to Ride as an app update, rather than a new, standalone app?

Yann Corno: This new version is a complete rewrite of the app, which took over one year of development efforts [from] the entire DoW team. It brings many new features, including the long-demanded asynchronous multiplayer mode, a ‘universal’ app on iOS, an adaptive user interface and at last a new map (and it’s a vertical one): India, as a new in-app purchase.

Last but not least the new version is a free upgrade! Current players of Ticket to Ride don’t have to buy a new app. We feel these players deserve a free upgrade rather than a standalone paid app

ST: How has the new DoW Playground affected the game?

YC: [One] difference between real-time games and Multi Session games is that several Multi Session games can be played at the same time. When it’s a player’s turn to play, he receives a notification on his device. It works across devices: if you have an iPhone and a PC under Steam, you will receive the notification on both machines.

Asynchronous gaming is great for players who want to play the game at a different pace. Competitive players will also use it a lot for online tournaments, because the Player Clock greatly limits abuses, and the pause feature resolves the problem of accidental disconnections. Mobile users with poor data coverage will also enjoy the feature, since they can jump back in the game after disconnection without any penalties.

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ST: Can you explain more about the game’s new social sharing features? Will players receive rewards for sharing posts about the game to social media?

Over the past 10+ years of Ticket to Ride online gaming, we have learned the value and involvement of our players, and their enthusiasm in sharing their game experience with other players. Because of this, we spent great efforts in this new version to improve and add features to help the community. Again, the result is a lot of details everywhere.

One of them is a new way for players to report the result of their game at the end: by just pressing a Share button, a player can get a graphic summary of his game, with the map, the tickets, the points, etc. This image can be easily shared on Facebook, Twitter, Steam, sent by e-mail, saved [to the device], etc.

The way to manage a player’s Buddies was also reworked; it’s now much nicer and easier to use.

ST: During asynchronous multiplayer games, how much time will players have to take their turn, before they forfeit?

YC: From minutes to weeks. Until [this] version, all Ticket to Ride online games were real-time games. If a player was disconnected during the game, he would be automatically replaced by a bot (‘hot-swap’) so that the game could be finished by the other players.

This new version introduces a new so-called ‘Multi Session’ mode, that allows players to play a game and pause it at any moment. When a player resumes the ongoing game, he sees what the previous players did, and he can play if it’s his turn to do so.

A Player Clock runs while it’s the player’s turn to play. Each player is allocated a preset amount of time to play the entire game—it works exactly like a Chess Clock. This amount of time is set by the player who created the game—from minutes to weeks. When the Player Clock times out, the player is replaced by a robot so that the game can be finished by the other players.

ST: How will Days of Wonder market the new version of Ticket to Ride, to attract both fans of the board games, as well as newcomers to the series?

YC: To reach out to fans of the board game, [we] are planning a dedicated PR campaign, a push on our social media and several direct marketing campaigns, such as newsletters and targeted push notifications after the release date.

To recruit new users, we are working closely with several app stores on promotional campaigns including Ticket to Ride, as well as building content partnerships with leading sites.

Last but not least, an exclusive Complete Pack including four best-selling extensions (Europa, USA 1910, Switzerland and Asia), and the new vertical map India, will be [available] at a very special price of $4.99, allowing players to save more than 60 percent off the regular price.

Readers: Do you play Ticket to Ride?