I liked Ticket to Ride, I had played, but not owned the game and enjoyed playing. I recently have fallen in love with Ticket to Ride in large part to being able to play the iPad app. David can tell you I am on the app a lot and will sometimes whip through a game in ten minutes. With the computer making the decisions the game goes much faster. It is such a great introductory game that is simple to explain, but still so much fun to play.
There is competition and strategy with some luck, but if you do not pick your cards well you are not going to do well. The board game is great because you have the little train pieces that you place on the board and you move your piece around the outside to count your points. The app is nice because it is portable and easy to play at any time, but it definitely has a different feel to playing the in real life board game.
Playing Against AI
Playing against the computer players just makes the game move at a different pace. I have not done the pass and play or online play yet, but those would probably lend more to traditional game play. Although the online play could be over an extended period of time. The computer players are usually really fast. With the original Ticket to Ride you can play with up to 4 other players and choose whether they are a bot or person. They can go through and make all their a decisions before you have a chance to decide what you are doing next.
The benefit is that I have gotten quicker about what my strategy is, but that is somewhat based on the fact that essentially I am playing the same people who use the same strategy over and over again. It will be interesting to see how I do against real people again. There have only been a couple times playing the computer that I have truly felt that they built a line just because it would screw me over.
The other strategy that I have never seen the computer use is to choose to only take a locomotive instead of grabbing two random cards. This strategy I mostly deploy when I literally need one card of a specific color. I will sometimes take at least one turn to see if it randomly appears, but I have found that I spend less turns if I just take the locomotive and place my trains. It is an interesting fluke that is probably partly to blame with how often the computer players seem to have 8+ cards in their hands and are still drawing two random (which is particularly annoying when the deck starts to get low).
Perks of the App
So while playing against a computer has some quirks, there are quite a few things about the app that I love (luckily I can also play with people just haven’t yet). The fact that when I have gathered an obscene amount of cards I am not having to figure out how to hold or keep count of them all. The app is great it stacks the cards of the same color and gives you a count of how many you have. That way if you need 6 of a specific color it is very easy to keep track of, instead of losing count and being mad when you did not grab that one card you needed.
The other part that I love about most app based board games is keeping track of scores. The first time David and I played our copy of Ticket to Ride Nordic Countries we counted the points for number of trains placed wrong and had to go back and re-score. Then you have to remember to score after every placement. It is fine to do, but it is really nice to have a computer just tell you what your score is in the end. The automatic for longest track is also a nice bonus because having to count the trains and figure out which is longest can be interesting.
So the app comes with the original Ticket to Ride America map, but then you can buy add-ons including Europe, Asia, Switzerland, and extra routes for the America map. I highly recommend the game either as a board game or as the app.