I've got a Ticket to Ride, and I Care, Very Much

If you've never played the board game Ticket to Ride, boy, are you missing out. It's almost the perfect game. There are enough cards and rules to keep serious board gamers thinking, but the basic gist is simple enough you can be up and playing in only a few minutes.

As with many other great board games, Ticket to Ride is also available on iOS. And it's brilliant.

The aim of the game is to build rail lines across various regions on Earth. You get points for the size of the train, points for completing pre-determined routes and points for building the longest route. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. Easy.

There are two versions available. There's a $0.99 iPhone version, which gives you the complete game and only one map (North America), and a pricier iPad version, which has a number of worldwide maps and a few other tweaks for the bigger screen.

I've only played the iPhone version, but can't put it down. It does exactly what you want a board game conversion to do: keep the art, rules and feel of the original intact, and just make things quicker and easier. While the smaller screen means the complete board game experience can't be replicated like it can on the iPad, there are a few multiplayer options, like playing locally on multiple phones, playing online or using a hot-seat mode.

My only gripe is that the AI can be brutal, blocking routes that a more considerate human friend/opponent would never do, but on the whole the iOS version of Ticket to Ride takes a near-perfect board game and nearly perfectly recreates it in your hand.

Ticket to Ride [Apple App Store]