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European Railroad Discussion > Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe

Date: 07/08/20 12:42
Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: gobbl3gook

Hi All, 

I assume many here have played the board game "Ticket to Ride, Europe."  

It's a fun, fairly speedy game, is pretty popular among board games.  

It has an interesting twist in deciding who plays first in the game:

"The player who has visited the most European countries in his lifetime begins the game..."

Which makes for a little interesting discussion among Americans at the beginning of the game, you get to learn which of your other players has been to various places on the board.  

But, the rule is a little vague.  It doesn't state what constitutes a "visit", nor does it take into account the changes in nation status of various regions of Europe.  Nor does it take into account the nations that straddle the Europe/Asia boundary, and whether a visit to the Asian portion of a straddling nation constitutes a visit to a European country.  

For instance, I have a housemate that went to high school in Germany, and visited many places by car in the 1980s.  East Germany and West Germany, which are now one country.  Do they count as two in calculating "visited the most European countries..."?  And through the then Yugoslavia, which is now generally recognized as seven countries.  Other friends have been to England, Scotland and/or Wales.  Are these separate countries?  

I always like to establish the criteria for visiting a European country before we see who goes first.  Among most of my peers I have visted far more than the rest of them, so there is really no contest.  And they get a little tired of me asking every six months or so, whenever we play.  But the questions bring up a lot of other interesting quesitons about geography, which Americans are usually a little thin on background knowledge of anyway, so it's always a conversation that piques a little interest... 

Here is what I ask: 

* Moldova -- I passed through the southern tip of Moldova by bicycle.  It was only 4 kilometers across, with a customs office in the middle.  Thye asked where I was going (Ukraine to Romania) and happily stamped my passport for both entrance and exit.  (Might have been a different person that stamped it for exit, I don't recall).  Then I pedalled on to Romanian customs, 2 kms away.  

Did I visit Moldova?  

* Bosnia -- I was riding on the Belgrade to Bar Railway line, connecting the Danube to the Adriatic Sea.  Built long before the breakup of Yugoslavia, the line passes from Serbia into Bosnia, then 15 kilometers later passes back into Serbia.  The train never stopped, no customs officials boarded and asked to see passports.  I had the window open, was enjoying seeing, smelling and listening to the Bosnian mountains.  

Did I visit Bosnia?  

* London -- I had a 2 hour layover at London Heathrow.  I walked on the asphalted earth of England, used the toilet, probably bought a snack.  

Did I visit England?  

* Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan spans the border of Europe and Asia.  I travelled across all of southern Kazakhstan, but never ventured to European Kazakhstan (the northwest corner -- Caspian Depression, west of the Ural River).  

Did I "visit a European country" in this case?  

* Christiana -- The old fortress in the city of Copenhagen is called neighborhood called Christiana, and claims to be independent of Denmark.  I don't think it has much of a government.  I didn't see a "House of Parliament" or anything.  Nor is it recognized by the UN, or, likely, any major nations.  I have bicycled through Christiana on several ocassions.  It looked like a summer camp turned into permanent cottages.  

Does Christiana count as a European Country?  

* Georgia and Azerbaijan -- the continental boundary between Europe and Asia runs east-west from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, following the spine of the Caucasus Mountains.  Generally, Russia/Europe is on the north of the spine of the mountains, and Azerbaijan and Georgia/Asia are on the south.  But, a decent size chunk of Azerbaijan runs up into Europe along the Caspian Sea, maybe 5% of the country.  And a few little alpine valleys north of the spine are part of Georgia.  

I visited both Azerbaijan and Georgia, but did not go into the European parts of these countries.  

Do my visits to Azerbaijan and Georgia count as visits to a European Country?  

And a few others which there don't seem to be any question over: 

* Lichtenstein -- it's only about 20 kms long and 15 kms wide.  I bicycled up the Rhine River path, entered Lichtenstien, stopped in the capital of Vaduz, went into a pretty church and listened to a pipe organ rehearsal, then continued south up the Rhine back into Switzerland.  I was in the country for about 15 kms.  

* Vatican -- it's only about a kilometer in diameter.  I walked in from Rome, Italy, walked around the courtyard at St. Peter's Basillica, bought some stamps and mailed some postcards, then walked back to into Rome.  I also walked around the perimeter or the Vatican State, admired the sturdy wall, and snacked on the wild mallow plants growing there.  


So, this is intriguing to me, but most of my peers can't get very excited about it.  

Much more surprising is that I finally Googled this the other day.  To see how other Ticket to Ride fans would handle this situation.  And I can't find anything on the internets.  Using search terms "Ticket to Ride" who goes first european countries. etc.  Somehow I thought that a game with a broad following like this would have people that liked to debate the minutia of the rules, particularly as it brings back interesting memories, and forces you to elucidate details about geography, length of visit, what constitutes actually visiting, etc.  

Have any of you had this discussion before playing the game?  Or heard war stories about anyone else with such debates?  

Ted in UT


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/20 15:19 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 07/08/20 12:55
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: symph1

Re England, I'd say no. You never went through customs, so you didn't legally enter the country. Just one traveller's opiion, though.

Date: 07/08/20 15:13
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: jello

gobbl3gook Wrote:
> Here is what I ask: 
> Did I visit Moldova?  

My gut wants to say yes, but my usual rule for US states is you have to do _something_ there.  Transiting is not sufficent.  Reluctently leaning towards no.

> Did I visit Bosnia?  

Nope, transit only.

> Did I visit England?  

Seems like a solid no, unless you did more than kill time.

> * Kazakhstan
> Did I "visit a European country" in this case? 

I'm inclined to say yes.  You visited Kazakhstan, and the line between Europe and Asia is arbitrary.

> Does Christiana count as a European Country?  

No.  You're not a country until accepted by other countries

> Do my visits to Azerbaijan and Georgia count as
> visits to a European Country?  

Azerbaijan seems a clear yes based on Kazakhstan precident.  Georgia probably should be as well, but the "European" portion seems minor and incidental, so my gut says now.

> * Lichtenstein


> * Vatican

If you count the Vatican as being a country (and other countries typically do), this seems good enough.
> Somehow I thought that
> a game with a broad following like this would have
> people that liked to debate the minutia of the
> rules,

I'm surprised to.  Obviously, I'm one of those people willing to do so.

> Have any of you had this discussion before playing
> the game?

I haven't had this discussion before, but that's because I haven't played Ticket to Ride - Europe.  My friends and I always played Eurorails.

Date: 07/09/20 03:12
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: andersonb109

if you set foot in a country, even if only the airport it should count. Without that rule, most countries in the EU would be eliminated as there are no boarder checks (or at least weren't) between countries. So if you land at say CDG and take a train to Germany, you never clear customs in Germany and they have no idea you are there. What about the Vatican? You just walk in. No border check. But it is a separate country from Italy.  What doesn't count is if you land someplace but don't get off the plane. That happened to me landing in Ryad on our way to Eritrea. But I do count Japan. Changed planes there and ate at MacDonalds and was dam happy to find it. We also got off a SA flight in Sol to hang out in the transit lounge when they re-fueled. So I count that.  Taking a train through a country or state without getting off should also count. I'm currently at 52 countries. Can anyone on TO top that? I met a worman younger than me on the Trans Siberian who had over 90 inc. North Korea. Don't think I'll ever get near that total. Or Chairman Kim's kindom for that matter.

Date: 07/09/20 15:23
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: gobbl3gook

Thanks for the comments!  

I'm not well versed on travel terminology.  I like the differentiation between "visited" and "transited".  I'll bring that up next time I play... 

Of my friends, 
* none consider airport layovers to be a visit.  Nor do they consider Christiana a country.  
* all consider Lichtensitein, The Vatican, and Moldova to count.  
* I get mixed anwers on the trans-continental nations of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.  And on the rail transit of Bosnia, with the windows open...  

Best to all, 
Ted in UT

Date: 07/10/20 10:28
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: Latebeans

I never count an airport connection on my country list.  Have to actually get into town.  Just my personal criteria.

Date: 07/10/20 10:48
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: symph1

> I never count an airport connection on my country
> list.  Have to actually get into town.  Just my
> personal criteria.

My only time in Russia was changing planes in Moscow. But I did have a Russian beer and a big piece of black bread & butter at an airport bar. So I count that as "honorary membership." :-)

Date: 07/10/20 11:25
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: tq-07fan

Everyone has their own criteria. I would never count connections at an airport. I actually only count stuff I've been to if I have spent the night there. I also have to have rode on a transit system in any country I visit, but that is just me. Otherwise I have passed through the country or state. I can aggravate a few people the few times I've played TTR Europe since I have seven European countries that I can count as having been to. A couple of those that you have been to are so small I would have to count them as well since staying a night is some may be prohibitive in time and expense.


Date: 07/10/20 11:58
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: GettingShort

If you have at least an entry stamp from a country it should count. So I say you get to count Moldova. I'd give you The Vatican and Lichtenstein they are all recognized independent nations. More or less. Just changing planes, that shouldn't really count. I think you should get Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan like Jello pointed out the demarcation between Europe and Asia is rather arbitrary and the boundary is all over the place. Georgia is an interesting case because the parts of the country often considered as geographically in Europe aren't under Georgia's control, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I'd give you Bosnia, transiting on a train is different than just being in an airport. 

If someone visited both East and West Germany before unification do they get to keep both?  What about Czechoslovakia? Someone visited Czechoslovakia and later visit Slovakia and the Czech Republic do those count as two new countries?

Interestingly Moldova is a country where it's possible to receive an entry stamp when entering and exit without receiving and exit stamp. I think the same goes for Georgia. For instance in the case of Moldova, leave Moldova, by train or road and enter the breakaway republic of Prednestrovia (Transnistria) Moldova doesn't stamp your passport. So you take the train from Kishinev to Odessa, that passes through Prednestrovia, and enter Ukraine without getting an exit stamp from Moldova. I believe the situation is similar with Georgia and it's breakaway republic of Abkhazia. The Georgian's check your passport but don't stamp you out of Georgia when you cross into Abkhazia. The difference is I don't believe the Russians will allow you enter, if you transited Abkhazia from Georgia, nor does Georgia allow entry if you transited Abkhazia from Russia . 
Counting countries that exist even though few other countries recognize them, I have 75, lol yes including the DPRK. When I was in Somaliland we had a Danish guy on the tour who was out to visit every country on earth, after almsot two years of travel he pulled it off. Then he went back to his job as a city bus drive in Copenhagen. 

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/20 12:24 by GettingShort.

Date: 07/10/20 12:28
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: Hartington

My criteria is that I have spent a night before I count a visit. Otherwise "I have passed through".

As for countries that aren't any more I visited both Yugolslavia and Czechoslovakia before they broke up - two countries. If now I was to visit say, Slovakia I would count it as a separate country because legally it is. Mind you, I went to West Germany before reunification and I've visited Germany since they got back together (but only what was West Germany) and I consider them as the same country.

Date: 07/11/20 13:06
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: cricketer8for9

By my personal rules I counted Luxembourg because, while changing trains I made sure I had a stroll round the station square. Not sure whether taxi to the airport from Trier in Germany would count. 

Date: 07/11/20 17:41
Re: Determining "countries visited" in Ticket To Ride, Europe
Author: dwatry

I've been through Brazil 3 times, but have never left the airport.  Had a meal, had a beer.  But I don't count it on my list of countries visited. 

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