Ticket to Ride‘s popularity has been the gaming culture’s ticket to replacing the ubiquitous Monopoly and Life games on the average American’s game shelf. As the newly crowned go-to family game, Ticket to Ride has a polished and good ol’ wholesome fun feeling—until now. The Halloween Freighter train and station set brings some spookiness to the table.
As a horror nerd and lover of all things Halloween, I jumped on this theme the moment I heard about it. The idea of bringing your own set of trains to a table and showcasing a little bit of your personality while playing was an exciting prospect. Checking out the packaging and seeing the spooky witch, ghost, and scarecrow—I felt like I was in my element. The set itself includes 45 custom trains and 3 halloween stations. As with most things horror related, theres often a big buildup to a scare and then a giant letdown…
Upon further inspection you’ll find that the Halloween Freighter trains are really just trains with pumpkins on the them. The packaging might lead you to believe that the trains are actually loaded with jack-o’-lanterns, but sadly they are just plain old pumpkins. As an insult to injury, the pumpkins themselves are a creamsicle orange color, hardly the quintessential orange we are used to seeing in the Halloween season. The stations included in the box are pretty neat. They are consistently the same orange color but they add a little seasonal flair with spooky trees on the side of the station and a monster mouth-like opening to enter the station.
There is one giant error in this set and one wish list item. First off, I wish they would’ve included Halloween themed passenger tokens for compatibility with the Ticket to Ride: Marklin game—there is potential for something really fun there. Second, the giant error. Days of Wonder (the developer of Ticket to Ride) really dropped the ball by not including an orange score marker in this set. When you bring this to the table and replace an existing train set you have to grab a score marker from an unused set to keep track while you play. It seems like such an easy thing to add in, a wooden orange cylinder. Its just a little annoying to keep in mind “Oh, I’m actually the black marker even though my trains are orange”.
As a fan of all things horror/Halloween and a guy who enjoys being different, I really do like the spirit behind the Ticket to Ride: Halloween Freighter set. The execution was off, but in the end I still use the pumpkins every time I play.