Ticket to Ride Pocket is one of those games whose very existence seems absurd. It’s an iPhone version of an iPad version of an online game that originally gained popularity — massive popularity — as a board game. But the talented people over at Days of Wonder (who publish the entire series) managed, inconceivably, to make a triumph of TTR Pocket through careful execution and attention to detail. And today is your last chance to own it for free, before it heads back up to $2 at midnight.
In a nutshell, you play as a rail tycoon, in a card-based game of power and control, racing to build rail lines to connect your cities. the game pits you against up to four AI players; you can also play local, carbon-based opponents via wifi or Bluetooth, or — and this is fairly new — play online asynchronously through Game Center.
What it doesn’t have is the iPad’s the board game-like feel, its local pass-and-play mode or its ability to play live over wifi with other iPad or Facebook players through Days of Wonder’s servers. But that doesn’t matter — the game delivers way more than is expected. When you’re eventually hooked, there’s the recently released iPhone version of Ticket to Ride’s European map, Ticket to Ride Europe Pocket, with a new map and additional new rules. But that one you’ll have to cough up $2 for.