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I’m going to hazard a guess the title of this blog post caught your attention. Honestly, it really did take us an hour to realise we’d bought a counterfeit Ticket to Ride game. Board game fraudsters are getting good and fooling a lot of people. But there are ways to check whether you have a genuine copy of the game or not. Let’s discuss…

How To Check If You Have A Genuine Or Counterfeit Ticket To Ride Board Game

1. Examine the quality of the packaging and game.

In our case, the counterfeit copy we bought online was our second Ticket to Ride game. We already had the original USA version, but we also wanted Ticket to Ride Europe. Not just for the different routes and destinations, but also for the more challenging gameplay involving ferries and tunnels. But I digress.

What struck us when we first opened the box was how low-quality everything was. Not only was the box thin and of poor quality (it actually broke within a couple of minutes), but the board game itself was also well below par compared to the original.

The board was thin, made from poor-quality material and the printing was substandard. The colours were dark and muddied. We genuinely thought the manufacturer had cut corners. And big ones at that. But we were wrong.

Now that we have a genuine version of Ticket to Ride Europe, we can say without a doubt that the game is just as high quality as the original and it’s still one of our favourite board games.

Ticket to Ride Europe board game

If you suspect you have a poor-quality Ticket to Ride game, it’s likely a counterfeit. It’s such a shame that these fake copies are potentially damaging the manufacturer’s brand and reputation.

2. Check whether the colours match or not.

While we played the game, we noticed we weren’t picking up any brown cards – even though we could see brown routes on the board.

It turned out that the brown routes were actually supposed to be red and we did have cards for them. That was the second red flag (pardon the pun).

Close up of red routes on the Ticket to Ride Europe board

But once again, we thought the manufacturers simply compromised on quality. It wouldn’t be the first time a “sequel” didn’t live up to the original, am I right? But again, we were wrong in this case.

3. Look for trademarks and branding on the back of the board.

We finished playing and then we started our proper investigation. We grabbed the original Ticket to Ride board game and checked the back of it. It had a large Ticket to Ride logo and an image on the back of it. Our counterfeit copy didn’t.

Now that we have a genuine copy of Ticket to Ride Europe, we can confirm the board has a logo and image on it just like the original Ticket to Ride does. If your game doesn’t have this, you might have a fake version of the game.

Back of the Ticket to Ride Europe board

That said, if you have an old version of the game (say from the mid-2000s), then please note that some genuine versions of the game didn’t have the logo printed on the back. I suspect they changed the board once counterfeit copies started appearing.

4. Check the registration codes work.

Many modern games today (especially popular ones) often have some kind of registration code or QR code you can enter or scan for extra content or freebies online.

While counterfeit copies may have a code, they usually don’t work. So, try scanning or registering your code per the instructions next to it to see if it’s genuine.

In the case of Ticket to Ride Europe, you should find your registration code on the back of the rulebook:

Check your registration code on the back of your rulebook in Ticket to Ride Europe

5. Check whether you’re missing any pieces.

After scouring Amazon reviews and buying a counterfeit game ourselves, it seems that fake Ticket to Ride games often have some pieces missing.

In our case, we were missing the counters you use to move around the edge of the board. While genuine games can have pieces missing, it’s much more common for fake copies to be missing something.

6. Ignore the myth that counterfeit games are cheaper.

If we’d paid £5 or £10 less than a genuine copy of the game, I’d argue we got what we deserved. That sounds ominous, but you know what I mean.

But in our case, we didn’t try to save money. We actually paid £3 more than the genuine copy we later bought at our local toys and games retailer.

Ignore the myth that fake copies of games are cheaper because that’s not always the case!

7. Remember that online reviews can’t always be trusted.

We’re probably going to get a lot of hate for this, but we’re all about authenticity here at Luck & Strategy HQ.

I had an Amazon gift card, so I bought our game from Amazon.co.uk. At the time, the listing had an average rating of 4.8 stars and the price seemed about right for Ticket to Ride.

Once we discovered our version was counterfeit, we promptly returned the game and filed a complaint with Amazon. As you can expect, Amazon had a no-quibble returns policy so we got our money back without a problem.

However, they refused to publish my review warning others of counterfeit games! Hence this blog post, to be honest. I shall not be silenced!

Here’s what I wrote in my review:

“My husband and I love the Ticket to Ride games. However, we were disappointed when we discovered that we were sent an unofficial copy of this particular version.

We quickly noticed how bad the quality was compared to the original Ticket to Ride game – the box broke upon first use, the board was ridiculously cheap and flimsy, the colours of the pieces didn’t match each other, pieces were missing, the colour red showed up as brown, etc, etc.

After researching online, it seems this is a common thing. Check your board game thoroughly when you receive it – does the board have the Ticket to Ride logo and text printed on the back? If not, you’ve probably been sent an unofficial copy of the game.

We’ve since bought the game elsewhere and we can confirm the quality of the European version is the same good quality as the original Ticket to Ride game… but only if you actually buy the official version!

We reported the seller to Amazon and received a full refund. Hopefully, they’re able to stop other customers from being disappointed like we were.”

After they’d declined my review for going against “community guidelines”, I checked some of the other reviews on Amazon. There are lots of 4 and 5 star reviews saying things like “The game is great but pieces are missing” or “I love this game but it’s really bad quality.”

The fact that Amazon refused to publish my review warning others about the potential of counterfeit games leads me to wonder how many other people have a fake copy of the game at home without realising it. And can we ever really trust online reviews? Probably not.

FYI: While the seller is still on Amazon, the board game has been removed from their profile, suggesting Amazon may have taken action following my complaint. That’s something I guess.

A Final Word From Us

Counterfeit board game sellers can be crafty and it’s frustrating and alarming that such practices exist.

It seems like some of the most popular games in recent years have fallen foul of these issues a lot, so we need to be on the lookout for when we potentially have a counterfeit board game in our collection.

I hope this blog post helps you identify whether you have a counterfeit Ticket to Ride game and serves as a warning to be vigilant when purchasing games.

If you encounter quality issues with a known brand (especially one like Ticket to Ride that’s usually known for its high quality), then you probably have a counterfeit copy.

If you can, return the game and complain to the online marketplace or shop to help prevent others from falling victim to these schemes.

Unfortunately, Scott and I can no longer confidently advocate buying games online – unless you’re buying something from the manufacturer’s own Amazon shopfront (if they have one). For reference, Days of Wonder doesn’t have an Amazon shopfront here in the UK.

Alternatively, buying the game from your local or well-known toys and game retailer also ensures you’re buying a genuine and authentic version. Usually.

Over to you now – have you fallen victim to counterfeit board games? How long did it take you to notice? Upon reflection, we probably should’ve realised as soon as we took the game out of the box, but it genuinely took us an hour to notice. I suspect it won’t take us as long next time, though.

If you found this blog post helpful, please consider sharing it with a friend or via your social channels to help spread the word!

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