TTR Gold Plated TrainDays of Wonder is launching a tournament program for Ticket to Ride, culminating in a World Championship in June, 2010 in Paris. Qualifying events will be held in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Benelux countries, and Poland. As prizes, qualifying tournament winners will receive gold-plated scoring markers and partial travel costs to National Championship events. National champions will receive sets of gold-plated trains and travel to the Paris event. And the ultimate winner gets a ride on the Orient Express from London to Venice.

But I’ve got to ask, what’s this thing with tournaments? Is it just a sign of a popular game? Is it a reward for the dedicated fans? Does it excite potential new customers? Or simple publicity? What do you think? Will a board game tournament program affect your purchasing decision?

Update from Mark Kaufmann, VP, Days of Wonder:

It is a thank you for the loyal fans, but in addition it’s a great way to get people who have been playing for a while excited about Ticket to Ride again. We’re firm believer in that the more people play the game, the more they will introduce others to it and word of mouth is by far the best way to market the game.

Also, Mark reports that the North American Championship will be held in April at Alan Moon’s invite-only convention, Gathering of Friends. So if you’ve been trying to figure out a way in to this exclusive event, here’s your opportunity.