Sue's family have been visiting this week (with strict instructions to keep out of my way during the day when I am revising). We played Through the Desert on Monday evening and Ticket to Ride Marklin last night. Leaving out the passenger rules speeded up setup and made a nice playable game that the less enthusiastic gamers (sister-in-law Maggie and niece-in-law Sarah who always wants to know "is it like Risk?") still enjoyed. Everyone was playing very nicely until nephew-in-law Tom suddenly figured out how to be nasty, and spent the rest of the game gleefully blocking his mother's routes. Sarah, who had spent most of the game stressing about completing her long route, won by a nice margin.
So Ticket to Ride lived up to its reputation as an ideal gateway game (ie a great game for people who don't like games).