At the beginning of the main game, players are dealt four train car cards as their playing hand. They are also dealt three Destination Ticket cards, each of which shows a pair of cities on the map. These become goals, representing two end-points which players are secretly attempting to connect. The player must keep at least two of these destination cards and discard unwanted tickets to the bottom of the stack, if any. Once kept, a destination ticket may not be discarded for the rest of the game. Each player also selects a group of 45 colored train pieces with a matching scoring marker.