My son received the Ticket to Ride board game last year as a gift, and it quickly became a favorite family game and perfect for my game of the month series. We've played it again and again and you don't even need to have a train obsessed child to enjoy it.
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Ticket To Ride has won a number of international awards. It's also a Parent's Choice honor game. It requires players to put their strategy and planning skills to the test. The rules are complex, but surprisingly easy to understand. I recommend the game for kids age 7 and up. See below for tips on playing with younger children.
Notes on Playing Ticket to Ride
- Ticket To Ride takes about 30 to 60 minutes to play. You also need a large playing space for the oversized board.
- Each player receives a set of train cars. The object is to claim various train routes that criss cross the country.
- At the start of the game, players draw "tickets" with routes available for claim. Each route has a different point value.
- During each turn players either claim routes or draw colored cards which all them the possibility of claiming a route in the future.
- Points are assigned based on the types and number of routes claimed.
- In order to claim a route, players must strategize as to whether to claim a route immediately, or keep their cards to use during a future turn but risk losing the route before that can happen.
- Bonus: Kids will quickly learn place names across North America.
Tips on Playing with Younger Kids
My oldest son has always had such an easy time playing strategy and detail-oriented games I've always wondered if my experience was similar to other parents. Now, with my second child I can safely say, that I've seen both sides. My just-about-six year old second son has a much more difficult time with games that require patience. That said, playing Ticket To Ride with younger kids at the table is still possible. Here are my tips:
- Play on teams. This is a standard strategy of mine. My younger child plays with me, that way I can help him strategize and make sure he does not fall too far behind. (He is NOT a graceful loser.)
- Ditch the points. In fact, we don't rarely keep score no matter what game we play. My sons find it stressful and we don't have to worry about making mistakes in the scoring.
Ticket to Ride Game Variations
There are several versions of Ticket To Ride. The original takes players on cross country routes across North America. Other locations include Europe, Asia, India and the Nordic Countries. If you decide to purchase a game featuring one of these other locations, be sure to make sure you are getting a complete game. Some are are only extensions.
Extension Packs: In addition, we have the 1910 Extension Pack of Cards. I prefer the extension cards because they are a larger size and easier to handle. These cards give new routes to play. I purchased these after it became clear the game was a winner, and it proved to be a good investment.
Have you ever played Ticket to Ride? I've heard Ticket To Ride - Europe is even better!