52 Family Game Nights: Ticket to Ride

Last week I shared the first Euro game in our series: Settlers of Catan. This incredibly popular game is a favorite for many families, several of whom weighed in with their tweaks and ideas for helping a family to enjoy this slightly more complicated game. (And if you have ideas about that, please do share!)

This week I’m going to share another light Euro game that makes a great first choice for branching out of your game comfort zone.

family game night ticket to rideFamily Game Night #8: Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride is a fun trip across the United States. You are trying to complete routes for points by placing your trains on the map. Routes can be short, or they can be long. (And, while it isn’t strictly an educational game, you are likely to pick up a little bit of geography.)

The colorful pieces are appealing to kids and adults. Play is simpler than Settlers of Catan, but still more satisfying than a simple roll and move game that relies solely on luck.

ticket to ride cards and trainsThere are different strategies to try, but these are not too complicated for a child to grasp. For instance: the East Coast has a lot of shorter routes that are quicker to get, but those routes also get crowded quickly and offer fewer points. The West Coast routes are more spread out and worth more points, but it will take longer to collect the cards you need to complete them.

Another example: if you complete your routes (the ticket cards you drew when the game started), should you draw more? Or should you just try to get cards to place five or six trains at once and earn some points that way?

This is another fantastic entry into the hobby game scene. It’s widely available (Target carries it, for instance), fun, and there are several editions now. I’ve got my eye on the United Kingdomedition. Other editions available: Ticket To Ride – Europe, Ticket To Ride – India, Ticket To Ride – Nordic Countries, and Ticket to Ride – The Heart of Africa. If your family loves this, you could start quite a Ticket to Ride collection!

But don’t let all those options overwhelm you. The basic game is loads of fun and will be played over and over again. This is a game my family reaches for often.

This game is a bit pricier than some I’ve mentioned, but it does go on sale fairly regularly. This one would make a great family gift, too.

ticket to ride trainsSummary of Ticket to Ride:

Number of Players: 2-5 (but at least 3 is more fun)

Recommended Ages: 8 and up. This seems reasonable to me. It is likely to frustrate younger players.

Reading Required: yes. You need to be able to read your ticket cards and the corresponding cities on the board.

Have you played Ticket to Ride? And can you avoid humming the song while you play? Because so far I have never gotten this game out without singing at least a line or two of “She’s got a ticket to ride and she don’t care…”
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  1. One of my personal favorites!