Have you ever wanted to live a life of luxury riding top-end trains between North American cities in the early 1900s? Well, with Ticket to Ride, you can do that from the living room.
If you’re looking for a game that introduces kids to strategic thinking, Ticket is a great pick. A lot of the scoring and planning is secret, so they have to take risks, but the actual plays are all out in the open, so they don’t have to do a lot of guesswork. Some players aim for the longest train, which is quite the achievement. Others want to complete as many tickets as they can (secret tasks to connect two specific cities with trains), which is more about luck. But in the end, anybody can be a winner.
Off the top, our kids seemed a little daunted by the scope of the game. Lots of pieces and cards to hold onto and learn about. But after about three turns they were placing trains like confident little travellers. Once you get into the groove, there’s really only three choices—take a card, take a ticket, or place a train. Simple.
The box recommends eight or older, and that makes sense. Younger players could join in as “co-travellers,” but they’d find it challenging to play independently.
9yo: There’s a lot of strategy in this!
Game-piece wise, the trains are really satisfying to play with, but they’re also really easy to bump. Expect to fix your train routes a few times throughout the game—especially if your players have billowy sleeves. One thing our kids loved?The tension of trying to get the right cards and then the dramatic reveal when they finally got to make the big play!
11yo: My favourite part was getting something good and giving you a look to let you know.
Combine a turn of the century aesthetic and cards that look like classic train tickets with a fast-paced competitive game, and you’ve got a beautifully vintage way to spend an hour or two with the family—not to mention a sneaky little way to reinforce some elementary geography. Train noises are an extra bonus.
Overall, this is a great planning, replanning, re-replanning, and thinking-ahead game for all. It’s to figure out, but it has enough strategy and luck to make it really interesting for everybody. Perfect choice to unbox when the kids want to introduce their aunties and uncles to a fun game.
- Towards the back half game, take some tickets! You might pull ones you’ve already completed or could complete with some easy placements
- Each ticket has several ways to complete it, so even when you’re blocked, hope is not lost