The basic premise of this game is that you need to claim train routes between the different cities on the board using your trains (each player has 20 trains in one of four colours). Sounds simple enough. When I first read the instructions though it started to sound a whole lot more complicated and I had a feeling it might be tricky to explain to my 8yr old.
As it turns out though, once you get the instructions in your head and play an initial game to figure it out as you go, it really is pretty simple.
Each player receives 4 random Train cards and two random Ticket cards at the start of the game. The tickets show the routes that player needs to try and take control of. Some routes may only be one stop, others may require passing through 4 cities, it really is luck of the draw. In order to claim the routes between cities you need to use your train cards. The cards come in six different colours, plus a wild card which can take the place of any colour. Each route between cities will have different coloured steps. For example, Amsterdam to Copenhagen has two red steps. In order to claim that route you will need two red train cards. If you do have them, you place them next the train card deck and put two of your trains on the red markers. If you don’t have enough cards to claim a route you collect two more train cards as your go. Every time you complete a full route from one of your ticket cards, you place that card face up for everyone to see and then take another ticket card. The first person to complete six tickets is the winner and receives the golden ticket.
That probably sounds overly complicated but trust me, once you start playing it’s easy.
My son seemed a little dubious when I stated setting it up and explaining the rules to him but once we got going he absolutely loved it and immediately wanted to play again.
We played it twice before bed last night and he beat me both times. One time is was a complete thrashing, the second time it was close and with one more move I would have completed all of mine too. He’s already asked me this morning if we can play it again tonight and I’m hoping I can finally beat him otherwise its going to start getting embarrassing ;).
Ticket to Ride has a recommended age of 6+ and I’d say that’s about right. Younger children could possibly play along too but would need a bit more help, so you could play in teams. Our first game, while we were still figuring things out took about 30 minutes, the second one was just over 15 minutes. I think this is the perfect length. It’s short enough to stop kids getting too bored and you can always play multiple times, but it’s also not over too quickly and you can really get invested in the game.
Overall I’m really impressed with Ticket To Ride and can see it getting a lot of use.
Disclaimer – I was gifted this game in exchange for an honest review but all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links in accordance with my disclosure policy.