Ticket to Ride is a perfect game to introduce people to the modern world of Eurogames. It’s very simple to pick up, but the strategy has layers to keep you coming back again. So when Z-Man Games came out with Ticket to Ride First Journey, geared at kindergarten aged board gamers, we had to check it out! Keep reading to see the full review!
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All Aboard! Ticket to Ride First Journey Review
Similar to its parent game, Ticket to Ride First Journey is designed to be an early strategy game for kids. The balance of this game is where it really shined for us, the decision making is simple enough for a kindergartener to play on their own and have a realistic shot to win, but complex enough to keep even older kids and adults engaged.
- Manufacturer: Days of Wonder
- Manufacturer Age Recommendation: 6+
- Number of Players: 2-4
- Game Length: 15-30 mins
Find it on Amazon.
How to Play
Each player starts with four train cards, and two ticket cards. The train cards are different colors and align with the routes connecting various cities on the game board. The ticket cards show the routes each player is trying to complete. On their turn players can either draw an additional two train cards, or claim a path between two cities. Paths are claimed by discarding train cards of that color and placing your trains on the path. Once your trains connect the two cities shown on the ticket card, your route is complete and you get to draw a new ticket card.
The goal is to complete ticket cards. The first person to complete six ticket cards wins the game. Any players whose trains run from one coast to the other, also get a bonus ticket card called a coast-to-cost card, which counts toward the six required to win the game.
I had two main concerns with ticket to ride first journey. The first was game length. The original ticket to ride is a longer playing game and most of our board gaming with younger kids is done on game that can be played in 15-30 minutes. We find that longer games than this can really challenge kid’s attention spans. When kids start to lose interest in a game it’s easy for it to turn from a fun town to meltdown city. This concern was quickly vanquished as we were able to learn and play through the game the first time in around 30 minutes. Now that everyone knows the rules, most play throughs go even faster.
The second concern was if this game was different enough from ticket to ride to warrant another space in the game closet. If you have younger kids, the answer is definitely YES! Ticket to Ride First Journey is a rare game that will keep everyone above 5 engaged, and the quick gameplay makes it perfect for when the full Ticket to Ride just isn’t an option . I can definitely see my kids still enjoying this game when they’re older when needing a quick board game fix.
Ticket to Ride First Journey game board is a map of the United States (there is also a Europe version of First Journey), so the obvious learning opportunity is geography. This is a great way for young gamers to start to learn where major cities are located and begin to understand map reading.
That’s just the surface though, Ticket to Ride First Journey is also great for kids to learn prioritization, strategic thinking, and creative thinking (there’s more than one way to get from point A to B!). We have also sometimes add the ability to trade train cards and ticket cards to develop communication and negotiation skills!
Construction quality of Ticket to Ride is very good, the game board is very well made (I hate when boards rip or break where they fold up). The cards are also very thick and have held up very well through multiple plays. The train pieces are plastic, while I would have preferred wood, the plastic pieces work just fine.
What We’d Change
Not much! This is one of our go to games and has seen regular play for over a year now. From a parent perspective there are some games that make me cringe when I see the kids drag them out of the game closet, but I am always happy when I see them bringing Ticket to Ride First Journey!
Ticket to Ride First Journey is an awesome addition for Kindergarten age. The game is easy to pick up but will challenge them from a critical thinking perspective. It provides great replayability and is fun even for adults who are more used to complex strategy games. This is one they will enjoy for many years and definitely worth adding to your game collection!
Find it on Amazon.
This is on our list of favorite board games for kindergarteners, so if you like this one, be sure to check out the rest of the list!
Comment below and let me know what YOU thought of Ticket to Ride First Journey!