Ticket to Ride: First Journey takes the game-play of the Ticket to Ride series and scales it down for a younger audience. Players collect train cards, claim routes on the map, and try to connect the cities shown on their tickets. The game board shows a map of the USA with certain cities being connected by coloured paths. Each player starts with four coloured train cards in hand and two tickets; each ticket shows two cities, and you're trying to connect those two cities with a contiguous path of your trains in order to complete the ticket. The first player to complete six tickets wins! Alternatively, if someone has placed all twenty of their trains on the game board, then whoever has completed the most tickets wins! Please note this is the USA map edition, a European map can be found here. Ages 6+, 2-4 Players, 15-30 Minute Playing Time
Ticket to Ride First Journey is the children's version of the popular gateway board game, Ticket to Ride. Brought to you by Alan R Moonand published by Days of Wonder, this game is a simplified version of the original and is perfect for children.
It is bright, colourful and uses the same engaging game play techniques we have come to expect from the Ticket to Ride collection. 2-4 players race to be the first to complete six tickets, each one showing a different route that you need to use your trains to claim. It takes around 30 minutes to play and is engaging enough for all the family to enjoy. Let's take a closer look at this great game.
The game board should be placed in the middle of the table and then each player chooses a colour and takes 20 trains of the matching colour. Shuffle the train cards and deal four random cards to each player. The rest should be placed to the side of the game board as a deck.
There are 32 ticket cards and these should again be shuffled and two should be dealt to each player. The rest of these should be placed to the side of the game board as the ticket deck. There are four coast to coast tickets that should also be placed to one side and there is also a golden ticket for the eventual winner of the game!
First Journey Gameplay
The youngest player starts the game and takes the first turn. Play then goes round in a clockwise direction. On your turn you can either draw two train cards from the top of the deck or claim a route.
Draw Train Cards
The train cards are either; red, blue, green, yellow, white, black or they are multi-coloured locomotives. The locomotives can be used as wild cards, so they can be whichever colour you need to claim your route.
Claiming a Route
To claim a route in First Journey you play the number of train cards from your hand that match the colour and length of the route you wish to claim. You then place one of your coloured trains on each space of the route you are claiming. Place the train cards in a discard pile, face-up next to the train card deck. You can claim any route on the board that hasn't been claimed already even if it isn't connected to any of the other routes you have claimed.
However, some cities are connected by two parallel routes, you cannot claim them both. Don't forget that locomotive cards are wild and can be used in place of any colour train ticket. You can only claim one route per turn.
Each ticket shows two cities that you are trying to connect with a continuous line of your coloured trains. When you have managed to connect both cities shown on your ticket with a line of your coloured trains then you have completed one ticket. You tell the other players you have completed a ticket and place it face-up in front of you. You then take another ticket from the top of the ticket deck.
If you manage to get a continuous line of trains from one side of the board to the other then you will earn the 'Coast to Coast' bonus card. You must say 'Coast to Coast' and then take one of the 'Coast to Coast' tickets and place it face up in front of you. This also counts as a completed ticket.
The game immediately ends when one player completes their sixth ticket. This player is declared the winner and takes the Golden Ticket! The game also ends when a player places their last train on the board. In this case the player with the most completed tickets wins.
Final Thoughts on First Journey
I love playing First Journey with my son. It is a great game with lovely components and its format means that it doesn't take too long to play. It is a lovely engaging game to play and encourages forward planning, being aware of what others are doing and problem solving. It is a very satisfying game to play and is a refreshing change to the endless stream of cheaply made, mass produced kids games that saturate the market at the moment.
First Journey is a brilliant scale down of the original Ticket to Ride game and doesn't lose the essence of the full game. It requires the same sort of strategy, just in a way that is a lot easier for children to understand. It is a game that is well worth adding to your child's board game collection. Bright, colourful and lots of fun!