Ticket to Ride: First Journey is a great way to introduce your less gaming savvy friends to Ticket to Ride, or to have your children join in on the fun. This Tablet/Smartphone adaptation of the boardgame of the same name works just like the board game. You start with routes across the US(Europe is also included at no extra charge!) and use cards you draw to build a train route between two cities. The first to finish 6 routes wins the game!
The artistic flair of this game is phenomenal. For being essentially a kids version of a board game there was more attention to detail thank you’d think. From vibrant colors, a train smokestack that moves, moving icons that symbolize each city as you claim routes, and varied characters, the artists definitely didn’t skimp on the presentation of the game. I only knock of one point because lets be honest, while it works well, it is by no means something that pushes the limits of your phone or tablet’s capabilities.
The rules are quite simple and executed flawlessly—even my four year old daughter quickly figured out how to place trains and draw additional cards without issue. If you need a refresher on the rules, a quick six step rule book is available in the settings. Choosing a character, renaming them(or keeping the original names) and adding computer players is a synch.
Once you’ve started the game things continue to be easy. Keeping track of your routes is taken care of with orange and green rings—each connecting highlighting the two cities you’re supposed to connect. Placing the trains is simple, though there can be a little bit of difficulty if you’re playing on a smaller tablet or phone, because it’s simply very small—not really the games fault though.
As you complete routes it keeps track of your and your opponents progress so there’s no guesswork as to where you stand. As each player’s turn comes up it brings up their character icon and you must hit the play button to continue—allowing you to pass the device around. There isn’t an online mode but for a kids game, do you really want them online? The fact it can be played without using data or the internet is a parents dream.
For a kids game, I find the difficulty level of computer players a bit higher than expected. Easy bots actually perform quite well, and I find myself barely beating them most times. Medium and Hard bots can sometimes feel like the game is downright cheating—giving them the cards they need while you don’t get the ones you do.
Lasting Appeal: 4/5
Two game boards are included, allowing for extra replayability. There are also three difficulties of bots available which prove challenging even to the most seasoned of Ticket to Ride players. Kids will find the cutesy animations endlessly entertaining and others can find plenty of replay—this isn’t likely something you’ll play often, but you’ll pull it out for a monthly game night.
Overall value: 5/5
This is where this game really shines. On the Amazon App store, it’s available for $1.99. Even better, you can use Amazon coins to get it for free in a few months patiently gathering your free coins(I lucked on and got in on the amazon coins program when it offered more than just 2-3 coins a day so I got it much sooner). Better yet, it’s a game that can be played offline and doesn’t have any mircotransactions—you get the complete game available anytime anywhere for $1.99!
You can download the app here
Never used the Amazon app store? check out my review here.