Ticket To Ride: First Journey

Amazon Product Name (APN): Ticket to Ride: First Journey

Manufacturer: Days of Wonder

Our Rating: 10,000,000 out of 5 stars

Review by: Robby

What I like about Ticket to Ride: First Journey:

It’s all about trains! It’s even more fun than regular Ticket to Ride. I like the bigger cards because they’re easier to hold than regular Ticket to Ride. The cards are all circus cars which makes me smile.

I love winning the golden ticket!

You can find Ticket to Ride: First Journeys on Amazon here.

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Ticket To Ride: First Journey

Amazon Product Name (APN): Ticket To Ride: First Journey

Manufacturer: Days of Wonder

Review by: Mom

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’ve played any of the Ticket to Ride games during family game night, you may have found that small children gravitate to the gaming table when the trains come out. That’s how it is at our house, with young railroad barons itching to play.

As simple as the original Ticket to Ride is to play, it’s still a little bit beyond the reach of kids who aren’t quite able to read maps and keep the small train cars in a line on the map.

Ticket to Ride: First Journey solves almost every problem that our six-year-old has playing the standard game (and expansions). The rules are somehow made even more simple, the train cars are larger and easier to manage, and the destination cities have colorful pictures that are easy to see both on the board and on the route cards. Days of Wonder have managed to do all of that while retaining the fun of game play.

Although I’m not really into model railroading like Papa and Robby are, Ticket to Ride has been one of my favorite game franchises. I love the variety of maps, the strategy, and the cutthroat deviousness that being a railroad baron brings.

When we found the First Journey version of the game, it was a no-brainer. We had to have it! Now, we can set up young gamers with this fun game and they can battle it out at the kid’s table while we play an adult game of Ticket to Ride Europe.

My only complaint is that the instructions remind kids to keep their cards to themselves, but as anyone who plays games with kids knows, it can be really difficult for small hands to manage more than a few cards at a time. We implemented a house rule that players under age 10 can lay their cards on the table in front of them, face up. Although this makes it easier for other players to cut someone’s route off, it’s the only way our kiddo was able to keep track of his colored railroad car game cards and routes.

If you have kids who want to play board games just like the grown-ups, I highly recommend this game for your next family game night. Not only is there a Ticket to Ride: First Journeys in the USA, but there’s also Ticket to Ride: Europe First Journeys, too!

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Qwirkle

Amazon Product Name (APN): Qwirkle Board Game

Manufacturer: MindWare

Review by: Dad

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Qwirkle by MindWare is an easy to learn and accessible color and shape based tile laying game for ages six plus, and all levels of gamers.

Qwirkle’s rules are simple: shuffle 108 wooden tiles into a bag, and every player draws six of them.  The player who goes first is the one who can place the longest line of tiles of either matching shapes or colors. The next players add onto the beginning line, matching colors or shapes as appropriate. Each player lays tiles matching what is already on the board by either extending the line already there or starting a new one, similar to how words are place in Scrabble. Play continues with each player refilling their hand from the bag of tiles, scoring the tiles they’ve played at the end of each turn. 

Scoring is simple; one point per tile laid, and twelve points for a completed six tile line called getting a Qwirkle!  The rules allow for some crazy combo scoring once the board starts getting built up, which causes game play to get progressively more strategic.

Qwirkle is definitely a game that is easy to learn, but hard to master.  There are advanced strategies that can be used to block other players from getting Qwirkles, saving key tiles to ensure you get Qwirkles, etc. Qwirkle is an extremely fun tile laying board game that is perfect for families since it is accessible for all age ranges from six plus (but our son started playing at three years old) and the rules are easy to explain and learn quickly.

Our family has had games with ages ranges from four years old to eighty-five!  Qwirkle is available both in a standard edition and a travel edition, as well as Qwirkle Cubes which adds a dice rolling component to this classic matching game. Pick from any of the editions on Mindware’s Amazon listings that work best for you and add Qwirkle to your collection today!

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Jenga

Amazon Product Name (APN): Jenga Classic Game

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Robby

Jenga is a fun game to play on family game night, especially if you love things that crash! It can be hard sometimes to follow the rules because I want to hold the tower on my turn to make sure it falls over, but Mom says no! So, we try to follow the rules and if the tower crashes, that’s okay.

Jenga is cool because it isn’t like a regular board game. You build a tower of blocks and then try to take parts of the tower out without making the tower fall. It’s super hard!

When I’m not playing the Jenga game, I like using the blocks to build things. When I’m playing the game, it’s fun to stack the blocks when we set the game up. It’s so hard to get the blocks out without crashing the tower!

I don’t like losing. My mom is very good at this game. It’s more fun to play when someone else is playing so I can win more often. I think Jenga is good for building blocks for kids 3 and up, and good for following the rules to play the game for kids 6 and up. If you want to get Jenga to play on family game night, or to use as building blocks, you can find it on Amazon here.

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Minecraft the Video Game (Xbox 360)

Amazon Product Name (APN): Minecraft (Xbox 360)

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review by: Robby

I like playing in creative mode on Minecraft the video game. Creative mode is where you can do everything, and don’t have to worry about dying from monsters. I hate creepers!

I like to build trains with Minecraft blocks, and I like going to Halloween World on Xbox Live and riding the roller coaster. Staying in creative mode in the Minecraft video game makes it a lot less scary when you’re playing in Halloween World, and on regular maps, too. I love playing co-op mode with Mom and Dad. Sometimes we can build villages together. Sometimes we clear the blocks so we can make trains.

What I don’t like: I don’t like playing in Survival Mode. I die a lot. I hate creepers! Creative mode on Minecraft the video game is a lot like the Minecraft card game. (You can read my review of the Minecraft card game here.)

I have been playing Minecraft the video game since I was 4 years old. It’s good for ages 4, 5, 6 and up. Adults can play this game, too. If you want to try playing Minecraft the video game with your kids, you can find it on Amazon here.

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Minecraft the Card Game

Amazon Product Name (APN): Mattel Games Minecraft Card Game

Our Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review by: Robby

In Minecraft the video game, I don’t like creepers. In Minecraft the card game, I don’t like creepers! They wreck everything and Mom says they want hugs but they aren’t friendly. They’re evil!

Also, sometimes it’s hard to get people to play Minecraft the Card Game to play with, because new people are nervous bout the rules. But, if you read the rules, it’s pretty easy. It can be tough like in survival mode on Xbox, and you might die. But it’s just a game, so that’s okay.

I do sometimes like playing this game on my own and making my own House Rules (You can read Dad’s article about making up House Rules here). I like playing Minecraft the card game, because it’s like playing Minecraft the video game, but I can play it even when I’m out of TV time!

I think this is a good game for 6-year-olds and adults. It’s actually pretty helpful to have a gown-up to help with the rules. If you want to try playing Minecraft the Card Game, you can find it on Amazon here.

Want to see more? Check out some of our other articles and reviews below.

Sorry! 2013 Edition Game Review (Kid Review)

Amazon Product Name (APN): Sorry! 2013 Edition Game

Our Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review by: Robby

Don’t forget to say Sorry! when you read this review!

I love playing Sorry! with Mom and Dad. It makes me laugh so much. I like booping other people and making them go back to their start. I like swapping my pawns with other players on the board to get closer to home.

I don’t like it when I get booped though!

This game is rated ages 6 and up. I agree it’s a good game for kids, and parents should play it with their kids! If you want to play Sorry! with your kids, you can find it on Amazon Here.

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