Many readers of my generation and the previous one will associate “A ticket to ride” with the Beatles. Yes I have it playing in my head too now, but you are way off the mark. My game-crazy friends, however, will know I am referring to the board game and all its wonderful variations.
A friend, who I call the Queen of Board Games, introduced me to Ticket to Ride a couple of years ago and like many others I know, it was love at first play. Yet, the love isn’t blind – it deepens, as the relationship grows ever stronger with time.
If you are shaking your head, stop. This game is nothing like the board games of yore, a painfully never-ending game of Monopoly comes to mind. The modern board game scene is exploding, with new and exciting games hitting the market everyday. Normal, everyday people are creating games and using Kickstarter to raise funds to turn them into actual products. Beyond exciting!
Ticket to Ride USA was the first game to be created in the series and over the years, more games and expansion boards have been added – Europe, India, Africa, UK and Pennsylvania to name a few. Though the basic game is the same, each board has a different twist which hones the skill to play using different strategies.
I am very fortunate in that, between our group of friends, we own almost all the versions of the game, hence I have got to try most of them at least once. The kids went from watching in spurts to playing in teams with the more patient adults to now actually playing in their own right. My little koala needs a teeny bit of help every now and then but she has got the dynamics of the game down really well.
So why do we love the game so much?
- There is a huge amount of fun to be had.
- Koala is improving her reading skills because she wants to be able to play without any help at all.
- There is a reasonable amount of maths thrown in while calculating routes and scores.
- It encourages logical and strategic thinking and planning.
- The game enhances our knowledge of Geography and where cities and countries are in relation to one another.
- I get to travel far and wide. Hey, if you play the latest Rails and Sails board, you can go to any or all parts of the world. I even sailed past Cuba, which is on my bucket list. This is my first baby step towards the actual trip.
- It encourages flexibility and the ability to go with the flow, to change plans when another player blocks your best route. Also teaches you when to give up on a ticket and how best to increase your total in other ways. A key life skill, in my book …. knowing when to persist and when to walk away from a situation.
- We are also learning to be gracious when we lose. Gosh, I am competitive when playing with other adults and that is putting it mildly 😉
- Ultimately, it is sheer joy and a superb way to spend time with family and friends. I need to have my ticket to ride fix a few times a week.
What! Why are you still reading my blog post?
I expected you to be getting that board out and gathering the troops to play. Or pressing the checkout button on your amazon basket. Or being on your way here for a game and a cuppa. If you take the train (or boat), I will even throw in some cake.