Ticket To Ride First Journey Review – Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club

We are huge fans of the epic board game Ticket To Ride, and when the chance to play and review the all-new standalone entry to the series, Ticket To Ride First Journey arose we could barely contain our excitement! This also marks my first post as a member of the Asmodee Blogger Board Game Club. Go me!

Most people will know that my family and I are huge board game fans. Our Saturday evenings (and the early hours of Sunday morning) are spent playing games; be it Dungeons & Dragons, Ticket To Ride, Carcassonne, Dobble, Catan, Battletech, Magic: The Gathering, Agricola, (the list goes on). We have some children’s games, but it’d be fair to say that the better games in our collection are aimed at adults. The kids’ games we do have are designed to teach basic maths or English, or fall firmly into dexterity challenges. Often, to include our kids in games that will reward them for strategic thinking, we have to tweak the rules to make them more accessible.  Ticket To Ride: First Journey will be our first “junior” edition of a serious “Euro-game”, but we’ve had My First Carcassone, Junior Catan and the introductory version of Stone Age on the shopping list for some time.

Ticket To Ride First Journey

If any of you reading this have played the original Ticket To Ride, or Ticket To Ride: Europe, then you’ll be familiar with the concept of the game. At its core, this child-friendly edition is, in essence, just a simplified version of the full game. For those of you who have been living under a rock and have never played Ticket To Ride then let me tell you the basics…

Ticket To Ride is a fun game to pass the time. It is incredibly quick and easy to learn, incorporates just the right amount of luck, and rewards both defensive and offensive strategic play.

The concept of Ticket To Ride is simple: points are scored when a player connects two cities together, either directly, or via other cities, by placing their train tokens along coloured routes. Routes are claimed by matching the number and colour of spaces on the route to cards played from the hand. Cards are drawn or replenished as an action, in place of claiming a route. Each player is given ticket cards, which determine the points available, and the start and destination cities. The winner is the person to get the most points, with points deducted for incomplete routes. Simples.

The kids’ version is even more simple, with fewer destinations, fewer colour combinations, quicker play time and a more “visual” board. The artwork is colourful, has cute cartoons and is very eye-catching, meaning that children don’t have to read the names of the cities, but can spot the associated imagery quickly and easily to find what they’re looking for (e.g.  Big Ben for London, the Eiffel Tower for Paris).

There is no point scoring in this version, instead, it’s first to claim six completed routes.

  • Who’s it for? 6+. We played with our 6-year-old daughter, and it took her a little while to understand what was going on and how to play. But, I am not the best rules teacher. Nor is my husband. That said, she soon figured it out once she saw us playing. We play the ‘grown-up’ version of Ticket To Ride regularly, so we were able to get started right away, but the rule book is clear so new players can get the core rules down pretty quickly. One point my husband raised was, that you could choose to include a few house rules and add in some of the “grown-up” rules to make this an even faster paced, quick play version of the main game, to introduce older kids.
  • How many players? 2-4 players. But if there are more of you, just sit on each other’s laps and team up.
  • How long does it take to play? For this version, the box says 15-30 minutes. If it were just two playing, I could believe 15 minutes. BUT it took half an hour just to explain the game to Willow in the first place (slight exaggeration). Once play had begun, we were done and dusted within 25 minutes.

Whats in the box?

  • 1 big board
  • 80 coloured trains
  • 72 Train Cards
  • 32 Tickets
  • 4 <<East To West>> Bonus Tickets
  • 1 Rule Sheet
  • A whole lotta’ fun 😉

What did we think?

Well, personally I thought it was amazing! I love playing Ticket To Ride: Europe the best, but have never actually won a game. Playing this version I felt like I actually had more of a chance of winning. Maybe I should play more child friendly versions of games more often. I still didn’t win though.

Willow bloody well loved it! Of course she did. She whooped my butt and won! Hmmpf. She quickly got the aim of the game and was soon playing confidently. Willow said that she especially liked the pictures and learning the names of new places, as well as their features. Dublin was her fave! It was also so nice to spend time with just her, once her younger sisters had gone to bed. Invaluable family time together, sharing the passion of a good board game!

I really think Ticket To Ride: First Journey is the perfect bridge for kids to take a step away from the ‘typical’ family games (such as Buckaroo, Mouse Trap, Hungry Hippo’s etc) or educational games, and discover a board game that would really impress their lil’ buddies at a sleepover! Willow felt so grown up playing this game and I firmly believe that it has fuelled her passion for playing more board games with her super-cool mum and dad.


Design– 10/10. It looks awesome. Kudos to the designers!

Ease of play-8/10. This depends on age. Willow has just turned 6, so is still very young. My hubby is 30 and found it a piece of cake.

Fun– 10/10. Very fun… and competitive, addictive,

Value for money– 9/10. It’s quite pricey but this game will last you years. These premium games are made to last, with a heavy cardstock board and thick silky cards.  And in 30 years time, you’ll probably be able to flog it on eBay to some classic board game collector or a 36 year old wanting to relive some 2018 fun.

Ticket To Ride – First Journey is available for £25.99 RRP. A copy of this game was sent to me as a member of the Asmodee UK Blogger Board Game Club, in exchange for this post.


Catch Phrase Board Game Review

If you grew up in the UK, ever lived in the UK, or have even heard of the UK then there is a good chance that you will have seen the TV show Catch Phrase. If you have been living under a rock and have no idea what I am talking about, Catch Phrase is a TV show where contestants watch short cartoons to guess a well-known catchphrase. Get these right and they win money. A simple concept, which is probably why the TV show has been so massively popular for family TV viewing since 1986… and let’s not forget the Catch Phrase mascot Mr. Chips!

When we were given the chance to play and review the all-new Catch Phrase board game by Drumond Park, we jumped at the chance! Based on the new ITV reboot presented by Stephen Mulhern, this great family board game will have you in fits of laughter and makes you feel like you’re really on set of the famous TV show. The game is easy to set up and has super simple rules to follow. Within no time, you could be playing Catch Phrase… just like you always dreamed of doing.

Whats in the box?

When you open the box for the first time it may be a little daunting to see how many bits there are to set up. But, don’t worry it really isn’t that complicated at all. The set-up instructions are very easy to follow. Inside the box, you will find:

  • 96 Catch Phrase cards
  • 15 Bonus Cards
  • 48 Super Catch Phrase cards
  • Mr. Chips card holder
  • Bonus Catch Phrase frame card and window covers
  • Super Catch Phrase Board
  • Sand timer
  • Red Filter
  • 60 banknotes
  • Instructions

It took me about 5 minutes to read the instructions and set the game up ready for play. The whole game looks magnificent when all laid out ready to play! I played with my husband, and there were instructions specifically for when there are just 2 players. The game is created for 2-4 players, and I do think it would work best with a full team of 4.  We were both so excited to play once everything was ready. My husband even put on his best Stephen Mulhurn impression… how embarrassing!

Play time!

Playing the game was just as fun as we hoped. We were in fits of laughter right from the beginning. Each player takes it in turns as the host. There are 3 rounds; Individual, Rapid-Fire and Super Catch Phrase puzzles. Once all 3 rounds have been played, someone else takes over as host. Repeat until all players have hosted the 3 rounds each.

Round 1: Players must try to solve Catch Phrases on their own. The answers are written upside down on the opposite side of the card, out of sight from players but clearly visible to the host. The cards are placed into the arms of a large cardboard Mr. Chips cardholder- which is kind of cute. The correct answer has to be guessed before the time runs out, so be quick! Correct answers win ‘cash’.  If the correct answer isn’t guessed then other players get their chance to shout out the correct answer, in order to win the cash prize instead.

For each correct Catch Phrase guessed, a tile from the Bonus Catch Phrase frame is removed. The player gets one chance to guess the Bonus Catch Phrase answer correctly, per tile removed. Round 1 continues with the individual players taking turns until the Bonus Catch Phrase has been guessed or all of the window covers have been removed without anyone getting it right.

Round 2: The host uses the Regular Catch Phrase cards during this Rapid Fire round, but during this round everyone plays at the same time. A card is placed into Mr. Chip’s arms and the players all shout out their guesses until the correct answer is given. Guess correctly first, and you win more cash. If the timer runs out and no one has guessed correctly then host shows another card. Only 5 cards are shown during this round.

Round 3: This is the Super Catch Phrase round. 6 cards are placed on to the Super Catch Phrase board. The cards are played in the same way as the Rapid Fire round. The host starts to turn the cards starting on the bottom row. The players have to get one card right from the row before cards on the next row above are revealed. Each row has a different prize value. The answers to these cards are cleverly hidden on the front of the cards. The host must use the red filter sheet to reveal the answer!

After this final round the host steps down, and the person to their left now becomes the new host. Players keep the money they have won from host to host and the whole game finishes when all players have had a turn at being the host. The winner is the person who has won the most money.

The instructions are easy to understand, with easy to read font and clear diagrams. If there are just 2 of you playing the game, there are a slightly different set of rules (included on the same leaflet). The instructions are kept brief but this works well. The game states that it is suitable for players aged 8+, but I do think children as young as 8 would struggle to play the game. Some of the Catch Phrases are rather hard to guess, even as a 28 year old! The game would be best suited to much older children, teenagers, and adults.

Final thoughts

I am usually not a huge fan of this style board game, but Catch Phrase is one of my favourite Saturday evening chill-out shows so I just had to have a go at the game! The game seems well made and created with good quality materials. Nothing is too fiddly or time-consuming to set up, and once you’ve got into the swing of things you could be playing a side-splitting game for the evening. There was one card that I just could not guess. My husband was in tears of laughter. I think you can guess why…

I am very pleased to give this game its own space on our games shelf, as it could prove some hilarious entertainment when guests are over for an evening. All-in-all, a well-made game that had us all as happy as Mr. Chips looks!

Buy the game!

Catch Phrase the board game is produced by Drumond Park and has an RRP of £22.99 and is available online and in store. Stockists include Amazon, Toys R Us, Tesco, WH Smith, and Smyths. Do shop around for the best price.