Ticket to Ride: Stay at Home is a Free Print-and-Play Expansion

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With most of us still self-quarantining and social distancing, family-friendly tabletop games are more important than ever. After releasing several print-and-play games for free last month, board game publisher Asmodee is offering a free print-and-play expansion to popular tabletop game Ticket to Ride.

Ticket to Ride: Stay at Home is a cute, printable expansion for 2-4 players that replaces cross-country train routes with traveling to and from different rooms of a house. The recommended age is 8+.

Note that it’s not a full game. You’ll need the physical trains and train cards from Ticket to Ride, Ticket to Ride Europe, or Ticket to Ride Germany in order to play.

The expansion includes its own printable board for an all-new map, including destinations like Sister’s Room and Dad’s Chair.

The gameplay is largely the same: each turn you draw cards hoping to create a matching set of colors to place trains and complete tickets.

The expansion adds a new semi co-op element: family routes. Only one train can be placed on the multi-colored family route on a turn, but anyone can add a train car to a single route. Once a family route is completed, anyone who has placed a train car there can benefit from it.

The Stay at Home expansion includes the new game board (printed on multiple pages to be combined) and new destination tickets. Ticket to Ride is available at all major gaming retailers, and is highly recommended as an excellent, easy to play family game.

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Digital Board Games Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne Free on Epic Games Store

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This week, from Feb. 6 to Feb. 13, you can get two excellent digital board game adaptations for free on the Epic Games Store: Ticket to Ride, and Carcassonne: The Official Board Game.

“We leverage our board game DNA, combined with our specific digital expertise to immerse players into amazing stories. Combining the two most thriving categories of entertainment, board and video games, our titles are intellectually rewarding, driven by player choices and set in awe-inspiring universes,” said Pierre Ortolan, CEO, Asmodee Digital. “Because we love to play, craft and publish these kinds of games, we aim to get more and more people on board with our passion. That’s why we’re so excited by our partnership with the Epic Games Store as it enables us to introduce new audiences to the genres we love. For the launch we have selected major iconic digital board game adaptations, offering a premium experience for free.”

To nab the free games, you’ll need go login with your Epic Games account. Then simply scroll down on the store page to the Free Games section. Both games also feature optional paid DLC.

In Ticket to Ride, players take turns drawing train tickets to complete their destination goals, forming routes along the US map. It’s considered a popular gateway game with its simple gameplay and family-friendly theme. You can play single player with bots, or multiplayer online and locally.

Carcassonne is the original tile-laying game where players collectively build up a French countryside, using their meeples to score points off of completed roads, cities, and monasteries. Carcassonne also features single player as well as local and online multiplayer.

The press release also announced Pandemic: The Board Game as a third offering, but it has since been removed, and can no longer be found on the Epic Games Store at all.

The Asmodee Digital version of Carcassonne is also available on Steam PC, Android, and Nintendo Switch. Ticket to Ride is available on iOs, Android, Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

family-friendly board games

9 Great Family-Friendly Board Games

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Screen time is always a concern for parents, even those of us who look at video games’ potential as a positive influence in our children’s lives. Mobile gaming alone has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry. In this age it’s no longer a question if young people play games, it’s which ones.

At the same time we’ve seen the gradual rise of tabletop board gaming, which could viewed as a response to the prevalent amount of screen time we surrounded ourselves with. The Monopolies and Clues of yesteryear have given way to a new generation of classics in Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and Ticket to Ride.

There are a lot of wonderful, deep, expensive options out there for adults. But if you’re looking for a solid modern board game for the family, we’ve got you covered right here. Here is our list of nine great kid-friendly board games you can enjoy with the whole family.

Eye Found It

family-friendly board games

Age: 4+
Players: 1-6

There’s a few different variations of Eye Found It, with the most common being Disney Eye Found It. A gigantic 6-foot board provides a visual feast of Disney movies and TV shows. The game plays like a classic roll and move, but if you hit the mouse ears, you draw a card with a symbol, and all players engage in a hidden picture adventure as you try to locate brooms, lamps, villains, and waterfalls.

It’s a simple game that doesn’t rely on reading or math (other than moving the right number of spaces), and everyone comes together to help find the hidden objects. There’s also a smaller card-only version that features the same great artwork and gameplay without the huge space requirements.

Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters

family-friendly board games

Age: 8+
Players: 2-4

The title and theme feels like kid Ghostbusters, but the board looks more like Clue, and the gameplay is purely cooperative. Every turn more ghosts appear in various rooms around the manor. Your job is to collect the scattered treasures while managing the ghosts via dice rolls.

It’s an easy game to learn but difficult to master. In fact it’s one of the more challenging cooperative games I’ve played! The components are a lot of fun, with miniatures for each of the kids, ghosts, and hauntings, and you can even slip the treasure rubies right into the kids’ backpacks as you deliver them outside the manor. A highly recommended challenge that demands teamwork and planning.

Kingdomino

family-friendly board games

Age: 8+
Players: 2-4

The most recently released game on this list is a clever take on dominoes. Instead of numbered pips, these dominoes feature glossy art of medieval countryside. The basic gameplay is similiar; draw dominoes and match the correct pieces. The challenge comes in drafting the right pieces and maximizing your score; match the same zone (swamp, pasture, etc) and your score will multiply by the number of spaces.

Younger kids will need help with the end game scoring, but can still play and enjoy the challenge of building out your own little grid map of domino pieces. It’s also cheap, compact, and plays very quickly.

Labyrinth

family-friendly board games

Age: 7+
Players: 2-4

You won’t find David Bowie and a bunch of goblin puppets here, but you will find a very clever tile-pushing, treasure-hunting adventure. The board is built using a series of tiles with different pathing. Each turn a player slides an entire row in one direction, shifting the maze as you try to gather the treasures indicated on your cards.

It’s a simple concept that can be quite perplexing for kids – in a good way. They have to plan ahead and use trial and error to succeed. Don’t be worried about the age recommendation; this is one of my five year old’s favorite games. Feel free to play around with the number of card treasures that are dealt to each player to control exactly how long you want the game to last.

The Magic Labyrinth

family-friendly board games

Age: 6+
Players: 2-4

The Magic Labyrinth features one of the neatest concepts I’ve seen in a kids game. Using magnets, the player pieces move around what looks like an empty grid. But below them are a series of walls (constructed before you play). The magnetized ball below your piece can hit these walls, stopping your movement and forcing you back to the beginning, an invisible maze!

Like the above Labyrinth the goal is to collect treasures around the board, but this one’s even easier to play with more hilarious results. As you hit walls and find the correct paths, memory becomes the most important skill. The initial set up takes a bit of time, but after that you could get away with using the same, or slightly altered invisible maze for subsequent games.

Pengolo

family-friendly board games

Age: 4+
Players: 2-4

Pengolo is a memory game that uses dice and wooden pieces rather than cards. Every turn players roll the dice to determine which colors they’re looking for, then select from the adorable wooden penguin figures to reveal the hidden eggs underneath.

It plays like a cute carnival game as you reveal the eggs, memorize the colors and build your collection. First to six eggs wins. You can also play with a much more aggressive, challenging variation with older kids, and steal from each other’s collections.

Protect the Pride Lands

family-friendly board games

Age: 4+
Players: 2-4

Usually licensed games are the bottom of the barrel, typically slapping big kid franchises on older, classic games. Protect the Pride Lands may use the Lion Guard license but it’s an all-new cooperative game, and surprisingly fantastic.

Players control both the Lion Guard and the enemy animals (hyenas, snakes, vultures), drawing cards each turn to move enemies and allies into position. The enemies try to reach Pride Rock, while the Lion Guard has to move to intercept them. You win if you can get Kion onto the last space of Pride Rock, but lose if any villain makes it there first. It’s a compelling game that utilizes time management and strategic deployment of your units, and features nice miniatures of the Lion Guard characters.

Robot Turtles

family-friendly board games

Age: 4+
Players: 2-4

Famously popular for a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, Robot Turtles is designed to teach kids how to program and code using cards. The game is highly malleable and adjustable, letting you decide where to start the players’ turtles, their ruby treasure, and the various obstacles that you can choose to use.

Each turn players decide which cards they need to use in order to move their turtle, including straight, turning, or firing a laser to melt ice blocks. The goal is to eventually work your way up to using the special programming cards, encouraging kids to use one card to represent several moves – programming their turtle’s actions with a single command. Even if you don’t think your kids have much interest in computer programming, these are still great skills to hone, and giving them complete control over their turtles is a fun variation over so many roll and move games.

Ticket to Ride

family-friendly board games

Age: 8+
Players: 2-4

Yes there’s a smaller, easier Ticket to Ride kids version available (Ticket to Ride: First Journey), but frankly the original game is completely kid-friendly. The North American map is a fantastic way to teach US geography and locations, and the gameplay is as simple as drawing cards, matching colors, and placing down those fun little train pieces.

Players need to plan out their routes from the Destination Tickets they’ve drawn. With younger kids you’ll probably want to play with open hands and give frequent reminders about which cards and colors everyone needs. You’ll probably want to hold off on playing aggressively and blocking others’ routes until you’ve officially drawn them into one of the best family games of the last decade and a half.

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How Ticket to Ride Made My Wii Obsolete: Reflections on Family Game Night

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This article originally appeared on EngagedFamilyGaming.com, a website dedicated to providing families with the information they need to make informed gaming decisions. We’re happy to be regularly crossposting articles from Engaged Family Gaming. In this post, Ben Foster explains the virtues of games unplugged.

Have you ever walked into a living room with no television in it? It’s a little weird, right? I mean, statistically speaking the average American household has more television sets than people living there (according to a 2010 Nielsen report). It’s kind of a crazy statistic, but not one that surprises me. Read More