The goal of the game is to earn as many points as possible by connecting cities with train cars. This is the U.S. map, as shown above. The game is very easy to learn and takes anywhere from about 30 - 60 minutes to play. It was very easy for my two kids to pick up after just a few minutes playing. Despite its ease of learning, there is quite a bit of strategy involved. Points are awarded for longest continuous train. Points are lost if you have destination ticket cards left in your hand at the end (when a player runs out of trains). In addition, blocking other players from completing their tracks can go a long way in helping you earn the most points. You really have to spend time thinking through each move and thinking ahead several moves if you hope to succeed and win.
My kids love this game, as do I. I won the first couple of times we played. One evening we held a family game night and my wife joined us. With four of us playing, my wife finished 4th and I finished 3rd. Our two kids beat both of us!!! LOL! After the kids went to bed my wife and I played a couple of games together to get more practice! :-)
If you're looking for a great gift idea that challenges your kids (adults too!), you can't go wrong with Ticket to Ride!