Review: ‘Are We There Yet?’ (1994) Travel Card Game
On long car rides these days, kids and parents typically spend the duration of the road trip with their faces buried in their Kindles or digital games. But the journey can be just as memorable as the destination–or more so if you’re driving to a family reunion–if you turn the drive into a game.
Many card games have been published over the years to turn car rides into mobile scavenger hunts, such as Are We There Yet?. The basic premise of such games is to point out items you see from the car as you pass them on the road. Best of all, such games can accommodate any amount of time or players (excluding the driver, for safety reasons).
Are We There Yet? is a great way to get families laughing and interacting on vacation instead of being plagued with cabin fever.
Are We There Yet? Travel Card Game Review
Publisher: Are We There Yet? Inc. & Family Games, Inc.
Release: 1994, re-released multiple times since then
Box Dimensions: 10.5 x 10.5 x 2.25 inches
# of Players: 1 or more (however many you can fit in the car)
Ages: 7 or older
Category: Travel scavenger hunt card game
Play Time: Varies depending on preference
Looking for More Fun? Check out these great road trip games…for adults only!
How to Play
When you’re ready to begin Are We There Yet?, choose how long you’re going to play and designate one person to be the dealer. Everyone participating receives five randomly-drawn cards from the deck. These cards (and new cards drawn as the game progresses) are read aloud to everyone to help, tease, or keep other players accountable. Then, the scavenger hunt begins.
As players spot items described on their cards outside the vehicle (not inside it), they point it out to the group, receive a point, set that card aside, and are given a replacement card. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.
Special “shortcut” cards in the deck can be traded in with an unwanted card from your hand to receive two new replacement cards.
The instructions for Are We There Yet? include 10 different variations on the basic game by using the cards in different ways: first to get rid of all their cards, claiming other opponents’ cards, working as a team, bingo, and more.
Unboxing & Game Components Evaluation
Are We There Yet? includes:
- 450 “travel” cards
- 50 “shortcut” cards
- Rules paper
The cards are held in a long box where they can easily be drawn from without spilling out. The deep, slim box with slip-on top makes transporting and passing around Are We There Yet? easy in a moving vehicle–and much less likely to result in a game of 500 Pickup. You won’t have to take the whole stack of cards out this way.
The cards themselves are minimalist and functionally designed, with each card having a text-based description and clip art based on the category. The card designs are underwhelming and color scheme somewhat dated, but this simple appearance keeps the focus on the road rather than on the cards.
The small size of the cards allow you to hold many cards in your hand without feeling cluttered. They and the box do tend to warp over time, though.
If You Would Prefer Making Roadkill… Check out this morbidly hilarious card game
Review of Learning Experience
For as simple and familiar of an idea as Are We There Yet?, there are a lot of instructions to read beforehand. And the rules are text-only, so there’s no skimming. The directions are purposefully very thorough. You probably want to jump right into the game, but reading the directions first is a smart choice because it clears up many subjective decisions and confusion points you’ll probably run into during your game.
Review of Playing Experience
I’ve played Are We There Yet? multiple times before with different groups of people. For some, it’s a hit; for others, it’s a miss. The experience of any game of this type will largely depend on external factors like the route, traffic, or weather, so problems enjoying the game aren’t always its fault.
With that in mind, Are We There Yet? at its core is a strong iteration of this type of travel game. It optimizes as much as it can since you can never have truly ideal circumstances. That’s why the shortcut cards are so helpful and a much-appreciated component.
Plus, there are no shortage of cards, and many of them are easy to find. Many can be played on either residential or highway venues, though some are still predisposed to the vicinity (seeing things on the road vs. seen from the road). The large amount does mean some are not as strong as others, or are more subjective (e.g. what is considered “over-sized” or “difficult to pronounce”).
What I didn’t understand was what the categories were for. Apart from coming in to play in one of the 10 variant modes, they had no impact on the game and only felt like a reason to put a design component on the cards. That purely-aesthetic addition threw us when we were trying to figure out what importance they were.
Overall, Are We There Yet? is a fun travel card game if you take frequent car trips with your family. This 1994 edition could use some design refining but there have been multiple updates/revisions to the game over the years to polish off the rough edges.
The newest edition of Are We There Yet? is available for purchase through Amazon and FGA’s website.
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.