Trekking the world from Underdog games is, like Parks, a big hit with my family. Simple rules and wonderful art lead to a game that is quick to play and easy to understand so has been a regular at the table over the last few weeks.
Sequel to Trekking the National Parks which, being a Brit, I was not aware of until I bought Parks and it started popping up in my suggestions.
Trekking the World is a fairly light game that is great for family game night. We play with four players most nights but I have played with two, three and five players several times and found the game runs quite well at all player counts although it can become a little chaotic with four and five players.
Trekking the World
The idea of the game is that you will be Trekking around the world collecting sets of souvenirs, visiting famous and gaining Victory points for doing so, traversing to all the continents and flying between locations.
To begin the game you will place some coloured cubes, called souvenier cubes in a provided bag depending on the number of players. These are drawn at random and placed on the locations on the board. Some locations have a +3 and some a +4 symbol depending on the number of players.
After this, you place four of the location cards onto the board and place the deck next to it and a VP tray above the final two cards with a pool of 3VP and 5VP tokens.
Then you take a yellow and red journey card of your choice and place them onto their location on the board.
Take the travel card deck, put the top four cards faceup next to the board and the remainder of the deck face down next to them.
You then assign each player a meeple, a coloured suitcase to match their meeple and three travel cards, place the four souvenir cards next to the board, shuffle and place area bonus cards on the table and you are ready to begin.
Starting at an airport each player in turn will use their first action to move. To do this they play any number of Trek Cards. These are cards coloured Green, Blue, Yellow or Red and have a symbol in the centre and are numbered 1-3 on their corners.
Using the trek cards you move around the board collecting the souvenir cubes and placing those on your suitcase. Collect two of one colour and if you have more of that colour than any other player you can take the Souvenir card.
The board is separated into regions of which there are six, and if you take the final cube from a specific region you can collect the region bonus.
The number in the corner of the Trek card, in a white box, denotes the number of locations they will move through to their final destination which is the total value of the cards they play. You must take a move action every turn unless you have no trek cards in hand, at this point you have to take the first of the possible second actions which are to draw two trek cards.
The symbols on each card which could be a Mountain on green cards, Water on blue, Hiker on yellow or a Camera on red, is used to perform the next possible action they could take.
Firstly you need to be at the location of the card, you can then take a tour which means you pay the stated cost and buy that location card.
These are cards of famous locations around the world such as Petra, The Great Pyramids or Ularu.
There is not a card for Stone Henge or The Giants Causeway, pointedly, there is no stopping on the UK or Ireland at all which was a shame to see.
These famous locations cards, I mean this country is old, the stuff we have here predates the Pyramids so why Stonehenge or Hadrians Wall or any amazing location is not included is beyond me, anyway, these cards award you Victory Points and potentially an additional 5 or 3 VP if you purchase either of the two cards at the end of the row of four, Skara Brae, Sutton Hoo, Tintagel Castle, The Roman Baths, Callanish Stones, Avebury, The Giants Ring, Dunkery Beacon, need I go on, there are a lot of places around here and they are not included.
Then when either five of the six region bonuses have been collected or a player has toured 5 locations, that is to say, they have purchased 5 location cards the game ends immediately and scoring takes place, the person with the most victory points is the winner.
Strategically light but with enough depth to be interesting Trekking the World has become a family favourite. My 8-year-old and 10 year old certainly find the game a little challenging as at times you need to adjust your plans on the fly.
For my wife and me, the pacing of Trekking the World is just about right for a game with the children but I think we would prefer a heavier game with a little more depth and challenge for us to want to play alone.
The board is colourful and the game overall is tactile with extremely good quality components. I love a good organiser and, like Parks, the game comes with a built-in organiser that is just about perfect.
The experience is great as a family title and plays well with four players but as previously stated can be a bit too frustrating with five as your plans are constantly having to change meaning you are never able to finish a plan. This does happen with four but feels like it happens a lot more with five.
Using cards to move, to buy locations and to take journeys means that you will be forced to manage the cards in your hand if you want to be able to make your way to where you want to be, trying to count cards to a route and have a player block that route by moving to a location on the way is frustrating but house ruling a “move through other players” adjustment makes Trekking the World far too easy.
When you play a Trek card to move you must use every point of movement so when you play with children who are counting their moves and trying to work out where they could go you do lose a greater element of strategy as when playing with adults the game becomes a little more competitive, blocking a players path and acting like you haven’t done it on purpose type of competitive or collecting a souvenir cube you don’t want or need just to stop someone else getting a set, that kind of competitive.
A big frustration for me, in a lot of games, is when a mat that you use to record a score on by placing cubes on it is flat. As soon as someone knocks on the table your cubes are flung around the mat or onto the table. Watching everyone replace their cubes for the 10th time during a game is irritating and using a dual-layer piece of card would surely not be that much more expensive to produce. I will start looking for a player dashboard on Thingiverse or Etsy but it would be nice if it was in the box.
Trekking the World is, in my opinion, a fantastic gateway game. Not too strategic but with a lot of tactical planning and hand management means that there is a lot to work out while playing without being too strenuous for the old grey matter.
Fast turns and a lot going on mean there is little downtime and visually the game is a treat for the eyes.
Information on the Journey Cards is informative and if you can get them to listen, reasonably educational but don’t buy this game thinking your children will fall in love with geography. The gameplay is the star and I have found that my children are just not interested in anywhere I have not visited.
Trekking the World is a good game. It’s not a great game and it wouldn’t work too well for an adults-only gaming group however, there is certainly enough here to keep a family going for many years to come.
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