Game Buzz: TRAILS

PARKS was a big success when it came out in 2019. Now there’s a new game in the series known as

image by BGG user jgrahammacht

TRAILS is a 2-4 player game designed by Henry Audubon and published by Keymaster Games. As suggested by the title, it’s a game where you’re walking down trails and enjoying nature, and trying to earn the most points by being best hiker.

There are five trail sites, which are shuffled and laid out in a line with their day side up. The Trailhead is to the left of the line, the Trail End is to the right, and resources are placed below their corresponding site. Two badges are drawn and placed at the Trail End, and another two at the Trailhead. Each player gets one of their own. Badges score you points, but you have to pay for them with resources. The Wildlife Bear goes on the middle tile, and each player puts their hikers at the Trailhead (except with four players, in which case two players will start at the Trail End).

image by BGG user jgrahammacht

On your turn, move 1-2 spaces along the trail. You’ll take the action of the space you land on – gain resources, exchange resources, or take a photo. At the Trailhead or End, you turn around and earn badges if you can, as well as refill your Canteen (at the Trailhead) or gain the sun bonus and move the sun to the left (at the Trail End).

So, a few things to explain there. If you take a photo, you can either draw to photo cards and keep one, or you can take the top card of the photo discard pile. These give points and birds. Your Canteen allows you to move more than the 1-2 spaces you’re allowed, but can’t be used again until refilled. Badges are earned by discarding resources. And the sun flips a site over to its night side as it moves away from that spot. It moves from the Trail End to the Head, and the bonus you gain depends on where the sun is (the action or a specific bonus the sun is pointing to).

There’s a Wildlife Bear that, if you land on the space where it is, you’ll move it and take the action from where it lands. This is accomplished through rolling a die.

When the sun has reached the leftmost spot on the track, the game is over after everyone else gets one more turn. The player who moved it there gets one free photo. Players reveal their photos, then count the birds on their photos and badges. The player with the most birds gets the Bird Trophy, worth four points. Then you tally up all your points to see who wins.

image by BGG user geekygaymerguy

I haven’t played PARKS. It seems like I would enjoy it, as I like the theme a lot. From what I know about it, this game looks a lot simpler. Not that PARKS seems hard, but this seems more streamlined and accessible to a wider audience. Which makes sense because it’s being released exclusively by Target before being available everywhere. I think it looks interesting, but maybe a little too simple for me. It is probably a really good game to help introduce people to modern games before moving them on to stuff like PARKS.

That’s it for today. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!

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