Trails is new board game from Keymaster Games. Keymaster Games also makes Parks, which is a game we reviewed a couple of years, and a game we love here at Pojo. Trails has a similar look and feel as Parks, but is considerably easier to teach and play. Parks is for 1-5 players, and takes about 40-70 minutes to play. Trails is for 2-4 players, and the box says it takes about 20-40 minutes play.
What’s in the Box?
The box is a small, travel-sized box. The box is only 4.5″ x 6.5″ x 1.75″. But there is a lot of game packed in this small box:
- 32 Photo Cards (2″ x 3″)
- 42 Badge Cards (2″ x 3″)
- 1 Sun Token (wood)
- 4 Hikers (wood)
- 1 Wildlife Bear (wood)
- 1 Bear Die (wood)
- 4 Canteens (cardboard)
- 7 Trail Cards (cardboard)
- 45 resource cubes (wood)
- 1 Bird Trophy (cardboard)
From the manufacturer: “In TRAILS, players hike back and forth along the Trail, gathering resources, taking pictures, and encountering wildlife to gain bonuses. At the Trailhead and Trail End, players can turn in resources to earn Badges and begin their journey back in the other direction.
As each player visits the Trail End, the Sun sets over the Trail, and as night falls, Trail sites grant more powerful actions. When the Sun leaves the Trail, the last round will occur and the player with the most points from collected badges, photos taken, and bird sightings wins the game!”
How does the game play?
All players start on either the Trailhead or the Trail end. On your turn, you move your hiker 1 or 2 spots down the trail. If you stop on a resource card, you collect the resources on that card (acorns, leaves, or rocks). There are also cards that allow you to trade resources, and cards that allow you to take scenic photographs. When you reach the end of either side of the trail, you can buy badge cards with your resources. You also cause the sun to set a little bit by moving it towards the trail head. (After badges are bought by a hiker, new badges will replace the purchased badges … if there are any left).
The wildcard in the game is the Wildlife Bear token. Instead of the running from the bear, you are trying to move to the tile where the bear is hanging out. You get to take the resource action of that card, and roll the wildlife die. The bear then moves to that trail card, and you also get the resources of the card where the bear movies to. It’s a great bonus hikers will battle for.
And when you reach the trailhead or the trail end, you flip your hiker around, and start hiking back down the other way.
Canteens allow players to move more than 2 tiles. You will consume your canteen by flipping it over. You can refill your canteen every time you reach the trailhead. Usually, hikers will use their canteens to reach the bear first, or reach the end of the trail to buy badges before other gamers get them.
The game continues with players: crossing back and forth; up and down the trail; collecting resources; taking photos; and buying badges until the sun ultimately sets, and the game ends. The person with the most points wins.
Likes, Dislikes and Final Thoughts
Trails is a very easy game to learn and teach. The rulebook is 16 pages long, in full color and describes the game very well. You can learn the game easily from the rulebook, but there are also great tutorials on YouTube.
Each player’s turn is fairly quick as there are not a multitude of possible moves to consider. The game plays in 30 minutes or less for 2 players who have gotten past the learning game stage.
This is a good family game. It plays up to 4 players, and there is very little griefing going on. You are really only looking out for yourself, and not trying to screw over other players (too much).
The artwork is very pleasing, with the cards coming from the Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series, a collection created by a mix of very talented artists.
The hikers, sun and bear token and are well-made stained wood pieces.
The National Park Service gets a donation with each game purchased, according to the back of the box.
I don’t think there are enough Badge cards, Photo cards, and resource cubes in the Trails box for 4 players. We have run out of these Badge cards near the endings of 4 player games. The 32 photo cards disappear too quickly. Photos are essentially free points, and everyone seems to stop on the photo tile going up and down the trail. And we have run out of acorn/rock/leaf cubes while playing.
The resource cubes are kind of boring. The cubes do not look anything like acorns, leaves, or rocks. I bet someone on Etsy will have optional upgrade components for you soon. 😉
Our 4 player games take longer than 40 minutes. For us, the games take longer than the box indicates. I’d say 30 minutes for a 2 player game, and 60 minutes for a 4 player game.
I think Trails is a great game for 2-3 players. And I feel it is a great game for families of 4. If you are parents with 1-2 kids, then I feel like this is great game to add to your gaming library.
The game has an MSRP of $19.99 and you can find it at your local Target store. I think the price is fantastic for the quality of the game and the components.
This game feels prime for a small Kickstarter expansion. The game could use more badge cards, more photography cards. And maybe more wildlife, maybe more trail cards, more resource cubes, etc.
Parks versus Trails
I know that some people are wondering where we stand on the original Parks Game versus this new Trails Game. Well, we like Parks a whole lot more for 3-5 “experienced” gamers. Parks requires much more strategy, and we have never run out of resources.
However, I think Trails is fantastic for couples! Especially couples that are travelling. It is very easy to pack this game in a Travel bag as something to do when you get back to your hotel on vacation. It is not too much of a table hog, and most likely won’t cause too much grief with your significant other. 😉