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  • Writer's picturecraig duncton

Trekking: The National Parks by Underdog games

‘Stretching from Acadia to American Samoa - from Kobuk Valley to the Virgin Islands, our country’s national parks represent a vast assortment of outdoor opportunities for all to enjoy!

Trekking the National Parks the board game is your chance to experience and explore these magnificent landscapes with your friends and family in a fun and spirited way. Collect stones, claim parks and earn points as you trek across the map visiting all of these National treasures!’

First off, we are a massive fan of Trekking the World. You can check out our view of that if you are interested on this website. Possibly, we played these in the wrong order but living in the UK, Trekking the World appealed to us more when we received both copies. In that review, we drew attention to the attention to detail that is given to the box and elements that make up the game! That was a mouthful - drew attention to the attention to detail! Trekking the National Parks does not disappoint in that regard either.

The first thing I love about this game is the story behind it which is provided in the lid of the game. A family adventure, turned into a game and that love and devotion to making this beautiful game shines through. It really is a labour of love and I think that’s the most beautiful thing that shines through in this game. Not only does it connect you with beautiful parks, available to visit and enjoy in real life but it connects with you the family who created it and were inspired to design this game.

Aesthetics: Set on a game board laid out as a map of the United States of America. All the national parks are demarcated on the board. The park cards are beautiful as are the major park cards. Having real pictures on these cards mean as well as playing a great game, you are learning about some fascinating places. It’s truly a nice touch!

Gameplay and components: To win this game, ‘you must prove yourself as the most experienced traveler by moving around the map and attempting to score the most Victory Points.’

Victory points can be gained in many ways: claiming park cards, occupying major parks, collecting stones and getting largest stone collections.

On your turn you can do two actions from the following: draw a trek card, claim a park card, move and occupy a major park. You can complete two different actions or two of the same actions.

Trek cards allow youto buy park cards or move across the map.

To claim park cards, you need to use your trek cards with the correct symbols to purchase them. These will then provide victory points for end games scoring. They also trigger the end game if one player gets 5 park cards.

Stones are one of the ways that the end game can be triggered too, when they have all been collected then everyone takes their last goes so everyone has had an even amount of turns. The only thing I would say about the stones are that they are bright colours and in order to tie in with the theming could have been more neutral. I understand that the stone bonuses indicate which colour stone you need to have but I still think these could have been more neutral colours, inspired by nature and that would be the only downside that I have about the game.

Occupying a major park, allows you to take bonus actions/abilities. You can only occupy one of these at a time but they are quite neat and allow you to gain some bonus abilities for as along as you hold that campsite. This is different than in Trekking the World but it adds a little extra something to the game and can be lucrative if you get the right campsites at the right time.

Meeples are cute in this game as everyone gets their own little hiker meeple and the campsite meeples are also cool - after all, who doesn’t love a unique meeple! A big bear meeple as the first player starting token is also so cute! Yes I know I’m obsessed with meeples!

Overall thoughts: This is a super game with an amazing story behind it. Made with love that runs through the game and is a great way to explore America (for us Brits!) and make us thirsty for adventures of our own. This is a definite must have for the travellers in your life and/or anyone who appreciates a good quality game made by people who clearly love what they do!

Thank you so much to Underdog games for sending me this copy of the game for review.

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