Trekking the World Review
I grew up a few hours away from the Canadian Rockies and Banff National Park. We’d visit in the summer and…wait, haven’t I written that before? *checks notes* Uh, sorry about that. As it turns out, that was from my previous Trekking review—Trekking the National Parks. This review is for Trekking the World. But, before we begin, I will say that, in my Trekking the National Parks review, I was saddened by the lack of Banff National Park. True, it’s not an American park so why would it be included, but that’s beside the point. In Trekking the World, however, Banff National Park is part of the journey! I was extremely happy to see it included, because Banff is my happy place.
If you don’t have a happy place—a place that calms you with its beauty and grandeur—you can find one here. There are so many amazing places in the world, and Trekking the World not only lets you travel to those places (not physically, obviously, or else the game would cost a heap more money), but has a lot of info about the locations on each card. Whether you’re looking for a fun game of travelling (because, at the time of this writing, COVID-19 has made it practically impossible to go anywhere fun…) or an educational game to teach your younglings about the wonders of the world, Trekking the World is where it’s at.
In Trekking the World, players compete to be the best world traveler by savvy use of set collection and hand management. Trade in cards for a tour at your location, collect souvenir sets for more points, and race to get tours of “must see” locations before the other travelers. Because FOMO.
If you’ve already played Trekking the National Parks (and if not, why not?), you’ll already know what to mostly expect. However, there are a few new things integrated to make gameplay and scoring a bit more competitive, which I enjoy.
If you haven’t played Trekking the National Parks, then be prepared for one heck of a trip! And by trip I obviously mean experience. The gameplay is smooth, n00b friendly, and engaging for all types of players. I was very impressed with my first play and really enjoyed the new scoring options and actions available.
The first game we played saw me lose, as they say, by a landslide—I came in fifth, and fourth place scored 11 points more than me. But, I did manage to get the Banff card. Sure, that was the only card I had collected, but like I told everyone else, “But I got Banff!”
And that, folks, is what winning really looks like.
On your turn, the first thing you have to do is move. After all, you won’t get very far if you don’t put one foot in front of the other (and soon you’ll be walking out the door). Unlike Trekking the National Parks, this time you must play at least one card to move. So no more camping on your desired location until you get all the cards you need for it. You move by playing one (or more) of your Trek cards and move as many spaces as the sum of the value on the cards. No using the same connection/path twice, no going through other trekkers (because COVID, probably), and no ending your turn on another trekker’s spot.
There are also airport spaces—one on each continent (except Antarctica, because the only thing to see there are penguins and the Mountains of Madness)—and you can use them to fly to any other unoccupied airport space. To do so, you must start your turn on an airport space. Then, before you take your move action, you may take off and move your trekker to another airport space. Then you can take your movement. This is a great way to get from the Land Down Under to the rains down in Africa without blowing all of your Trek cards.
Once you’ve moved, you have decisions. You may:
- Take two Trek cards (face up or facedown from the top of the deck)
- Take a tour (trade in matching Trek cards for the location card that matches the spot you’re currently on)
- Use a Journey card (activate a Journey card by discarding two Trek cards of the same color)
The actions are pretty basic, but you need to know when to use a Journey or draw cards, where to end your turn so you can set yourself up for future turns, and reading your opponents (or at least trying to) and getting to their goals the turn before they do. (No, I’m not bitter. Why do you ask?)
Souvenirs (the wooden cubes on each location space on the board) can get you a nice wad of points as well. If you have the most of a color, you get the corresponding tile/card. Of course, anyone can steal it from you if they surpass you on that type of souvenir. While those bonus points are nice, the real juice comes from collecting sets of souvenirs. If you have one of each type (yellow, blue, red, and white), you get five points at the end of the game. Two sets (i.e. two of each color) gets you ten points at game’s end. The more sets you get, the greater your bounty. It can pay off big time, but if you’re not careful, you’ll spend too much time hunting souvenirs and not enough taking tours, which is where you can score the main amount of your points. Find balance, young Padawan, and you will find victory.
Another new way to score points in Trekking the World (as opposed to its predecessor) is through the region bonuses. If you get the last souvenir from a region, you get the hidden bonus associated with that region. The point values of these tokens vary from 2-6 points. Nothing crazy, but it could certainly be the difference between winning and losing.
Thoughts on Gameplay
It’s great. Easy to set up, easy to play, and a good deal of thought and strategy. Trekking the National Parks is a “good game” (as quoted by me in my review of said game), but I think I like Trekking the World even more. The mechanics are smooth and not too simple to make it childish, yet they are still easy to follow while providing meaningful choices. The various ways to score points creates multiple strategies and makes for some fun decisions. Plus, I enjoy learning about all the wonders and amazing places throughout the world. What better way to learn than by playing?
Touring the world is something I would love to do, and while pandemics and money (and kids) make travelling difficult, world travel through board games can still be a lot of fun. Sure, you’re still stuck at home (and there’s nothing exotic about that), but we love simulating things we enjoy. After all, isn’t that what games are all about? And movies and television and books? If you want to go places, Trekking the World is your ticket to freedom.
I want all of the artwork from this game framed and hanging all over my house. Seriously, I love the art in this game. The depictions of the 48 locations are stunning. While I love real photos of real places, there’s something special about quality art depicting those same places. I’ve been to the place depicted on the Banff card, and I can tell you right now that it is spot on.
I never thought a board game could make me homesick, but dadgummit, Trekking the World has done just that. Thanks a lot.
These are the things that make the game so awesome (for me, anyway):
- Multiple ways of scoring
- Beautiful artwork
- Educational (each location card has an educational passage on the back)
Things to Consider
While Trekking the World feels meatier than its predecessor, it is still a fairly “light” game. Is that a bad thing? Heck no! It’s actually perfect for what the game is. But if meat is your jam (gross), that’s something to consider.
Welp, if Underdog Games were smart, they’d build a travel agency and use this game to advertise. Because dang, it makes me want to get out there and see the world! And while the famed rice terraces of the Philippines aren’t represented (kawawa naman), countless others (48 to be exact) are here in all their glory.
Trekking the World is solid. It’s fun. It’s beautiful. And it’s educational. There’s a lot to love about the game, and while it may not burn your brain strategically, it will certainly stoke your desire to experience the world. And who knows? Before the game’s through, maybe you’ll learn something new about the world in which you live.
How many locations from this game have you visited? Or where would you like to go? Comment below!
About the Author
Benjamin hails from Canada but now lives in Kentucky with his wife and kids. He’s a certified copyeditor through UC San Diego’s Copyediting Extension program. He’s a freelance writer and editor, covering everything from board game rule books to novels. An avid writer of science fiction and fantasy, it comes as no surprise that his favorite board games are those with rich, engaging themes. When he’s not writing or playing games, Benjamin loves to play ultimate Frisbee, watch and play rugby, and read the most epic fantasy books available. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminKocher and Instagram @Benjamin_Kocher. You can also read his board game inspired fiction (among other things) at BoardGameImmersion.com.