I’ve hiked many trails in my life, but never one like the Trails of Tucana. As far as I know Tucana is a fictional location, which is good, because apparently it is full of sea dragons and yetis. I have no desire to hike a trail as dangerous as that one, The question is, is bushwhacking trails in Aporta Games’ Trails of Tucana a different story?
What is Trails of Tucana like?
Trails of Tucana is a flip and write game, similar to others like Welcome to… and Kokoro, in that you flip over cards and write something on your personal map. Obviously, though, the interesting part of the game comes in the choices you are making when writing on the map.
Trails of Tucana has you creating trails throughout either Isla Petit or its big brother, Isla Grande. Each turn consists of two cards being flipped over from a central deck. Each card has a terrain type: water, forest, mountain, desert or a wild. Whoever flips over the two cards announces the terrain types on the two cards and then all players draw a line connecting two orthogonally adjacent hexes of the respective types together. For instance, if a mountain and desert card are flipped then everyone may draw a line from a desert hex to an adjacent mountain hex.
The whole point of the game is to create “trails” connecting villages to different sights printed on their map. For each sight they connect to a village they receive points. The second, and third (on the Isla Grande side) give an increasing number of points as well as an extra length of trail anywhere you want. Additionally, each village has a letter with two villages sharing each letter. When you connect two villages of the same letter you score even more points!
The game lasts either two or three rounds depending on which side of the map you are playing. At the end of each round you score for the sights you have connected to villages. No matter what round you connected the sight to the village you always score those points. For example, if I connected one yeti in round one I get 3 points at the end of that round. Then at the end of round 2 I will score those 3 points again along with any others I scored that round. At the end of the game you also add in the points for connecting villages and any bonuses you may have earned.
I have played this game a ton and I really enjoy it. It isn’t a deep game, but the choices are surprisingly strategic. I’ve taught Trails of Tucana to new gamers as well as experienced players. It took one play before the new gamers fully understood the scoring, but they still enjoyed it enough to want to play immediately afterwards.
To be honest, when this game came out, it didn’t even register on my radar. I was offered this to review and since I like roll/flip and writes and I am happy I did. The reason I keep coming back to this game is because of the option to play high player counts as well as for new and experienced gamers as I mentioned. It also plays quickly once you know how to play it so it is a perfect first game of the night and odds are you’ll play it twice before you even know it.
As most gamers know, variability is a huge factor in whether a game will continue to be played. Aporta Games has absolutely kept that in mind with Trails of Tucana. Not only do they have two sides to each map allowing for 2 or 3-round games, but also there are extra bonuses that can be added to the game. Not only that, but each player starts with their villages having different letters. It is such a simple thing, but when the game starts a card is chosen that says which order the villages should be lettered. Each player then starts at a different village meaning every player has a slightly different map. That is a huge plus!
- Quick to learn and easy to play
- Plays well at all player counts
- Variability and non-standard starting set-up
- The scoring can be a little confusing for some
- Whenever the mountain (rock) and desert (sand) cards are flipped over together, The Police song might be sung
- Players: 1 – 8
- Playing time: 15 minutes
- Suggested age: 8+
A review copy of Trails of Tucana was supplied by Aporta Games.