Alfie Dix, 18, reviews board games that he plays with the family and subsequently with groups of friends. Here’s his review of Trails of Tucana.
Welcome Adventurer, to Tucana! An island unlike any other. Undiscovered animals and relics of a past civilisation lay in wait. You goal is to connect the villages on the coasts to the undiscovered core and show them the wondrous sights by planning their expedition. To do this, each turn two cards will be revealed, each containing a different terrain, and you must draw a single route between hexes of these terrain types. You continue to do this until you’ve cycled through the deck twice.
Connecting attractions to villages gets you points. Establishing routes to more of the same type of attraction will get you a wild route, plus extra points, so some specialisation is key. Remember to also look out for higher value attractions, these will be more difficult to reach, but the extra points will be worth it. After the first round of the deck there is an intermediary scoring round and then another round of play. The person with the most points will end up victorious!
‘Roll and write’ style games are worth looking out for. Their inherent nature of simultaneous play and randomness means all players are constantly involved and replayability is never a problem. Trails of Tucana is no different. It even has the added bonus of additional larger player boards for the more experienced gamer.
The setup is always slightly different too. There’s a set of cards dedicated to labelling your seaside villages. You may only collect points from villages if you can match them up with their matching counterpart. As everyone’s arrangement is slightly different there will also be no cases of simply copying your opponent’s moves, a common frustration in these types of games.
The art feels rather simple. I understand it is necessary to keep each terrain type highly distinguishable and unfussy, but I’d prefer more elaborate art on the cards, where there’s much more space. That being said, the production quality is top notch and comes in a lovely compact box. Another added bonus is that as there is no dice rolling, it is also suitable for plane and train rides.
While the original board may become a little dull after many plays, the larger board on the reverse of each page (which you cycle through the deck three times to play), is much more. The decision-making becomes more strategic because you know the makeup of the deck. With some cards appearing more frequently than others, you can begin to plan in advance. This gives way to a multitude of extra decision points that may warp one’s overall strategy.
To conclude, while it may seem unassuming it is a solid game, capable of evoking difficult decisions while still being enjoyable for the whole family. Not only is it a suitable travel game but like many roll and writes, it also comes with a beautifully low price-tag of £20. Of course, you may worry that you’ll run out of sheets, however this is quickly solved by laminating a couple and simply using dry erase pens. So, what are you waiting for? The villagers await your guidance, Adventurer!