Game of the Month: Parks (May 2022)

The weather is getting warmer so people are going outside and exploring the great outdoors. Why do that when I can sit inside with nice AC and play a game ABOUT exploring all the different national parks in one afternoon? Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Let’s take a hike…

Parks is all about going on a nice hike and seeing all the different locations, taking pictures, and having a nice time at leisure, unless you have a speedy friend. It plays 1-5 players and is very reminiscent of Tokaido, a game about having an awesome vacation in Japan.

You have two hikers and you move one of them as far down the trail as you like to pick up resources/do something nature-y. Then the next player moves one of their hikers to any location that no one is at and do what that tile does. You can jump all the way to the end immediately get a resource you really need but you will miss out on everything else along the way and might not have as good of a trip/get lots of points by visiting parks.

You can’t move your hiker to another hiker’s spot unless you use a campfire, sort of like you are not trying to disturb their nature experience unless you brought s’mores. If you find a scenic spot, you can take photos for points. Different weather patterns each season affect your trip in immediate and/or later ways. They really did capture the idea of going on a hike quite well minus the blisters, finding a bathroom, needing food, getting lost, poison ivy, and traveling to a park itself.

I like how the game is modular depending on what season you are playing (you play four) and how many players. You add onto the path every new season and give them a shuffle to hike a new trail. Just like in nature, you are on another path with more trees and rocks you have seen before but the path is different and in a new order.

If you don’t know me, then you should know that I am a sucker for a good insert. Not only does this have a good insert, it has thematically, log-shaped GameTrayz to hold all the fun resources/components. If I had to complain about the insert is that it doesn’t have room for the expansion, not that it needs an expansion. It is a joy to put away and pull out cause how well sorted it all is.

Parks also has a decent solo game which has park rangers hurrying you along and getting in the way…I didn’t know park rangers were so bad? But it feels well thought out and not one that just arbitrarily takes stuff away or gives the AI a bunch of points just because.

I highly recommend checking out this lovely game that is actually hitting park locations as well as games stores and Le Target. Don’t be confused with the other game by the same company Trails. That is loosely the same concept but in a smaller package with different and somewhat more simplified rules.

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