Parks and Recreation

A late daily update, because last night was fortnightly games night. We’re well and truly back to in-person board games with COVID restrictions pretty much entirely lifted here now due to the zero level of transmission.

We played Devil Bunny Needs a Ham as a light starter while waiting for everyone to arrive. Then we moved into a game of Parks, a new game which the owner was very keen to play. This was followed by the next chapter of Legacy of Dragonholt, the choose-your-own-adventure-ish roleplaying style game we started a fortnight ago. And after that we ended with a few rounds of No Thanks.

Parks was really interesting and fun. The theme is visiting the various National Parks of the USA, and each one is represented by a card with absolutely gorgeous artwork. I am seriously tempted to buy this game just because of the art. As the owner explained the rules to the rest of us:

We each have two hikers. They move along this randomly configured track – each turn you can move one of them as many spaces as you like, but they have to land on an unoccupied space. Unless you use your campfire, in which case you can land on an occupied space, but your campfire goes out and can’t be used again. Each space gives you one or more resources of various types: suns, water, forests, mountains, or animals (he shows us the little wooden tokens representing the resources). Notice the animals tokens are all different animals (he shows us: there’s a moose, a bison, a mountain lion, a bear, etc. The tokens are very nice). The animals are wild. On some of the spaces you get the opportunity to spend your resources to buy equipment, which provides various benefits, and on other spaces you can spend your resources to buy one of the displayed National Park cards, which are worth points. And at the ending space of the movement track you can choose to either buy equipment, a park, or to go first in the next round. We play four rounds and add up our points.

Parks board game

There are a few other details and ways to score points which I’ve omitted for brevity, but they’re not important to understanding the flavour of the game. The important thing is that although you can move your hikers as far as you want, you actually want to move as slowly as possible in order to pick up as many resources as you can, balanced with desiring certain types of resources and wanting to get to that space before anyone else, so you don’t need to spend your one and only campfire. This mechanic is very similar to the movement mechanic used in Tokaido, which is a glorious game.

Parks board game

Anyway, we started playing, and collecting various resources, and buying the National Parks. Three parks are displayed for purchase and replenished as people buy them. We noticed they required various amounts of sunshine, water, forests, or mountains to buy, but after a few more parks were revealed, I said, “Hmm, none of the parks so far require animals.”

The owner said, “No, the animals are wild.”

I said, “Yeah, we know they’re wild, you told us… but why aren’t there any on the parks cards?”

He said, “They’re wild. You can use them as any resource.”

And everybody else around the table simultaneously went, “Oohhhhhh!!! You meant they’re wild!!”

Followed by a hubbub of hilarity in which we all said things like, “Yeah, we remember you told us they were wild and we just thought sure, they’re wild animals, obviously, duh…”

After we’d all stopped laughing for five minutes we resumed playing. It was great.

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