Exploration and discovery and travel have been key elements of human history since the dawn of time. That drive for discovery permeates creative endeavors all the time. Books, television, movies, paintings and even games love to embrace the travel. That’s accomplished differently in each medium, which begs the question: how do you condense all of that into a particular product? TrikyTrail believes that the answer can simply rest in a deck of cards.
TrikyTrail Travel Card Games isn’t only a single card game, but rather it attempts to be the Swiss Army Knife of geographical themed gaming. The core of the game itself plays a little like Uno. There are suites and numbers. On your turn you must play a card from your hand that matches either the number or suite of the previously played card. Each card will have geographical information printed on it, and players are required to read either the name of the country or the capital city as they play the card or they face a penalty. Much like Uno, there are also wild cards that have varying effects on other players; there’s even a “Guardian Angel” card to protect you from potential attacks.
Now, I mentioned that it was a little like a Swiss Army Knife. I was given the “Africa” deck, one of the many themed decks available to purchase. This deck contained well over 200 cards, of which had trivia, countries, vocabulary words and factoids about specific locations. All of this plays directly into the theme of travel. However, also printed on these cards are two complete decks of playing cards and a Neapolitan card game (of which I haven’t the slightest idea how to play). So, with this deck that was sent to me, I am able to play TrikyTrails, as well as a vast number of standard card games and even more if I take the time to learn it. If that weren’t enough, part of the Kickstarter campaign is the introduction of an AR app that will allow you to use your phone to see the objects on the cards come to life. It’s ambitious, to say the least.
The term that comes to mind with TrikyTrail is “Jack of all trades, master of none”. It’s a game that’s simple, but incredibly bloated with everything it tries to do. The core game itself is familiar and has a nice visual appeal to it. Then there’s the additional decks of cards making this a seemingly ideal travel game as you can pack a number of games in the same box, even on the same components. But with the deck size being over 200 cards for the one I was sent, it’s a little unwieldy. If this is going to shine anywhere it’s in the educational value. I was homeschooled and as such loved the “games” we could play for school that stealthily crammed in educational aspects. That’s what this is. Under the guise of a card game that allows you to travel around the world, you learn countries, phrases and factoids about far off lands. I need to point out the biggest miss on the educational front, however, and that’s the lack of a map on the cards. Sure, you only have so much space, but it seems an oversight that you learn a country but have no idea where it’s actually located on a particular continent. Once the AR gets up and running I can see this being an incredible engagement tool for younger kids as well. It adds nothing to the game, but it is eye catching and fun. Also, each card has a QR code leading to a link with more information on the specific country.
As a game, separated from any educational merit, TrikyTrail is lacking. It’s essentially one of a million card games of its type, and despite having some neat art and ideas behind it, there’s really not much more to it than play a card or draw a card. Even the abilities with the wild cards can get a bit dry. There’s a little trivia on some of the cards, but the more you play through the deck the easier it is to pass those (again, marks for education, but not necessarily game-play). It isn’t that I have a ton of bad things to say about this game, it’s that there isn’t much to say period. Take a look at the game and you know exactly what you’re getting: an overly bloated deck of cards with a mediocre game but some cool geographical flash cards. It’s fabulous school item, but that’s really about it.