Toucan Trails Board – Review of a fun game that can’t do without a pencil

Toucan trails

1-8 players 15 minutes from 8 years Czech, without text

The “something & write” genre is a relatively young and rather specific segment of board games that use stationery to play. These are not legacy games, as there is no campaign, no development, only partial games, during which you create with the help of a pencil or pen. It can be a roll & write, ie a combination of dice and drawing, or flip & write as in the case of the Toucan Trails, where a deck of cards is added to the drawing.

The toucan trails are a very pleasant and very nimble game regardless of the number of players. Whether you play alone or in the full number of eight people, you should not significantly exceed the limit of 15 minutes. The box contains eight pencils, but if you get your own, you can play in virtually any number of players, and the only thing that will limit you except the size of the table and room is the number of enclosed game sheets (but normally lasts for dozens of games).

Toucans, toucans, good friends eat

From the tear-off block, you simply give each player an identical island plan to explore, deal pencils, shuffle a deck of cards, and lay out targets for extra points, which also serve as motivation to achieve something first. You will explain the rules in a minute and you can play!

The game content is so simple that even your grandmother will understand it. There are always two cards from the deck that show a picture of one of the biomes. Two cards = two biomes, which you have to connect anywhere on your own game board with a straight line nicely from center to center. In this way, you try to create a continuous path from the various monuments scattered across the landscape to the villages scattered around the perimeter of the island.

It is played on two or three spins of the whole package according to the chosen variant, you connect the connected attractions with the villages after each spin of the package, while the connected villages only at the end of the game. But whoever manages to create a connection between the villages first, he or she will take premium points from the bonus cards outlined a few paragraphs above. Done.

The toucan trails are really a very nimble game, which is completely based on chance in turning cards and creating pairs of biomes, but that’s exactly the most fun thing about it. When you’re trying to travel from one place to another and hope that the cards will finally load for you, you can hardly breathe in places.

Yes, chance can betray you, but it’s not that you lose the opportunity. You can always draw a new line and it is practically impossible to focus on just one goal. You will play several possible variants and you hope that in time you will reach at least some of them to the end.

Toucan trails

In fact, in spite of its coincidence, it is easy to achieve almost everything you want during the game, and how many times did it happen that I was the only one to blame for losing points, because I missed the perfect connection on a dense map full of hexagons. Haste does not pay off, but at the same time there is not much room for unloaded delays, so the game empties at an incredible pace, the map fills with lines, you unlock attractions and points just pile up.

No toucan nostalgia

The winner will be decided at the very end of the game, because even the last pair of cards drawn can save your ass and start an avalanche of victory points. Each symbol is on the map twice, and if you manage to connect the other with the village, you will get a free road drawing. This drawing makes it easier to complete the next path to the second symbol, giving you another bonus path, and so on. The seemingly futile situation suddenly turns into something exciting and puts you back in the game, if not right on the box of winners.

In the introduction, I easily mentioned the possible variants, which are really blessed in the game. By default, you play on a map of a smaller island with two attractions of each type, but on the other side of each sheet is a larger map with a different layout of squares and more attractions, which is not played on two but on three rounds, and is therefore slightly longer.

Toucan trails

At the same time, not all players play on exactly the same maps. Although the block of sheets contains completely identical islands, the players write down as part of the preparation where they have specific villages marked with the letters AE on their plan. It is possible to have completely identical maps, but by default each player has a village elsewhere, which eliminates the possibility of “copying” from the others.

You can also add other bonus tasks to the game that reward players for connecting the same attractions with each other, for which you normally have no reason. And then there’s the single player mode, where you try to beat a pre-prepared score. Well, it’s just a pile.

Thanks to the simplicity and agility of the Toucan Trails, you can easily and gladly place several games in a row, and the only thing that will bother you a little is the running out sheet of game plans. If you lubricate the game by one hundred and six, you will inevitably run out of it, which is not the end of the world. You have two options – from official website download and print additional sheets from the Czech distributor, or laminate the sheets and switch to erasable markers.

Toucan trails

Believe me, one or the other is really threatening you sooner or later, because the Toucan Trails are a great relaxing pastime that you can play with virtually anyone and you will reach for it like a nice filler between big games.

You explain the rules once and never again and no one forgets at the table, the game does not lack tension, as everyone is waiting for a specific pair of cards that do not and will not come and the drawing itself has its own unique charm.

There is always something under your hands, you can see it immediately, you have something to be proud of with a bit of exaggeration. This aspect is not as strong as in the Railroad Ink series, where your “talent” is much more evident, but it balances the knowledge that you can’t delete your creation after the game, it’s permanent, and if you don’t throw it away right away (or step on a trick with a laminator), will remain in your box forever, along with dozens of other described sheets, the best business card of the qualities of this game.


Source: Games by games.tiscali.cz.

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