Wattsalpoag Games, the game studio behind “Echidna Shuffle”, “Last Call: The Bartender Game” and many others, has announced the Kickstarter. campaign for “River Trek,” their upcoming board game.
An interesting bit of trivia is that “Wattsalpoag” is actually an acronym for: With All This Talent Sitting Around Let’s Put Out A Game.
The game’s designer is Kris Gould, the owner of Wattsalpoag Games. He is known for designing such titles as “Echidna Shuffle,” “Last Call: The Bartender Game” and many, many more. The game has a dedicated Kickstarter page, which you can visit.
“River Trek is illustrated by Amanda Duarte (known for “Cupcake Empire” and “Legacy of Dragonholt”) who did an amazing job with the art of the game. The art is colorful, vibrant and fits right into the jungle aesthetic of the theme. The illustrations are warm and inviting – the game literally wants you to play it.
Deeper Gameplay Than Looks Suggest
What may surprise players, however, is that “River Trek” has a set of complex mechanics, which might take some time getting used to.
The game starts by setting up the river (board). The starting board has the dock and the mouth of the river. There are three middle boards, which are shuffled and randomly chosen each game. This mechanic ensures a different river every time you play. And finally, there is the final board with the source of the river.
Afterwards, people randomly choose four animals (from a set of twelve different animals) and put them on the board on every space after the river crossing. Finally, each player chooses a color.
And this is where the fun begins. The concept is fairly simple – all players want to move up the river. However, players need to set up trade posts (this happens at the start of each turn, on any of the white boxes on the board).
Then, players need to move caravans. A caravan is an explorer (or a stack of explorers). You can move any caravan on the board as long as you have at least one explorer in it.
To move a caravan, you pick it up and you drop the bottom explorer onto the next available space upstream. You then continue dropping explorers, one at a time, onto each space as you go. Every time you drop an explorer, it activates the space it lands on.
Fall Down the River and Fun May End
Be careful not to fall into the river, though, because if you do, you are back to the previous river crossing. If you land onto an animal, you then need to either apply (or hold onto) its effect. Each of the twelve animals has a different effect.
Players earn money and points based on the trading posts. If your explorer gets dropped on the trading post, you get paid.
The game ends on the last board piece. It has special reward tiles on each tile, which are unique. The game ends when at least one explorer falls off the game board onto the beach. Remaining players get to play one last turn to make as much money as they can, after which a winner is determined.
River Trek is set to release on June 2023.