Preview: Build Winding Biking, Hiking, and Kayaking Paths in Trailblazers | Casual Game Revolution

Preview: Build Winding Biking, Hiking, and Kayaking Paths in Trailblazers

In Ryan Courtney’s latest network-building game, 1-8 players will construct various paths for travel through the great outdoors.


Each player will begin with three full-sized cards that represent the trailheads or camps for biking, hiking, and kayaking paths. The object of the game is to build winding paths that start and end at each of these cards that match the color of each card (red for biking, blue for kayaking, and brown for hiking). 

Players will choose which of the trailhead camp cards to place to start the game, and then play begins when each player draws 8 of the trail cards, drafts two, and passes them to the next player to draft (direction depends on player counts). This repeats until players have drafted and played six cards. Then, players will place another camp, repeat the drafting and placement phases, place the final camp, repeat the drafting and placement phase, and then the final round will play out with the same drafting and placement actions but without placement of a fourth camp (because it doesn’t exist!). 

How players lay trail cards has plenty of options. Players are trying to create loops across all three trailhead camps, matching path colors as best as possible to create loops that lead back to camps of the same color. To do this, players can place tiles next to each other or even overlap cards to build paths. The only restriction is that cards must be placed orthogonally and not diagonally. 

Players will also have two in-game and two end-of-game bonus objectives that will help shape how they create their snaking trails. The in-game bonuses have descending points, so the first player to achieve it will get the highest points, with anyone after receiving fewer points. 

After all trail cards have been played, players will count up the number of features in the straights and curves of the completed loops, scoring a point for each (usually each straight and curved path will have a feature). Players will also add any of the bonuses they completed. The player with the most points wins!

Trailblazers components


Trailblazers is such a quick, accessible game. But designer Ryan Courtney has long evolved this spatial puzzle from Pipeline, Curious Cargo, and now Trailblazers to equally challenge even the best spatial puzzler. The trail cards usually have multiple paths from each or some of the path types, and it will be hard to keep multiple loops going without sacrificing something — be it the length of one or two other loops, or abandoning one of the trail types completely. 

The ability to overlap trails to build contiguous paths is fantastic, and the variety found in the 135 trail cards means players will likely never run out of different combinations and layouts through multiple plays. 

Trailblazers also comes with two expansions in the Standard and Deluxe editions (the Animals and Adventures expansions), and both feature robust solo gaming experiences that provide different challenges and scenarios for those who enjoy spatial puzzles of this nature. The game also boasts a Super Travel edition, which is for only 1-4 players and lacks the expansions and some of the challenging solo experiences, but does come with a cool carrying case and carabiner carrying case (the carrying case and carabiner are also included in the Deluxe edition). 

The quality of the prototype was fantastic, with the Super Travel and Deluxe editions of the game promising that the cards will have a PVC card upgrade, making them waterproof for those adventurers who wish to take the game to go on their own expeditions into the wide yonder. 

Trailblazers is currently on Kickstarter.