If you love games and you love to travel, check out Trip Chaser

If there’s a Venn diagram for people who love to travel and people who love board games, you’ll find me sitting right in the middle of where those interests intersect and if you’re the same then you’ll want to take a look at Trip Chaser, a made-in-Canada card game that its inventors say is just like real travel but without the suitcase, spending or stress.

The game originated during the pandemic when, like a lot of people, Dalene and Pete Heck, found themselves with a lot of time on their hands. They figured it was the perfect time to revive an idea that they had held onto for years which was to invent a card game related to travel.

The Hecks certainly had a lot of real-world experience to draw inspiration from as the couple had chronicled their travel adventures as digital nomads on their blog Hecktic Travels for eight years.

Originally from Alberta, they bought a one-way ticket to South America in 2009 for what they thought would be a one-year backpacking journey. That turned into an eight-year odyssey that had them spending time in 60 countries. They were even named National Geographic Travellers of the Year in 2014.

Unfortunately, their travels were cut short when Dalene was diagnosed with leukemia. They came home to Canada in 2016 and she has since been cured, but the pandemic kept them grounded and that’s when they began to work on Trip Chaser. 

I received a review copy of the game and tested it out with my board gaming group which has been playing games on a monthly basis for the past 19 years. We’re such die-hards, that even during the depths of the pandemic, we were meeting virtually to play games online with Tabletop Simulator.

Trip Chaser comes in a small box that has three sets of cards: destinations, events and money. The general idea is to collect pairs or triples of destination cards, pay the money to take a trip, draw an event card to see if it was successful or not and score points for the most trips. There are other rules, like buying trip insurance to avoid bad outcomes, haggling with other players to trade cards and working to meet the conditions to score bonus points at the end of the game. 

trip chaser game

Unlike a lot of games, this one comes in a tidy package which means there isn’t a lot of superfluous plastic and cardboard. There aren’t even printed instructions included. They are available online and there’s even an added video to help explain them. The decision to forgo a written rule book was by design so as to reduce the game’s environmental impact. The Hecks are proud to note that they’ll be planting one tree for for every game purchased via Ecodrive, powered by Veritree.

The game takes about an hour to play, is good for two to six players and is very family-friendly. The unanimous vote for Trip Chaser from my gaming group was a big thumbs up. We thought the artwork on the cards was fantastic and as enthusiastic travellers ourselves, we definitely enjoyed and identified with many of the wacky event cards that came up during our games. We also appreciated there being a trading mechanism as it’s something that keeps all players engaged during every turn.

It’s not a heavy game by any means and won’t be the centerpiece of your gaming night, but it’s a fun opener that will get your competitive juices flowing before you tackle something heavier. If there’s one criticism, I would have liked to have seen Canada featured as a destination, but maybe that will come with future expansions of the game.

The couple were selling copies of the game directly from their website for $45, but it’s already sold it . However, it is still available on Amazon.com.

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