Navigating History is a strategic optimization challenge

Travel back in time and witness the events of our History, in Trekking Through Historyour board game of the week.


What is a board game? Trekking Through History ?

Embark on the time machine and experience an extraordinary journey, in which you will relive the great events of humanity. Choose your destinations and their order carefully to make it a fabulous adventure.

Accessible from 10 years old, for 1 to 4 players and games of around 30 to 60 minutes, it is a game with simple rules, despite appearances, but with a theme that is unfortunately completely outdated.

How do you play it?

In Trekking Through History , you do not take a single trip through time, but several, grouped into three rounds. They all take place in the same way, only the proposed cards which represent different eras of our History change.

Trekking Through History
A four-way game. // Source: Underdog Games

A turn of the game is very quick, since it simply consists of taking a Story card from the six offered in the center of the table. These have several characteristics: a date representing a historical event (from -37,000, the oldest cave paintings, to 1994, the election of Nelson Mandela), a duration to get there, and rewards in the form of tokens of different colors.


You obviously don't choose your card just anyhow.

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History cards available (they are translated into the French version). // Source : Aaron Tubb

Each round, we receive a route, a sort of guide which earns victory points and bonuses if we respect it, by placing the appropriate reward tokens there. All routes are different, and require different combinations of tokens to make the most of them.

Duration must also be considered, since we only have 12 hours each round for our trips. A small pocket watch serves as a counter and determines the order of the turn: it is the player furthest behind, the one who has used the least time, who takes his turn (and not in the order of the table, as usual). It can thus happen that the same player plays several times in a row, as long as he does not overtake the others.

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A travel itinerary with some reward tokens (the cards are translated into the French version). // Source : Wouter

Finally, it is important to travel in time chronologically, since as long as we do not break the temporal continuity of our travels, we continue to accumulate cards. And at the end of the game, the longer our various journeys were, the more points we scored.

The game ends after the third round, and the highest point total wins.

Why play Trekking Through History ?

This is a somewhat surprising game. At first glance, and given its hardware, it seems rather complex: lots of cards, lots of tokens, icons everywhere. However, it is surprising in its simplicity: in turn, we simply take a card from six possibilities. And that's all.

But it is the choice of this card that gives it all its flavor.

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Source: Underdog Games

Trekking Through Historyis thus a pure and hard optimization game. Every choice, every decision must be carefully considered to get maximum benefit. This applies to the reward tokens that we receive, the dates of our trips that must follow each other. And above all the time taken to travel, to potentially immediately replay, or to give priority to others if the remaining cards no longer interest us.

It is in particular this mechanic which gives the game its interest. It is used from time to time, in a few games, but works wonderfully each time. Patchwork is its proudest representative.

At least, that's the case with two players, possibly with three. With four people, on the other hand, your game can quickly become difficult, and you may have to wait 10 to 15 minutes before playing again, if you are a little too far ahead of the others. We obviously do not recommend this configuration.

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It's blue's turn to play (since he's late). // Source : Stacy Tornio

It was two of us who preferred to play Trekking Through History, since the games are then fast, the turns dynamic, and you can try to block your opponent by taking the cards that suit him. With more people, it's far too complicated to take into account.

A quick word on the equipment, quite nice indeed. There are lovely illustrations of the different events and a little historical background text on the back. But was it really necessary for these dozens of pawns to be made of plastic? That the central plate is made of Neoprene? Wooden cubes and a cardboard tray, anything more classic, would have done the trick just as well.

However, the game's biggest flaw lies in the complete lack of link between its theme, although very interesting and rich, and its mechanics. At no point do you feel like you're traveling back in time. And the cards could have been completely blank, with just a few icons and numbers, and we wouldn't have felt the difference. It’s a bit of a shame and disappointing, we must admit.

Beyond this aspect, if you are looking for an optimization game with simple rules, Trekking Through Historyis a very pleasant proposition. The mechanics work well, the games are pleasant and fast (except with four players), and we want to try again to try to do better. On the other hand, if thematic immersion is important to you, move on.

In short