Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t always mean you have to hit the trails. While hiking and camping are the most direct ways to experience nature, there are other outdoors activities that you can enjoy at home.
Aside from movies, books or watching YouTube videos, you can also play games. I recently stumbled across a board game that got its start on KickStarter and has grown in popularity, The Appalachian Trail Game, and purchased it as a Christmas present for myself. Here are my impressions after playing it a few times with some friends.
Right out of the box, The AT Game is unique from other board games I’ve played. The game board itself unfolds to a long rectangle depicting the length of the AT and its various popular waypoints along the route. There are colored spaces that match Challenge and Chance cards to be drawn on a player’s turn. Each player draws Gear cards, as well, which are required to successfully pass certain Challenges, or otherwise go back spaces.
Each Chance and Challenge card has a point value. When you answer one correctly, you get to keep the card. The game ends when one player reaches the end of the AT, where they’ll receive a guaranteed bonus points for finishing first. The points from each player’s successfully answered cards are then totaled to determine the winner.
As it’s a game focused on the AT, the Challenge questions are directly related to places, history, and wildlife experienced along the trail route. For experienced AT hikers, this may not pose a challenge, but anyone who is unfamiliar with the AT will have a rough go of it when it comes to answering the harder questions, which may be too frustrating for many.
There are a few versions of The AT Game available. The Backpacking Edition ($19.95) is smaller and is designed to be carried along the trail for fun at the campsite. I purchased the Special Edition ($24.95), which features 200 cards. Then there’s the Deluxe Edition ($70), which comes in a laser-engraved alder wooden box.
The AT Game plays simply enough, but offers enough of a unique spin to make it engaging. I liked that some was up to chance, like having the right pieces of gear in your hand to make it through a given Challenge.
However, the trivia lover in me also enjoyed Challenges where I had to identify a plant or animal. If you’re new to hiking, you can learn some fun trivia and important gear facts, while pros can still learn a few things and show off their knowledge while they’re at it.
Check out this video for a closer look at The AT Game.
Visit to purchase the game and learn more about the campaign.
Photo credit: Screenshot Youtube