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Take a Hike by University Games
This game was the 1994 winner of the University Games’ National Young Game Inventor contest. Derek Nelson was the five year old inventor of this game.
The object of Take a Hike is to be the first player to collect all the items on the backpack list and return to Camp Fun.
Pawns in the shape of boots
Backpacks with pictures of various animals
Animal stickers, reusable
The game board is designed to look as though it was drawn by a child and the illustrations are charming.
This game is designed for non-readers, so the spinner has pictures of one or more boots to saw how far to move on your turn.
The boot pawns are very cute and nicely designed.
The stickers are not so good; they quickly lose their stick and won’t stay in place which is frustrating.
Take a Hike is your typical spin and move game. Players spin the spinner and move their boots. If they land on an animal that matches one on their backpack, then they get to take a sticker and put it on their backpack. Once they fill their backpack, they head back to camp.
If players spin the rain cloud, they lose a turn. If they spin the bear, they can take a sticker from another player.
If you land on a bridge space, then you may take any sticker you want.
I was initially pleased to get this game because it is designed well for the non-reader and my kids could play it at a very young age. But, it soon became a game that I dreaded to see come out of the cupboard. The only choice (and it’s not much of one) is what sticker to steal if you spin a bear. The stealing rule is pretty harsh for a game aimed at such young kids. It never failed to cause bad feelings among my kids.
The other problem with this game is that it can go on forever. If you don’t fill your backpack, you have to go completely around the board again before the game will end. This happened fairly often and really caused the game to drag on. We added the rule that if you land on an arrow spot, then you can go to any space on the board. This helped speed the game up considerably.
I can’t give this game a good recommendation for these reasons. But, I will say that for a short amount of time, this game did fill a niche with my family. I think it’s the same niche that could have been filled with Candyland if we had ever owned a copy of that game.
I've watched the 4-6 year-old children in my classroom enjoy playing this game immensely over the past ten months. They enjoy the hiking theme, the aesthetic of the artwork, and they particularly enjoy the concept of collecting forest creatures as you hike along a path. With a couple of simple rules modifications, the game is great for this age group; they learned to play it independently very easily.
Rule Change #1: If you land on a bear, it means you've spotted a bear in the distance and you move away. Move back one space.
Rule Change #2: If you haven't collected all of the items by the time you reach camp, you move past the camp. Instead of going all the way around again, you are now able to move backwards or forwards each time you spin.
Alternative Rule Change #2: Instead of the above, every hiker enters the camp when they reach the entrance. Whoever has the most complete collection of forest critters after every hiker reaches camp is the winner.