Trool Park is a board game for 2 to 4 players designed by Christian Martinez and Frédéric Vuagnat, published by Ankama. In this game each player takes on the role of an amusement park owner. You need to choose your rides wisely in order to attract the most visitors and in the meantime please the feared inspectors to win the prize of Best Amusement Park.
During setup each player gets their own player board and takes the selection wheel, meeples and cylinder in their chosen color. The player board is comprised of three sections corresponding to a different theme: Laughs, Thrills and Snacks. You will place the central board in the (surprise) middle of the table with the three side boards placed around them. Depending on the number of players some spaces on the central board might be blocked. Shuffle the different attractions and booth tokens and place them on their respective places on the board. Afterwards draw and place one attraction in each free space on the central board. The three weather tokens are also shuffled and placed on its spot. Form a pile of visitor tokens next to the board that can easily be reached by all players. Each player now puts their meeples at the starting spaces of each attraction track namely Laughs, Thrills and Snacks. The Fun Slide is created by placing the player’s cylinders from the youngest to the oldest player. Now you need to prepare the inspection track. First place the three round eight inspection cards at the bottom of the deck. Shuffle the three cards for rounds five, six and seven and place them on top. Repeat this process for the inspectors of rounds two, three and four. Each player receives a booth at random and places it on their board and you are ready to start playing Trool Park.
The game lasts for eight rounds and each round consists of four phases: Attractions, Weather Events, Inspections and Preparation for the next round. The Attractions phase is the main phase of the game. Each player starts by secretly selecting which attraction that they would like to acquire from the central board by turning their selection wheel to the corresponding letter. The attractions come in different categories corresponding to the weather conditions: Rain, Snow and Sun. Although some of them do not belong to any of these weather conditions. When each player has selected which attraction they would like to have the selection wheels are revealed. Starting with the player at the bottom of the Fun slide each player takes the attraction that they have chosen if it is still available and construct it in their Theme Park choosing which zone to put it in, Laughs, Thrills or Snacks. After placing the attraction the effects of the attraction goes into effect. These vary from getting some points in a specific category, getting visitors, getting a booth or getting something for each type of attraction you have. When a player takes an attraction that another player also had chosen they have to move their marker to the top of the Fun Slide.
After every player had the opportunity to take their chosen attraction it is up to the players who did not get to take their chosen attraction. Again starting at the bottom of the Fun Slide these players get to choose one of the attractions still left and get one of the corresponding bonuses. The bonuses to choose from are depicted on the board and can be one of the following: Move forward one space on one of the three tracks, Choose a revealed weather tile and mix it back into the pile, Move your cylinder to the bottom of the Fun Slide or get a visitor.
When each player has placed an attraction it is time to move on to the Weather phase. The top of the Weather stack is revealed to show which weather we are having. When the stack is empty before revealing you shuffle the weather stack to form a new pile. Now each player checks their board and the attractions and booths they have corresponding to the weather type. For each one they have they move forward on the track corresponding to the zone that the attraction or booth is built.
Now it is time for the inspector to check out have you have done. During the first round this phase is skipped because the Theme Park is not evolved enough. Each inspector inspects the player’s rankings in one of the three categories and gives rewards accordingly. Each category will be inspected exactly three times. Once at the end of the fourth round, once at the end of the seventh round and in the eighth round each category is scored. The rewards you get are also of the same type but they ramp up during the course of the game. The rewards for Snacks are simply visitor tickets, for Laughs it is tickets and a new booth, for Thrills it is also tickets and moving forward on one of the tracks. When there is a tie during the Inspection, the Position on the Fun Slide will act as a Tie Breaker with being on the bottom being the better place.
When all this has been done and it is not the eight round it is time to make preparations for the next round. First off we draw new attractions to fill in the empty spaces on the central board. Attractions not chosen during the previous round simply stay on the board. You also reveal the Inspector for the next round so you know which track will be scored at the end of the next round.
This goes on until eight rounds have been played and the player at the end with most visitor tickets has built the best theme park and wins the game. Again using the Fun Slide as a Tiebreaker.
Now this is one of those games that when people walk by, they stop and have a look at this game. It really pops on the table with all its bright colors and beautiful artwork done by Giullaume Duchemin and Guillaume Pivaut. The attractions look really good and once you are done you can look upon a nice looking theme park. The one thing I would have liked to see would be double-sided visitor tickets. You can still tell them apart buy their size but it would be handier if they were double-sided. The game itself plays like a breeze. Each player makes a selection, places the attraction and carries out the effect, resolves the weather condition and waits for inspection. It is as simple as that yet the choices you make will have a serious impact. During the selection you might want to go for a certain effect or a certain weather type. When there are multiple interesting attractions then you are really hoping that someone else chooses the same attraction as you so that you can get a bonus because these might be powerful. Especially the one that lets you place a weather tile back into the stack. When this happens at the exact moment that the stack is empty you can determine which weather condition will be had during the round. Going for the three tracks at the same time is almost impossible to do so you will usually focus on two tracks and muddle around a bit with the third one. In short we really love this game, we have played it with gamers and non-gamers and they all had a blast playing this game. The tension when turning over those selection wheels is always present and the race for being the best in a certain category is always on. Just writing about it makes me want to visit my Trool Park again.
Play with Honor.
This game was sponsored to us by boardgamebox. (www.boardgamebox.life)