The first warm rays of the sun tickle the skin. Actually the perfect time to visit the amusement park. If it weren't for the pandemic. Fortunately, there are games like Trool Park by the author duo Christian Martinez and Frédéric Vuagnat, which was originally published by the Ankama publishing house and as a German-language localization by the Swiss publishing house Board Game Box. It is basically a board game for families that offers its players a strange day in the amusement park and not only as a visitor - here you follow in the footsteps of a park manager and try to make “Trool Park” as attractive as possible To attract as many visitors as possible round after round. Is that entertaining? Read it yourself.


A day at the amusement park is one thing above all else: colorful. The board game localized by the publisher Board Game Box presents itself as a huge splash of color. However, the look shouldn't hide the fact that there is more to the title overall than you would initially think. Trool Park is a very appealing board game for families, frequent gamers or even experts will not be challenged in view of the linear course of the game and the limited number of decision-making options.  

Trool Park: The best park manager wins

The game reflects the basic theme and has been designed to be lively - that goes down well at first. The set of rules comprises 15 richly illustrated pages and is therefore worked through quickly in order to quickly find an introduction to the game. In which two to four players, ages ten and up, set up their own amusement park, which should offer the perfect mix of attractions and food stalls and thus attract plenty of visitors. But this task is not that easy, because in addition to the competing players, surprising controls and weather changes await the Trool Park managers. The players compete against each other in eight rounds, with four simple, repetitive game phases. The player who has won the most visitors in the easy economic simulation at the end of the game wins the Trool Park game.

Players follow in the footsteps of amusement park managers and are responsible for day-to-day business. Photo: Volkmann

Players follow in the footsteps of amusement park managers and are responsible for day-to-day business. Photo: Volkmann

Basically, it is a four-step process that is repeated over and over again: (1) Acquiring an attraction: In this phase, each player selects an attraction that then triggers an effect. He can choose from those of fun, delicacies and thrills. (2) Weather event: In this phase, a weather marker indicates the current weather situation, which can lead to special points. (3) The inspection then follows from the second round of the game: In this phase the inspector knocks on the door of the amusement park. Depending on the rank, there are rewards here. (4) Finally, it is only a matter of preparing the next round: In the final phase, the general range of attractions is filled and a new inspection card is drawn.

That doesn't sound particularly complicated. And in fact, Trool Park turns out to be intuitive after a short reading period. Once the game is set up and the simple instructions have been read, Trool Park can be played without any further explanations or barriers. Should there still be uncertainties, the player aids help to keep the game flowing. Occasional ambiguities - if they occur at all - are quickly resolved. This is one of the great strengths of the board game: You quickly get to grips with the gameplay. However, it takes a few minutes to set up, there is plenty of material on the table - and that leaves no doubt that the authors did not necessarily primarily focus on family players as their target group. In the end, that doesn't fit in with the manageable but pleasantly narrow playing time: The playing time of 40 minutes per game is just right to keep children happy or to serve as fun entertainment for casual players, together with friends and family.

Material is abundant at Trool Park. The board game looks wonderful on the table. Photo: Volkmann

Material is abundant at Trool Park. The board game looks wonderful on the table. Photo: Volkmann

The designers Guillaume Pivaut and Guillaume Duchemin are responsible for the cheerful-looking artwork of Trool Park, who have filled the areas of the amusement parks down to the smallest detail with lively drawings that are reminiscent of a mixture of fairground and park feeling and give younger players a lot of space to Find and give to discover.

The game material from Trool Park is without exception made of high quality and contains: 1 main game board, 3 secondary game boards, a total of 42 attraction cards, 3 attractions-closed cards, three weather tokens, 27 kiosk cards, 9 inspection cards, 97 visitor tokens, 1 toboggan (slide), 4 play train cards, 5 practical game box dividers, 4 game boards, 4 selection wheels as well as 4 position pieces and wooden score figures. The game instructions complete the material, which leaves no doubt about the theme of an amusement park in terms of design. The game box is brightly colored and comes home to the players in high quality and designed in the card style. The only downer: the slide and the game box separator are quite wobbly, which can be easily remedied with a drop of glue if necessary.

Artwork brings Park to life

After setting up and quickly learning the rules, you can start with the game of simple business simulations: Each player receives the material that he needs as a basis for his amusement park, selects a player color and the corresponding meeple and the corresponding position marker. Now only the visitor and weather stamps as well as the attraction, kiosk and inspection cards have to be prepared. Then the slide is quickly set up, equipped with the position stones and the hype can begin. Each of the eight game rounds takes place in the same four steps (“Acquire an attraction”, “Weather event”, “Inspection” and “Prepare next round”), the inspection round is only skipped in the first round. If the player has selected an attraction in the first phase and this has not yet been selected by another player, different effects occur. On the one hand, certain conditions can make subject areas more attractive, on the other hand, the players can attract visitors.

At the same time, the greatest strength of Trool Park - namely the simplicity including always comprehensible game actions - is also the greatest weakness of this board game: It does not offer a lot of decision-making variety, the concept wears out over time. Fortunately, this is cushioned by the limited number of laps and thus playing time. The authors thus prevent the fun of the game from being endangered by overly noticeable monotony. 

The weather in the open-air amusement park provides a little trick, thematically appropriate. In each weather event phase, points are waiting for the themed areas (thrills, delicacies and fun) for the players' theme parks, but only if they are in an area that corresponds to the weather mark (snow, rain and sun). In the inspection phase, players are rewarded in descending order for leading the ranking in one of the subject areas. Sometimes the player gets nothing at the end of the sequence. Here, topics and visitors beckon as a reward. When the last round ends, the most attractive park and therefore the one with the most visitors wins. The game is played in parallel, so there is hardly any downtime, which benefits the flow of the game.

The attractions including bonuses represent one of the more complex mechanics of this board game. Photo: Volkmann

The attractions including bonuses represent one of the more complex mechanics of this board game. Photo: Volkmann

The sometimes tricky synergies of attraction selection and bonus activation do not quite fit into the concept, which seems confusing in some game situations - but at the same time makes the game so appealing. Because this is where the complexity comes into play that is otherwise often missed. Despite the motley look, it is important to always be attentive. Also because the mechanisms work together excellently and feel playfully refreshing as a mix. 

If you expect a complex business simulation in the style of a theme park, you will not get the board game you expected with Trool Park. Anyone who is looking for a basically simple, but at least in terms of some elements upscale board game with slight influences of a business simulation, will most likely find fun “managing” his colorful amusement park. Whether you wanted to address families or frequent gamers is ultimately irrelevant. Both target groups get along, but the former needs a little more time to get used to. Here, too, the linear sequence is again noticeable as a good signpost: because the four game phases are repeated over and over again in the eight game rounds, the sequence is also understandable for older children after a learning phase. For some players, however, the lack of interaction, which only shows up in the attraction selection phase, could be a disadvantage. The rules are quickly understood and it plays just as quickly and fluently. With its relatively short playing time of 40 minutes, Trool Park can ensure entertaining fun and is part of a game that can be played in between without any further preparation. Even inexperienced players can get started within a short time with the help of the clear player aids.

Infobox

Number of players: 2 to 4
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: about 30 to 50 minutes
Difficulty: easy to medium
Long-term motivation: medium
Genre: family games
Core mechanisms: set collection, action selection

Authors: Christian Martinez and Frédéric Vuagnat
Illustrations: Guillaume Pivaut and Guillaume Duchemin
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2018
Language: German
Cost: 29,99 Euro

 

Summary

Trool Park appeals to younger players and families in the interplay of its lightness and subject matter. The theme “amusement park” could be assumed to be interchangeable, for example the game mechanics could also work well in a zoo setting without losing any of its entertainment potential. Nevertheless, one can find joy in the detailed, technically almost overloaded board game with basic elements of an economic simulation. Trool Park is easy to learn and easy to explain to fellow players, but you shouldn't expect complex game depth here. Despite all the linearity, the game concept doesn't really want a red line. Although Trool Park is presented as a pure entertainment game, it also has some more profound individual elements that do not want to fit in with the otherwise clearly noticeable simplicity. This becomes particularly clear in game situations in which the feeling arises that the idea has not been fully thought through.

Trool Park has to give credit for its great setting, which can hide one or the other playful inadequacy. Once the board game is set up on the table, you want to play it - ideally immediately. The optics are a real motivator and one of the good reasons to take this board game out of the rule again in the future. 

The title can be played equally well with two to four other players, as there is hardly any interaction between the players. Previous experience is not required for the board game, just a little training and at the beginning the use of player aids to allow the game to flow.


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Last updated on 25.09.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API