Make even your rest time play time with Aventyr, a mountain bike themed board game.
And now for something completely different… a board game? Based around the idea of ‘Trailquest’ or orienteering by bike, Aventyr is a game where players aim to collect points at controls and get back to the start within 40 moves (and just like in the ‘real world’ of orienteering, there are penalties for every extra turn it takes you to get home beyond that limit). As with many a bike ride, it’s not all free wheeling, and a variety of obstacles and calamities will be encountered along the way, variously sending you places you don’t want to go, or docking points from your score.
Is it any fun? I sat down with my kids to find out.
In The Box
You get a game board, six coloured counters, a deck of 30 cards, and 2×6 sided dice, 1×4 sided dice, and 1×20 sided dice. You need to print the game instructions, score and time sheet pads off the web.
It quite a cute looking board, with a nice hand drawn feel to the illustration on the board. Not so simple as to look like a child made it, but not so ‘designed’ to look fashionably artisan. It’s kind of quaint, which seems fitting for a new board game in an age of virtual reality and multiplayer screen games.
The instructions are endearingly quaint too. They begin ‘The board is placed on a flat surface where all the players can easily reach it’ and end ‘A league may be set up for a set number of regular games with the winner getting 4 points, runner up 2 points, 3rd place 1 point’. In the introduction to the game is the I’m-not-sure-whether-to-cry-or-not suggestion ‘It can be played solo. Record your score and compare it to your previous games’. Bless.
Solo amusement notwithstanding, the game is intended for two to six players, and the instructions promise a 40 turn game will take about 15 minutes per person. I’d say that’s a little optimistic on the timing, certainly if everyone ‘stays out’ in the field until the last possible moment. For shorter attention spans, it’s easy enough to shorten the time playing by reducing the number of turns.
There appeared to be two different options to starting the game. One involved rolling a dice as instructed on the board to select the first control you had to visit, whereas the other just involved everyone picking whichever control they wanted. If you’re playing with people/children/friends who can appreciate a calamity and don’t mind losing, I recommend the ‘let the dice choose’ option to begin with. I found myself 15 turns in and still nowhere near reaching the designated first control, thanks to a range of disasters. I skidded back 6 places. I took ‘shortcuts’ to completely the wrong side of the board. I was blessed with a tail wind that helpfully blew me 11 spaces in the wrong direction. As my children delighted in every mishap that befell me, they happily hopped round the board collecting points from checkpoint after checkpoint. If you want to collect points and use more tactics than just enjoying chance and disaster, just start the game with choosing your own destination.
The way that Aventyr works means that some turns can be quite long. You roll a double and land on a feature square. It tells you to roll a dice, you follow that instruction, it lands you on a square that tells you to take a shortcut, and then you emerging panting on the wrong side of the board and still have that extra roll from that double to take. Maybe that lands you on yet another feature square, or maybe you breathe a sigh of relief and pass the dice on to the next player. Other times, you roll, move, and your turn is over. The variety in pace seemed to keep my children’s attention, and they definitely enjoyed the ‘Wait! I’m not done yet! It’s still my turn!’ moments.
Highlights included repeatedly skidding back when trying to reach a high scoring check point, and reaching that checkpoint only to subsequently have all the points docked because a marshal spotted you hiding the checkpoint from other players. My children really enjoyed it, but then they do live on a diet of restricted TV and screen time, so perhaps are rather accustomed to wholesome and retro fun such as this. The website suggests it’s a game for aged 12 and over, but my youngest is 8 and was very happy to play it. Kid One said ‘I like it if it goes right. The obstacles are good, there are skids, and if you pick a card you can get good things, but some aren’t’. Kid Two said ‘I like it ‘cos I won, but I feel a bit bad beating you on your birthday’.
At nearly £45 for the test set here it’s a fair whack, but the ‘from £29.99 option’ is about the same price as I might expect to pay for a niche boardgame, although without the inclusion of the score sheets or instructions it might feel a little steep in price (and the £29.99 option doesn’t include the box, counters or dice). The counters are a little basic and slippery – my kids did knock them off the board quite a bit, but maybe owners could swap the counters out for small bike components? And don’t lose the dice – it’s the first time I’ve ever seen four or 20 sided ones (You’ve never played Dungeons and Dragons – Game Ed). You could get by without the four, but you need the 20 to make the game work.
The format could just as easily be applied to any number of other hobbies, but as it stands this mountain bike themed game would make a nice addition to a rental house or hotel aimed at riders. It’s simple enough to play after a day of riding and a beer, and fun enough to pass the time if the weather really doesn’t make you want to leave the house. I’ll leave the final word to Kid One: ‘This should be in a shop, I like it’.
|Product:||The Mountain Bike Edition|
|From:||planetary14bikes.co.uk / ivorygraphics.co.uk|
|Tested:||by Hannah for|