Its summer time here in the Northern Hemisphere and that means its time for one of my favorite summertime activities hiking and camping. One of the most important things to bring along on a hiking trip is water. Remember to drink plenty of water especially if you are not used to being at higher altitudes. In todays review we will have a look at the newest game from Postmark Games, Waypoints. Waypoints is the 3rd game from designers Matthew Dunstan, Rory Muldoon. Voyages and Aquamarine have both been fun games set in the water, Waypoints will bring us to the land (Water is still important!).
Waypoints is a one sheet print and play game that is a hike through fictional national park. On the sheet is a topographic map with a grid overlaid on it. If players have been camping before this style of map will look very familiar to them. On the map there will be features like rivers, lakes, woods, rivers and peaks. Also on the map players will find waypoints, gear pickups and campsites.
When starting a game of Waypoints players will randomly choose what the bonus goal. The goals will be a variation on visiting all of one type of feature on the map. Once players have chosen the bonus then they will start the movement. Movement is determined by rolling a six sided die and moving to the next space along the track that encircles the map. Each space has a weather icon and a number. The number is how much each player can move. All players will use the same result. Players may increase the movement for themselves by expending water (1 water = 1 movement) or using items like the coat, kayak or glider to move more than the rolled value.
To start the first hike a common die is rolled and all players will start from that numbered campsite on the map. Players then determine how much movement they have adding in any gear or water to the movement value for the turn. Then players trace a line starting at the campsite to another waypoint. Each line they pass through (topographic and grid lines count) costs one movement. The player then circles the next circle on the waypoint they ended at. I loved how free form the movement was in Waypoints it really feels like you are plotting a hike. Alternatively players can take a rest and gain 1 water rather than moving.
I loved how free form the movement was in Waypoints it really feels like you are plotting a hike.
The game completes after 4 hikes. Each of the hikes finished when players get to the end of the movement tracker for the current hike. The hike can be as little as 3 turns so players will have to manage their movement and water accordingly. When players are at the end of a hike they will score one of the four journal bonuses. These give players points depending on how many waypoints or grid squares they visit. each player will choose one of the four bonuses. I liked the journal aspect because it allowed for some extra strategy in the game. Players will use all four of the journal bonuses in the game but when they use it to maximize the score is the strategy.
I liked the journal aspect because it allowed for some extra strategy in the game.
There are some special items that players can pick up on their hike like a glider that allows players a free move from the top of a mountain to any waypoint in the same grid or an orthogonaly adjacent grid. There is also a kayak that lets players take a free move down the river crossing up to 3 grid lines. The Camera allows players to circle a waypoint in the grid that they are in but then the player is not allow to go back to that waypoint. I am not sure if its a legal move but its likely best to choose a waypoint that has been visited already. Ill wait for the FAQ on that one.
All and all Waypoints does a good job of simulating a hike on one sheet of paper. I enjoyed the freedom of drawing a line however I wanted through the map. The design and mechanics really merged well with the theme. This a great break time game or fun with 99 of your friends on Twitch. Hey now that's an idea... perhaps coming soon. In the mean time visit Postmark Games and get that notice when Waypoints goes live on Kickstarter.
Year Published: 2023
Recommended Ages: 8+
Time to Play: 20-40 minutes
A pre-production copy of Waypoints was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games for review purposes by Postmark Games. The final game may change from what is depicted here.