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Mountaintop Gaming

Bringing the Tabletop to a Higher Altitude...Literally!

10 October 2016 | Asmodee Games

 

Hey gamers! I'm one of your resident Asmodee writers and lover of games, Elena. You may remember me from my epic wins in our What We're Playing and First Player articles... and also some pretty intense losses. But losing never discourages me. It's part of the fun!

Last month, I went to the Canadian Rockies for a few days of hiking with my dad and a family friend. Since I can't quite stay away from the tabletop for that long, I brought a few games on the trip, and I wanted to share with you which games made their way up to the chalet, how much fun I had teaching them to new friends, and why they make such great travel games. We were graced with some incredible views along the way, so I made sure to include a few photos of the stunning landscapes we saw, too.

Durrand Glacier

The chalet we stayed at is fairly close to Revelstoke, British Columbia. You can only get to the building by helicopter though, which was a crazy cool way to start the trip. We saw peaks and valleys, waterfalls and rivers. Awaiting our arrival at the Durrand Glacier Chalet were our hosts, Ruedi and Nicoline, the trail guide, Estée, and some goodies made by Henric, our chef for the duration of the trip. After a quick breakfast, I packed Spot It!  into my bag and then we were off to see the sights.

Down, down, down we went, crossing streams, stepping over roots and rocks, and pausing occasionally to look across the majestic valley. Hiking lesson number one: good, tightly-laced hiking boots are a must for big mountain treks. And then we went up, which was hard, but worth it to see the Durrand Glacier. Look at this place! 

Estée has been helping out at the glacier for over fifteen years, and she said the shape of the glacier has changed significantly in that time. Some of the rocks on which we stood had only been exposed for a few years!

After the glacier, we went up even higher to Goat Peak, which was 2,288 meters above sea level! Eating lunch up there was quite the thrill. And do you know what's harder than getting up a mountain? Getting down a mountain. I got shivers up and down my spine, and not just because I was seeing snow for the first time in six months. 

Along the way, we stopped at Mirror Lake, which was situated in an enormous flat area between a couple of the glaciers. While we were there, I pulled out Spot It! Splash, which is waterproof! We didn't actually get to play while we were up there, because we had a ways to go, but I did want to test exactly how waterproof the game is. 

My findings: the plastic game cards are one-hundred percent waterproof! The rulebook, on the other hand, is not, so learn from my mistake and separate it from the wet cards when you reassemble your game. Knowing that my cards were infused with the waters of melted glacier added a little something special to that game, though I didn't end up bringing it home with me, as you'll soon see.

After that little detour in the interest of a picturesque article, we finally returned to the chalet for snacks, a nap, dinner, and then bed. Hiking is fun, but physically demanding. After dinner, I went upstairs to grab some games and promptly fell asleep. Mountain: 1. Elena: 0. 

Game Day

We took a far more relaxed approach on Day Two at the chalet, thanks to some shaky, exhausted muscles. Lesson number two about hiking: train, train, train. Six hours of hiking without any preparation knocked my legs out of commission for almost four days! So yeah, I'm super strong.

The sights were stunning nonetheless. We spent the morning reading (highly recommend Felicia Day's You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)) and then ventured out into a nearby valley for a few hours. My dad and I had a ton of fun wandering around for awhile, just enjoying the good conversation and gorgeous views. Eventually we camped out on a bridge, playing Spot It! while the stream passed underneath us. 

In addition to Spot It! Splash, I brought Mr. Jack Pocket, Skull, and Crossing. Little did I know, one of the families staying there with us had also brought Catan, so we had a big night ahead of us after our return. We got through three different games that day, including countless plays of Spot It!. The family who brought Catan actually loved Spot It! so much that I ended up giving them the game to keep. The different ways to play really caught their attention, and we all enjoyed for one, how easy it is to teach and learn, and also how many of us could play at the same time, regardless of our age or play experience. Every time we played, somebody different won!

All of the games that I brought were great ones to have along in that respect. Once we got the game to the table, they were fairly easy to teach, and there were enough of us playing that we could rotate through different games. It was also great having the games around so we could watch the others play while munching on the delicious treats Henric made or chatting with the other hikers. Speaking of the food—wow! We had this huge variety of food inspired by different regions, all filling and healthy. It was exactly what we needed after hours out on the trails. 

Because of its size, Crossing was a game that I normally wouldn't think to bring along, but since I knew the rules, I left the box and booklet at home, tossed the tiles and gems in the game bag, and tucked it in a hiking boot. This was another one that caught everyone's attention once they learned how to play, and one of the boys who I had given Spot It to actually asked if I would send him a copy when I got home. It's a fun bluffing game, but more whimsical than many, making it a fitting choice for any family. The whole chalet ended up getting involved in this one at the end of our game night, and it filled the place with laughter and silliness.

Missing It Already

The next day was a healthy combination of the hiking and games that filled our first two days, and Spot It! even made it out on the trail with the family I gave it to. Watching people discover games and cool new ways to connect with one another is exactly why I have the job that I do, and I sincerely hope that our articles help you and your friends find new games that make you laugh, smile, chat, and connect. It's my favorite thing about games, and being able to incorporate that into this incredible trip was the opportunity of a lifetime. It's enough to convince me that at least one game is coming along on every trip I ever take. The experiences of meeting people through games and playing some of my favorites in unique locations were priceless. I can't wait to do it more, and maybe even hear about your tabletop travels, so be sure to connect with us on Twitter and Facebook to share your game photos and experiences!