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Every summer holiday is unique. Each one has its quirky, frequently frustrating, sometimes endearing, family members. Each one has its share of unexpected challenges or happy surprises. Certainly, each one leaves its indelible mark on your memory. But when you stuff all of those expectations and egos into a car for a month's worth of close proximity, every experience - good and bad - gets fused in an emotional cacophony. Arriving home, you are exhausted, laden with tacky souvenirs, and grateful for surviving in one piece. If you are lucky, you end the trip on a happy note. Although, even if you didn't, it's guaranteed that in a few months you'll be pontificating on the splendor of the sites and laughing at the ridiculous number of mishaps. And in another few months, you'll begin planning for next summer's trip.


Roadtrip! captures those aspects of the family summer vacation with one exception... you can laugh even when the tire blows in a freak snow storm or your fussy cousin continuously complains about the overflowing latrines. Why? Because you can control the mishaps, kerfuffles, and canny adventures. Because it's hard not to chuckle as you interact when the volatile Moodometer takes you from Glum to Cranky to Cheery over the course of a single round. Because as this road trip unfolds, you can't help but guffaw, reminisce, and begin to feel the call of the highway luring you into the great outdoors...

How do you play?

In Roadtrip! each player acts as the head of a family, who is taking a few family members (and possibly friends or pets) on a summer vacation, while competing with other player-families to have the most fun holiday. At its core, Roadtrip! is a humorous strategy game of travel, resource management, and race-to-the-finish.


Roadtrip! Game Setup
Roadtrip! Game Setup

Planning - Organize your road trip! (aka Setup)

During the first phase of the game, players make a series of choices in order to plan unique road trips that take their respective families on vacation to a number of national treasures throughout the Western United States. Such spectacular sites primarily include the breathtaking National Parks and National Monuments that dot the landscape. At each step of the planning process - picking Passengers, setting an Itinerary, choosing a Vehicle, and selecting a Home City - players have decisions about how to optimize their own trip. The basic rules provide setup options for a Learn-To-Play version and a set of basic games that range from quick to long in length and easy to difficult in challenge level. Plus, the rules provide several suggestions for personalizing your trips even further.

Traveling - Hit the road!

During the second phase of Roadtrip!, players attempt to enact their travel plans by visiting the Destinations on their Itinerary. As play moves around the table, players strategically play Highway cards, move between sites, visit Destinations, and select accommodations. Each step can impact the players' resources, positively or negatively. Highway cards, in particular, allow players to create opportunities for themselves or obstacles for other players, in the form of typical road trip road hazards, travel boons, or kitschy roadside attractions. Careful management is critical to avoid going broke with miserable passengers! The game ends as soon as a player visits all the Destinations on his Itinerary and returns to his Home City; the player with the highest Fun score wins (see How do you win? below).


Roadtrip! Game Play
Roadtrip! Game Play

How do you win?

Have the most Fun! Period. Really. In order to win Roadtrip!, each player attempts to end the game with a happy and exhausted family loaded down with stuff. Despite its apparent simplicity and its open design, ending the game with the highest Fun score is more difficult than it appears.


Happiness is generated as players perform various actions, like visiting a National Park, or removed when players encounter obstacles, like running out of gas.


Energy is a resource that players must manage wisely, if they do not wish to be delayed while their family members relax and recuperate. Players use Energy to perform many actions required, like visiting a National Park, enduring family bickering, or camping in less-than-ideal situations. However, players also can gain Energy through actions that provide respite, like spending money to stay in a swanky lodge. Happiness and Energy are tracked on the game board's Moodometer. Both Happiness and Energy are finite and quite volatile.


Souvenirs are gathered along a player's trip much in the same way that Happiness is generated. However, souvenirs are more difficult to acquire, and consequently less subject to the vagaries of the road.


Money, while not a factor in your FUN score, must be managed carefully too. If you've budgeted wisely, you'll never have to wire home for more funds (which, needless to say, makes your passengers quite unhappy).


The first player to return to his starting Home City, after visiting all of the Destinations in his Itinerary, ends the game. That player gets a winning bonus of 3 for having the most efficient vacation, which allowed her first bragging rights in the neighborhood.



Roadtrip! Moodometer
Roadtrip! Moodometer

Can I reenact one of my own road trips or
try out one I'm planning?

One of the coolest aspects of Roadtrip! is its customization. During the Planning Phase of the game, you can decide:

  • - How many Destinations you want to visit,
  • - How to select those Destinations,
  • - How many Passengers with which to burden yourself,
  • - What vehicles you want to use,
  • - How tight your budget is, and
  • - What FUN score to use (yes, there are alternate formulas for you to use to create a different sort of tripor to use as hidden goals)

That means that if you want to relive one of your previous adventures or experiment with next year's vacation destinations, you can! While a variety of game lengths (standard, short, or long) and game types (introductory, normal, or difficult) are suggested to suit a variety of needs, additional rules are provided that help you further customize their experiences. The standard length, normal difficulty game takes about 1 hour... well, depending on how sidetracked you get, telling stories and laughing.


Famous Wigwam Motel in Holbrook
Famous Wigwam Motel in Holbrook

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