[Review] THRU-HIKER on Thoughty

Beau Jágr Sheldon reviewed THRU-HIKER for his #33in28 reviews series. He offers a great overview of the game from the perspective of someone new to the hiking world.


By Daniel Perez

The General Idea

Genre Tags: solo, lonely, hiking, journaling, cards
Replayable? Yes!
Actual Play Available? Examples included in text
Length: Medium to Long, Journaling (At your own pace)

Thru-Hiker is a really interesting journaling game by Daniel Perez, coming to Kickstarter, about long distance hiking. It uses playing cards to assist journaling and includes a number of examples of journaling in the text. I loved the cover right away!

I was intensely grateful for the useful guide to terminology offered at the beginning of the book – more games could do with detailing terms when they’re dealing with specific experiences or unique language. For example, to me, a Triple Crown is when a horse wins all three major races, but in this, it’s accomplishing multiple different trails, including the Appalachian trail. It’s wise to include this kind of differentiation if you’re going to mention terms, even in examples!

While I had some trouble reading the bold script the examples are written in,* they were useful still in helping me understand what you write about while doing your long distance hike and how the game works. Overall, the game is well laid out and pretty tidy, with a nice outdoorsy color palette and licensed photographs. It makes me wish I could have my photographs in a book like this!

I loved card results like “Hiker Trash Wisdom” and “Armchair Meteorologist” next to “This effing trail!” Even as someone who is immobile or limited a lot of the time, the idea of telling the story of a grand hike is really fantastic. I imagined while reading the things you might see or experience, and how this could be so fun to play while still on lockdown and prevented from going to our larger parks. A little wistful perhaps, but that has its place.

I enjoyed the list of examples of challenges, everything from fatigued to bear in the camp! These useful details help people who haven’t had these experiences fill in the gaps. There’s also a hearty list of inspiration in the back! Really useful for people trying to pull ideas when they want to do something new but haven’t been sure how to prepare, so equally useful in this game.

The descriptive text and guidance in the book are really good. I think that the mechanics are pretty simple, and the use of resources and scarcity in this actually makes a lot of sense compared to the use of that mechanical structure in some other games. You only have so much ability to carry resources, and the environment and situation can put those resources in danger! Overall, reading this made me long for the days I could hike for miles and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. At least with Thru-Hiker, I can live it in fiction!

Thru-Hiker by Daniel Perez is on Kickstarter soon and will be available for purchase afterward on Daniel’s Gumroad. It’s a fun journaling game where you tell the story of your experiences on long distance hikes, balancing resources and dealing with inclement weather while enjoying the beauty of nature and the world. Check it out today!

*After I mentioned this to Daniel, I was told the journal entries will be edited for legibility! Great response to feedback!

Published Feb 7, 2021

Published by Daniel M. Perez

Author, creator, dreamer. Sign up for my newsletter. 👇

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