The Remember Our Trip board game is a small box tile-laying puzzler for 2-4 players, taking about 30 minutes to play. It is advertised for ages 10+, but I can’t see 8+ aged gamer kids having any issues.
While abstract, the theme works cleverly to highlight its key unique element. Players have their own board, but there is also a central board. You make patterns on your board. When complete, you can replicate them on the main board (shared memories) if all the required spaces are free. Scoring more points in the process.
I find the simplistic artwork, reminiscent of a children’s/manga book, utterly charming. And with one exception (some incredibly flimsy paper board extensions) the component quality is solid. In the box you’ll find 12 boards, 22 small cards, 165 cardboard chits, a few wooden and plastic bits and a cloth bag. At around the cost of a Kosmos two-player game (about £25), it offers great value for money.
* Please note: While this is a 2-4 player game, due to lockdown restrictions I have only been able to play it with two players. Please take this into consideration when reading my conclusions. I aim to update the review once I’ve played with more people, and remove this note, if any of my opinions change.
Teaching the Remember Our Trip board game
Players take it in turns to be start player over 12 rounds. In each, a pattern card is revealed showing a pattern/number of tiles. Three/four (depending on player number) sets of tokens are laid out, with players taking it in turns to choose one set and immediately place them on their board. The placement puzzle is a tricky one, but offers plenty of choice. And as you know what the 12 pattern cards are (there are two each of six different ones, all shown on the action board), you can try to remember what’s going to be left in later rounds.
Your aim is to create patterns (‘memories’) with your tokens that match certain scoring tiles, depending on colour. Sightseeing locations (four spaces big) are the most lucrative, but of course hardest to pull off. While shopping and restaurant areas are more free form, but need to be large to score good points. Any tokens you can’t/choose not to place are put in your mistakes pile – and may come back to haunt you later. If you manage to create a valid pattern, you can flip those tokens over on your board and score it.
Now you look at the shared memories board. If all the spaces you’ve created your pattern on are also free on the main board, this becomes a confirmed location for your memory/pattern and you place a matching location tile on the main board – scoring bonus points for the privilege. But as this is about collective memories. So any other player who later confirms the same type of location on their board (even partially) will also claim bonus points, as they have the same memory of the location as you did.
to make things trickier, there are water tiles on the board that you can’t place on. And for variety, the boards are double-sided (Kyoto and Singapore) to add replayability. After the 12 rounds, you score/lose points for matching certain spaces on your board with tiles of the matching colour. As well as for a random bonus card drawn (from 10) at the start of the game. Finally, the player with the most mistaken memories (unused tokens) loses a point for each of them. Highest score wins.
The four sides
These are me, plus three fictitious players drawn from observing my friends and their respective quirks and play styles.
- The writer: Sometimes you just think a game was designed with you (as a type of gamer) in mind. Remember Our Trip is one of those games. The art style, the way it makes you think, and the clever little mechanical innovations all sing. It sets up fast, is an easy teach, and Sarah loves it. Plus, it packs neatly into a small box – despite having a solid amount of variability packed in there too. One of my favourite games of recent years.
- The thinker: This is largely a tactical experience. With big luck factors in both the token and card draws each round, you’re very much reacting and making do. On the plus side, it is all input randomness. And the game is short enough, and clever enough, to get away with it. due to it also being simple to teach, it is a game I’ll happily play as a filler – without it becoming a favourite or indeed even a purchase.
- The trasher: The Remember Our Trip board game doesn’t have much to offer me. But it’s certainly not bad. There are definitely opportunities for hate drafting, as you can see what everyone is going for. And you can often afford to take something you might not really need, as most tokens have the potential to be useful later. The decision of whether to hold out for more points on shops/restaurants is also cool. A shop can score at just three tiles – but gets progressively better up to six tiles. But you can only score it in a turn you add to it, which adds a nice push-your-luck element. So overall, it’s a solidly enjoyable game for me.
- The dabbler: Oh yes! Cute and pretty with a small box and simple rules. Plus, over a few games, you start to see little things emerge. Such as counting the cards and watching what other players are looking for. But best of all, you can have little conversations when you’re laying down the memory tiles. “Oh, I’m sure there was a hotel over here by the river.” You say, as everyone curses you for placing it where they were working on something else! The game has become an instant favourite.
The standard player board is a 7×7 grid. But there is a strip you can use to cover up a row, making it 7×6. This makes it a tighter experience, but has its problems. First, the cheap paper strip moves at any hint of air – irritating. Worse, it significantly increases the number of ‘mistaken memories’ (wasted tiles) each player has. We get maybe 1-2 (3 tops) in the normal game. But this easily rises to 4-5. As scoring is also tighter, we found the 6×7 game was usually decided purely on whoever lost the mistaken memory points. We house ruled this, so the player with most only lost the difference in tokens to the next worst player. But still, it just felt like a rushed addition to the game.
One concern for me is how fast the main board will fill with memories with more than two players. This works perfectly with two, as you see slowly how the other player’s board is evolving. If it looks as if they’ll soon finish something, you can try to avoid or copy as you see fit. But, with more players, I fear this will be lost. I hope it will simply be replaced with a different tension. But until I’ve played it with more, I’ll have to reserve judgement. But I have seen in cited as a minor criticism elsewhere.
The art style isn’t going to please everyone. If that’s important to you, fair enough. But whether you like it or not, the style is consistent and the iconography works well. And finally, some have raised concerns about how easy it is to teach new players. People acknowledge the theme helps bring the mechanisms home. But some have found it difficult to teach, saying it has too many fiddly rules. I haven’t had this problem, but I guess mileage may vary.
Conclusion: Remember Our Trip board game
Only a few titles each year make it straight into my Top 50 games of all time. But I’m pretty sure, when I update my list in May, Remember Our Trip will be one of them. Light and fun, yet thinky and clever. Lovely to look at with a consistent style and clear iconography. Plus an original them that actually means something in terms of gameplay. And all in a compact little box. What’s not to like? Highly recommended (with the caveat I have only played with two).