The Road Trip Board Game

home made board game

Having spent parts of each summer at a cottage on Big Hawk Lake since 1950, I have endured many a car trip from the big smoke to the lake. Most were uneventful and boring as a kid. Occasionally there were unexpected and exciting events (for the kids not the parental units), like the time dad had to drive across logs spanning a washout on Little Hawk Lake Road as a result of Hurricane Hazel. However, being boat access, every trip ended with a boat trip to the cottage that in the early days was crowded and slow (two adults, 3 kids, a dog and all our stuff in a small boat and a 9.9 hp motor), often wet and sometimes cold.

When I became a grandfather and started teaching my grandchildren about the cottage, I thought a board game dealing with the trip to the cottage would be fun. This was the genesis of The Road Trip Board Game.

Two kids playing a board game

My grandsons, like most boys, are infatuated with road construction and maintenance equipment, trucks, and emergency vehicles. The board game takes advantage of this interest as well as their love of the cottage.

The game involves drawing cards and rolling a single die to move around the board. The players would encounter problems at different squares on the board and they can only get past the obstacle if they have the correct card such as:

  • A Fire Engine to put out a fire;
  • A Snow Plow to clear the snow drift;
  • A Bridge to get across a river;
  • An Excavator to remove a rock slide;
  • A Transporter to go to the end of a Detour; or
  • A Road Crew to repair a broken road.

You may also have a breakdown and have to go back to the nearest Garage for repairs.

There is a strategic element to the game because you can only pick 3 cards at the start and then pick a new card each time you play one. The trick is to look ahead on the board and pick cards that can help you to bypass obstacles that you might hit on your next roll.

To win the game you have to land exactly on the Big Hawk Lake Marina and hold a Pontoon Boat card to get to the cottage.

Pontoon boat

It took the Grandboys a while to catch on, but now they are experts at navigating The Road Trip to the Cottage and still play it after several years. I am sure they will introduce the game to their little cousin once she is old enough to play.

Written by Bob Hodgins, October 2020
Edited by Joan Hamilton