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How To Play Trails Of Tucana

trails of tucana

Trails of Tucana is a flip and write game all about making paths between matching villages across an island whilst also trying to score points by connecting villages to the sights. It is one of my favourite games and I teach it to new players whenever I can. If you haven’t played it before this blog will help you to get ready for a game quicker than you can say ‘oooh what’s that over there?’

Set Up

Give each player a player sheet and they must all be facing the same way up (Isla Petit for a quick game or Isla Grande for a longer game). Shuffle the terrain cards and form a stack face down. Shuffle the set up cards and draw one.

The lead player (called the Mayor) reads out the letters in the order they are written on the set up card. Each player starts from a different position on their map (the mayor in village 1, the next player in village 2 etc) and they write the letters as they are called out in a clockwise order. This way no two players will have the same villages in the same position.

The final part of set up is getting the correct set of blue bonus cards laid out. For a 2 to 4 player game you use the cards with a number 1 in the corner. For a 5 to 8 player game you take the number 2 cards and place them under each of the number 1 cards so they match their destinations (A-A, B-B, etc).

You are now ready to discover these beautiful islands and map out some paths.

Let’s Play

Each turn the mayor will reveal 2 terrain cards (desert, forest, water, rocks, any) and lay them on the table for all players to see. Then all players simultaneously draw a straight line from the middle of one of these terrains to a neighbouring terrain matching the other card.

After everyone has drawn their line another 2 cards are revealed and placed face up for players to draw another line. You may draw your lines anywhere on the map as long as they meet the current terrain cards. In the very unusual case that you cannot use the current terrain cards then you skip a turn, however this has not happened in any of my games I have ever played (over 100).

You continue like this until there is only one card left in the draw stack which indicates it is the end of the round.

So Much To See

On the map there are numerous sights to find (obelisk, books, toucan, body building cat?, sea dragon). When you connect one of these sights to any village you circle the points next to its picture in the top right of the player sheet. If you connect 1 more of the same type in the Isla Petit or 2 more for the Isla Grande you get a bonus of drawing 1 free road using any terrains.

When you connect two same numbered villages across the island (so a continuous path between A and A as an example) you announce this to the group and then circle the blue points next to the connection. If you were the first person to connect these two villages you also take the bonus blue card and note the points in the yellow box (in a 5 to 8 player game there are also points for achieving this in second place)

Round End & Final Scoring

When the draw pile has only 1 card left the round ends. All players then look to see how many points they scored for their sights up to this point and add the total number in the top orange box (bottom right of the player sheet). You then shuffle the cards and play 1 more round for the Isla Petit or 2 more rounds for the Isla Grande. At the end of each round you score your current sights totals again so grabbing those sights early to score them numerous times is the way to go.

Once the game has finished you total all of your scores noted in the sights boxes, blue village to village bonuses, any bonus scores for reaching the villages first and then the player with the highest score wins. In the event of a tie the tied player with the most bonuses wins.

Variants & Options

Trails of Tucana includes an option to include a special scoring objective. The red bonus cards give extra points for connecting two of the same sights first (example an obelisk to an obelisk). In a 2 to 4 player game you use one of these and with a 5 to 8 players you use two.

The game also includes options for a more random set up of villages or a counter clockwise set up or even a symmetry where everyone’s villages are on the same space on the map.

Finally there is a solo variant where there is a score table you are trying to beat and during the game some of the bonuses for pairing villages are reduced (you also use the number 2 blue bonus cards).


I hope this has helped you to learn the rules and how Trails of Tucana plays. Obviously I would always recommend people use the official rule book to learn the rules in depth but this blog should give you a really good flavour of how the game flows.

I really enjoy the game and if you want to find me on twitter to discuss how brilliant Trails of Tucana is please do @boardgamehappy.