Mountain Pursuit

by Ken Mitchell

| Instructional Objective | Learners & Context | Object of Game | Game Materials |

| Time Required | Rules | Design Process | Board Layout | References |

Instructional Objective

This game will allow learners to apply basic mountaineering, first aid, and historical knowledge in a safe, educational setting. The learners will be allowed to make typical real-life choices that will affect the outcome of their progress through the game. The learners will realize that the difference between safe hiking, and even life and death stems from the decisions that are made while hiking on a mountain. Many of the decisions a hiker needs to make are very simple but can yield drastic results given certain circumstances.

Learners & Context of Use

This game is designed for 2 - 4 players ages 14 and up who are interested in hiking and basic mountaineering.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is simple: be the first to hike up to the summit of Mount Washington and come back down.

Game Materials

  • Game Board
  • 4 Game Pieces
  • Six sided die
  • 1 stack of Event Cards

Time Required

A game for two players will take approximately 45 minutes, while a game for four players will take approximately one and a half hours. This is dependent on the how well the players can apply their knowledge of the subject matter. If players cannot answer the questions, the game will take longer.

The Rules


1. Open the game board and shuffle the event cards. Place the event cards with the event/question side down in the space provided on the game board.

2. Each player selects a playing piece.



1. Each player rolls the dice to see who goes first. The highest roll goes first, with the player to their left (clock-wise) going next. This is called the playing order.

2. The players choose a trailhead to start, in playing order. Only one person per trailhead is allowed.

3. In playing order, each player rolls a dice and moves their playing piece the corresponding amount of spaces on the trail. For example, if Player One rolls a 5 on the die, they would move their playing piece five places on the game board.

4. Once arriving at a new space, the player opposite of them must draw the top event card and read what the card says. If there are questions, the player who's turn it is must attempt to answer the question with the color code that corresponds to the game board space their playing piece is on. For example, if Player One lands on a red space, they must answer the question with the red dot next to it.

5. There are four colors on the board: Blue (easiest) , Green (easier), Yellow (hard) and Red (hardest). Some colors will generally have easier questions than other colors.

6. If the event card does not contain a question, the player who's turn it is must follow the directions of the card. Some cards affect all players and the instructions must be followed immediately whether it is a player's turn or not.

7. After the card has been read, place the card on the bottom of the deck.

8. If the player answers the question correctly, they may take another turn. If they do not answer the question correctly, game play moves on to the next player.

9. When a player is near the summit, they must land on the summit with and exact roll of the die.

10. A person must answer a question when on top of the summit. If a non-question card is drawn, place the card in the bottom of the deck. A player must answer a question correctly before they can move off of the summit.

11. More than one player may be on the summit at one time.

12. A player can not go down the same trail that they came up. They must choose a new trail.

13. A player does not need an exact die roll to reach the trailhead and end the game.

14. If all the cards are used during normal game play, shuffle the deck.

15. Some trails are longer, but are easier than the shorter trails.

Design Process

The first version of this game was very complex. It included carrying supplies such as food and water, restocking those supplies, keeping track of how much weight you were carrying, etc. Throughout the entire design process I've had a difficult time trying to keep the game as realistic as possible, but playable. The two seem to be diametrically opposed in terms of complexity. The game board went through similar revisions. The first version had many trails that allowed various routes up to the top of Mt. Washington. This wound up more confusing than helpful.

This game is obviously very close to Trivial Pursuit. I included other elements that built upon the Trivial Pursuit model: varying levels of difficulty based on route and question type. Also, approximately 25% of the event cards are not questions, but are situations that effect either the player, or all players.

Background information was easily obtainable from my personal experience and from a few reference books that provided information for specific content areas such as wilderness first aid and history.

The prototype went through a few different revisions that mostly effected the game board. Getting the color combinations for each trail took some time and play testing. I'm still not sure that the easy and hard trails are at the proper level of difficulty.

Developing this game from an already existing game saved me a lot of time, but also added more work. Trivial pursuit gave me a great, and accepted model to work from, but I had to put in extra design time to keep this game from becoming a copy of Trivial Pursuit.

Board Layout


Event Cards

Card Sample #1

Red: Your friend is complaining of really bad pain in his eyes after spending a full day of winter hiking. What injury might your friend have?

Answer: Snow blindness

Yellow: While hiking above treeline, you see many piles of rocks stacked about five feet high along the trail. What are these rocks called and what are they used for?

Answer: These rocks are called cairns. They are used to guide hikers when the snow is very deep.

Green: What is Giardia and how might you get it?

Answer: Giardia is an internal parasite that causes severe stomach pain. You get it by drinking polluted mountain stream water.

Blue: True or false: The wind speed on Mount Washington has blown over 100 mph every month of the year.

Answer: True


Card Sample #2

High winds and white-out conditions. Every player must immediately retreat to the closest shelter or below treeline.


Card Sample #3

You have twisted your ankle. Stay in the current space and loose the remainder of this turn.



  • Appalachian Mountain Club. (1988). AMC Guide to Mount Washington and the Presidential Range. Boston: Appalachian Mountain Club.
  • Gorman, Stephen. (1991). AMC Guide to Winter Camping. Boston: Appalachian Mountain Club.




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Last updated October 23, 2000