2023 State of the Underdog: Our Year in Review

2023 State of the Underdog: Our Year in Review

Hasan Hasmani Hasan Hasmani

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Underdog Games celebrated its 5-year anniversary in 2023! It's been a journey filled with stumbles, growth, mistakes, and successes. We're grateful for the opportunity to create games and we aim to improve every year. 2023 was a banner year for Underdog Games and we have a lot of exciting updates for 2024 & beyond.
One of our goals for 2024 is to enhance our transparency and communication and we’re starting off by reviewing our 2023 and talking about our upcoming projects.

Please leave comments below the post with any ideas/criticisms/notes. We’d love to hear from you.

2023 Key Updates:

Positive Reception for Trekking Through History: The feedback for Trekking Through History throughout 2023 was overwhelmingly positive. As someone who always dreamt of being a history teacher, creating an engaging game around the subject was a dream come true.
We were fortunate to win the MENSA award in 2023 and receive a nomination for Light Game of the Year on BGG, while receiving high ratings across the board. Our aim is to create strategic games that are easy to play and provide a great first-player experience and with Trekking Through History, we feel as we hit the mark.
Internationally, the game is available in 6 languages and will be launching in 14 more in 2024. We're now focused on increasing awareness of the game and expanding its reach. Now we're waiting to see if it gets nominated for a Spiel Des Jahres award in Germany!
100,000 Copies of Trekking the National Parks Sold: 2023 was the best year for Trekking the National Parks, five years after its launch. Our focus now is to establish this game as a household name in the United States, and grow the Trekking line with it.

Incredibly, we hit #1 Best Seller on Amazon for board games on Cyber Monday, a huge accomplishment for all of us at Underdog. Thank you so much for continuing to support the game.
National Geographic Collaboration: We were thrilled to sign a licensing deal with National Geographic. With the launch of Secret Clue and Scavenger Hunt aimed at younger kids, we are planning to create more strategic games similar to our Trekking series for the coming years.
Advisors and Playtesting Group Growth: We cherish feedback from our fans and aim to create games in collaboration with them. Our advisors group has grown to 2,500 members and our playtesting list includes around 1,000 people. We’d love to get more of our audience into the advisors group so please join!


Lifetime Games Sold by Underdog Games 

  • Trekking the National Parks: 409,616
  • Trekking the World: 147,312
  • Trekking Through History: 55,723
  • Herstory: 18,835
  • Secret Clue: 4,583
  • Scavenger Hunt: 5,429

Mistakes and Regrets:

Herstory: We were excited to create Herstory with a team of amazing women advising us. Despite our excitement, there were a few missteps that led to its lack of success in the first print run. We are currently considering ways to improve for the second print run.
  1. The cover is too serious; it should inspire more fun.
  2. The gameplay is too simple; it should have more variety, more opportunity for big moments.
We hope to release a 2nd edition of Herstory, provided there's enough interest, and address these issues. We welcome ideas on how to improve the game.
Trekking Through History Cover: This was a topic of debate within the company. While it's one of our most beloved covers, we decided to change it due to its branding being so different from Trekking the World and Trekking the National Parks. In the long term, we believe this is the best decision for the Trekking line.

2024 Roadmap:


Trekking the World 2nd Edition Kickstarter in Late Summer/Fall 2024! This is a huge announcement for us. Trekking the world was launched in 2018 and has been an amazing continuation of what the Trekking Brand is supposed to be about, exploration and curiosity. As someone that is passionate about travel, it was incredible to create a game that inspired others to travel and made the world feel smaller/more connected.
Since we launched Trekking the World, we’ve spent years learning how to be better designers and really took those learnings and applied them to the 2nd edition. This was one of the toughest decisions we’ve made as a company because we love the game and we know we have so many fans that love the game. We want to make the ultimate world-travel game that will hopefully sustain the tests of time and be on tables 50 years from now. We knew we had to go back and re-design from scratch to make that happen.
What we have know is a completely new Trekking the World which we’re calling Trekking the World 2nd Edition. It will feature the same maps, the same art on the cards, but reinvented gameplay.
We will still be selling the 1st edition of Trekking the World in 2024 as we deliver the 2nd edition Kickstarter, be sure to snag those up if you’re someone that loves the 1st edition and wants to gift or have an extra copy. It is and always will be a great game we’re very proud of.
We’ll be putting our more content about what we changed, why we changed it, and some behind-the-scenes of creating the 2nd edition throughout the year.

Trekking the National Parks:

3rd Edition for Trekking the National Parks (+ SOLO MODE!) – We’re launching a 3rd edition of Trekking the National Parks featuring small tweaks to gameplay and some language changes based on tons of customer feedback. Some stuff we’re editing:
Hint: you’ll finally be able to use the bear meeple in solo mode
  • The terminology actions Claim a Park Card, and Occupy a Major Park will be updated to: Explore a Park, and Camp at a Major Park
  • The Most and 2nd Most stone bonus cards will be removed and replaced with an updated stone scoring system
  • Adding a solo mode!
  • Adding a scorepad
  • Board and card components will be slightly smaller to save table space (9 x 9 vs 10 x 10)

New Expansion (Compatible with 2nd Edition + 3rd Edition)

This is a long-time coming but we’re finally creating a Trekking the National Parks Expansion. We’ll be keeping the details secret for now, but keep an eye out on future emails to hear more about it.

You'll be able to play this with both the 2nd and 3rd edition of Trekking the National Parks. 

For all existing customers of Trekking the National Parks: We’ll roll out all the updates for the 3rd edition as digital files that you can print if you’d like to use the solo mode or play with the slightly altered rules. The expansion will work for both editions. We’ve also done a cover redesign for Trekking with Eric Hibbeler, the artist who did all of Trekking through History Art!

Here’s a preview of the new cover which is launching later this year.

Trekking the National Parks 3rd Edition Box Cover

    Trekking Through History Expansion (ETA: Summer 2025): We’re still working out some ideas of what we want the Trekking Through History expansions to look like. Balance of focusing on gameplay or new events is up in the air. Hope to release the first one in 2025.
    Let us know via email if you have any expansion ideas.
    Trekking the Cosmos (ETA: Unknown): Look, we really want to make a Cosmos game. We’re just having a hard time nailing down the exact concept we love. Representing space on a board is super difficult, and we also want to give an ode to the history of science that’s been involved in space travel. Doing both is a challenge we haven’t figured out. Our head of studio Nick is excited to take another crack at it, and definitely join the advisors group if you’d like to playtest and provide feedback in the upcoming years.

    PART 2: National Park Gift Line

    The company originally was built on the love of National Parks and being curious. As we’ve developed more board games, we’ve always wanted to find cool ways to memorialize and honor the National Parks as well.
    We started this last year by creating our very own National Park deck of cards. It sold out within a few months, and we were surprised by the interest in our non-game products. We've spent the past few months thinking about what we would want as fans of the National Parks and started developing these 3 ideas:
    • Canvas Map of the Parks (24 x 16)
    • Tote Bag
    • Beanie

    Here's the canvas map as a reference:

    Here's one version of the tote bag we're considering:

    Future ideas:

    • Calendar
    • Water Bottle
    • Journal
    • Candles
    • Help us figure out cool designs, concepts, criticisms, etc.

    If you have any interest in National Park products, sign up here to join our advisor group. We’ll be sharing those concepts there. You’ll get discount codes on launch as a thank you to helping us guide what the future products are going to be! We’d love to hear if you have any awesome ideas that we can turn into a reality.


    Prototype Petri Dish: Game ideas we're toying with but haven't green-lit.

    • Photography game focused on the mechanics of taking the perfect picture
    • National Parks game with individual trails on each page
    • Trekking Through Europe
    • Herstory 2nd Edition
    • World's Greatest Mysteries
    • UFO Investigator

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