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How to Play Summer Camp (2021) Board Game (Rules and Instructions)

How to Play Summer Camp (2021) Board Game (Rules and Instructions)

Released back in 2021, Summer Camp was designed by Phil Walker-Harding. In the game you get to relive your memories of summer camp. You will compete against the other players in traditional summer camp activities in order to earn badges. This involves creating your own deck of cards which will help you in the various activities. The ultimate goal of Summer Camp is to try and score more points than the other players.


Year: 2021 | Publisher: Buffalo Games | Designer: Phil Walker-Harding | Artist: Adam Grason

Genres: Deck Building, Family

Ages: 10+ | Number of Players: 2-4 | Length of Game: 30-45 minutes

Difficulty: Light-Moderate | Strategy: Light-Moderate | Luck: Light-Moderate

Components: 7 Activity Packs (28 cards and 4 badges), 64 Base Cards, 6 Merit Badges, 1 Lake Game Board, 9 Path Boards, 24 Snack Bar Tokens, 1 Starting Camper Patch, 4 Player Boards, 12 Pawns (3 of each color), instructions

Where to Purchase: Amazon, eBay Any purchases made through these links (including other products) help keep Geeky Hobbies running. Thank you for your support.


Objective of Summer Camp

The objective of Summer Camp is to acquire merit badges to earn more experience points than the other players.

Setup for Summer Camp

Setting Up the Gameboard and Tokens

  • Setup the map board in the middle of the table. Place the lake board on the top. Then place the nine path boards in a 3×3 grid below the lake board. You can place the path boards in any order that you want. The paths should move from the left to the right though.
Board Setup
  • Take the three participation and all-star merit badges from the box. Place them on the corresponding spots on the lake board. You should place them in order with the highest value on the top. The number of badges you should place on the space depends on the number of players. The Lake Board shows how many of each type of badge that you will use. Any badges not used (due to the number of players) are returned to the box.
Badges Setup in Summer Camp

Setting Up Activities

  • Choose three of the seven activities to use in the game. The game recommends using cooking, outdoors and water sports for your first game.
  • Remove the smaller boxes from the main box for the activities you chose to use.
  • For each activity remove the corresponding merit badges from the box. You will place these merit badges at the end of one of the three paths (it doesn’t matter which path you choose for each activity). You will place a number of badges depending on the number of players. The highest numbered badge will be placed on the top of the stack, followed by the next highest, and so on. Any merit badges not used will be returned to their corresponding box.
    • Four players: 12, 10, 8, and 6 badges
    • Three players: 10, 8, and 6 badges
    • Two players: 10 and 6 badges
Place Activity Badges in Summer Camp
  • For each chosen activity remove the cards from their box. Each deck of cards will have four “move 1 space” cards. Set these cards cards aside.
Move One Space Cards in Summer Camp
  • The rest of the cards from each activity deck are shuffled. Each deck will be placed on the left side of the path that the corresponding merit badges were placed next to. Turn over the top two cards from the deck and place them face up next to the draw pile.
Setup for Activity Cards
  • From the base set of cards, set aside the 28 “lights out!” cards. Sort the rest of the cards by their type. These piles will be placed to the right of the merit badges placed next to the paths.
Base Cards Setup

Individual Player Setup

  • Each player chooses a color. They will take the three pawns and the player board corresponding to the color they chose.
  • Players will place one of their pawns on each of the paths. Where the pawns are placed depends on the number of players.
    • Two players – To the left of the first space on the path (off the path).
    • Three players – On the first space of each path.
    • Four players – On the third space of each path.
Setup Pawns in Summer Camp
  • Each player takes a snack bar token. The rest of the tokens are put into a supply pile that everyone can reach.
  • Randomly choose someone to be the start player. The start player takes the starting camper patch to indicate that they are the start player.

Players Starting Decks and Hands

Each player will form their starting deck as follows:

  • Seven lights out! cards
  • One move 1 space card from each the three chosen activities.
Starting Deck
This will be the starting deck for each player if you play with the water sports, outdoors, and cooking activity decks.

Each player will shuffle their cards and place them face down to form their draw pile.

Any remaining lights out! and move 1 space cards are returned to their corresponding boxes.

The players will draw cards to form their starting hand. Starting with the first player and moving clockwise, players will draw the following number of cards:

  • Three cards
  • Four cards
  • Five cards
  • Six cards
Starting Hand in Summer Camp
This is the second player’s starting hand.

Players can look at their own hands, but should not show their cards to the other players.

Playing Summer Camp

The starting player will take the first turn in Summer Camp. Play will then proceed clockwise around the table.

On your turn you can take two different actions.

  • Play A Card
  • Buy A Card

You can take these two actions in any order, and can take the actions multiple times

Play A Card

When you play a card, you can play it for one of two effects.

  • You can play a card for the action written on the card.
Play Card for Effect
The current player has decided to play the Kitchen Chores card. This will move their cooking path pawn forward one space.
  • Otherwise you can play a card for one energy that you can use to buy a card.
Play Cards for Energy
This player has played these three Lights Out! cards for energy. They will receive three energy from the cards.

When you play a card, you will place it above your player board so all of the players can see it.

If the card lets you draw a card, you will take cards from your draw pile. There is no limit to the number of cards you may have in your hand at a time. If the draw pile runs out of cards, you will shuffle the discard pile to form a new draw pile.

If a card moves one of your pawns, you will move the pawn corresponding to the path indicated on the card. You will move your pawn to the right the number of spaces specified on the card. Any number of pawns may occupy the same space.

Move Pawn
After playing the Kitchen Chores card, the teal player moved their pawn forward one space on the cooking path.

If you move onto or through a space with a bonus icon, you will immediately receive a bonus. You can earn multiple bonuses if you move through multiple bonus icons at the same time. The bonuses you can acquire are as follows:

Bonus Icon Draw Card

Draw one card from your draw pile and add it to your hand.

Bonus Icon Snack Bar

Take one snack bar token from the supply and place it on the corresponding spot on your player board. You may only have six snack bar tokens at a time.

Bonus Icon Movement Symbol

Immediately move one of your pawns (your choice) forward one space on its path. If this moves a pawn to another space with a bonus icon, you will take that bonus as well.

Buy A Card

At any time during your turn you may buy one of the nine face up cards in the middle of the table. The cost to purchase the card is shown in the bottom left corner of the card. By playing cards you will acquire energy which you can use to pay for the card’s cost.

When you purchase a card, it will be placed face up in your discard pile.

You may buy as many cards as you want on your turn. All energy you acquire on your turn can only be used during your current turn. All energy that isn’t spent will be lost.

Buy Card in Summer Camp
This player has decided to buy the Marshmallows card for three energy.

If the s’mores, scavenger hunt or free time decks run out of cards, you will no longer be able to purchase those cards.

During the game you will acquire snack bar tokens. At any time during your turn you may spend these tokens in order to gain energy to purchase cards. Each token will give you one energy. Snack bar tokens can be saved to be used on future turns. You may only have a maximum of six snack bar tokens at one time.

End of Turn

When you are done playing and buying cards, your turn will end. Before the next player takes their turn, the following actions must be taken.

You will place all of the cards from your hand as well as those you played during your turn face up on your discard pile.

Draw five cards from your draw pile to form your hand for your next turn. If there are not five cards left in your draw pile, you will shuffle your discard pile to form a new draw pile.

If you bought any activity cards during your turn, you will reveal new cards to replace the cards that you purchased. The new cards will be taken from the same activity deck(s) that you purchased the card(s) from. If the corresponding activity deck no longer has any cards, you will not replace the card that was purchased.

Finally you will check to see if you earned a merit badge (see below).

After you have taken all of these actions, the next player clockwise will take their turn.

Merit Badges in Summer Camp

As you move your pawns forward on the paths, you can earn merit badges.

Once you move all three of your pawns on to or to the right of the first bridge, you will take the most valuable participation badge remaining on the lake board.

If you move all three of your pawns on to or past the second bridge, you will take the most valuable all-star badge remaining on the lake board.

When you move your pawn to the final bridge space on a path, you will take the highest valued badge remaining for that activity (to the right of the path). Once a pawn has reached the final space on a path, it can no longer be moved.

When you collect badges, you will place them on one of the circle spaces on your player board.

End of Summer Camp

The game will end when one of the players has collected the merit badge for each of the three activities (each of their pawns are at the end of the path). If all of the players haven’t had the same number of turns, the remaining players will take one last turn. The game will end when it becomes the start player’s turn again.

End of Game in Summer Camp
The purple player has gotten all of their pawns to the last space on each of the paths. This will trigger the end game.

Each player will then determine their final score.

You will score points equal to the number printed on each of the merit badges you earned during the game.

Scoring in Summer Camp
During the game this player received these four badges. They will score a total of 34 points from their badges.

Look at the cards in your deck which includes your hand, draw deck, and discard pile. Add up the numbers inside the star icons in the bottom right corner of each of your cards.

Scoring in Summer Camp
One of the players acquired these cards during the game. They will score fifteen points for these cards.

Finally you will score points for each of your pawns that did not reach the final bridge. The lake board displays a number for each of the final spaces. You will score points equal to the space that each pawn made it to.

Scoring in Summer Camp
The yellow and teal players couldn’t reach the end of this path. The teal player will score five points for their pawn. The yellow player will receive three points.

The player that scores the most total points wins the game. If there is a tie, the tied player with the most snack bar tokens wins.

Summer Camp Cards

This is a list of all of the Summer Camp cards in each of the activity decks, and what each card does.

Basic Cards in Summer Camp

Summer Camp Base Cards

Free Time: Move one space on any of the paths.

Lights Out!: This card has no special effect. It can only be played in order to gain one energy.

Scavenger Hunt: Choose between one and three cards from your hand to discard. Draw the same number of cards from the draw pile, and add them to your hand.

S’mores: Gain two energy to spend on your turn.

Adventure Cards in Summer Camp

Adventure Cards

Archery: Move your pawn forward two spaces on the adventure path.

Cave Exploration: Choose one of the three activity draw piles. Take the top card from the chosen draw pile and add it to the top of your discard pile. You will not have to spend any energy to acquire the card.

Climbing Wall: Choose any of the nine face up cards in the middle of the table that cost six energy or less. Add the chosen card to the top of your discard pile, without spending any energy.

Mountain Biking: Move your pawn forward three spaces on the adventure path.

Ropes Course: Choose one of the nine face up cards in the middle of the table that costs five energy or less. The card will be added to the top of your draw pile without you having to use any of your energy.

Tire Swing: Move your pawn forward one space on the adventure path.

Zip Lining: Choose one of the nine face up cards in the middle of the table that cost four energy or less. You will add the chosen card to your hand without spending any energy. As the card was added to your hand, you can play it immediately.

Arts and Crafts Cards in Summer Camp

Arts and Crafts Cards

Bird Feeder: When using snack bar tokens this turn, they will be worth two energy instead of one. Playing multiple bird feeder cards on the same turn has no additional effect.

Boondoggle: Move your pawn forward one space on the arts and crafts path.

Ceramics: Move your pawn forward two spaces on the arts and crafts path.

God’s Eye: Discard two snack bar tokens. You will then move the pawn of your choice forward one space. If you land on a bonus icon, take the corresponding action. You can take this action up to three times on your turn.

Leatherwork: Move you pawn forward three spaces on the arts and crafts path.

Macaroni Sculpture: Discard one card from your hand and take three snack bar tokens from the supply. You may take this action twice on your turn.

Tie Dye: Discard one card from your hand and then move forward one space on any of the paths. If you land on a bonus icon, you will get to take the special action. You can take this action twice on your turn.

Cooking Cards in Summer Camp

Cooking Cards

Bacon and Eggs: Gain three energy that you can spend this turn.

Fire Making: Move your pawn forward two spaces on the cooking path.

Hot Cocoa: Gain three snack bar tokens from the supply.

Kitchen Chores: Move your pawn forward one space on the cooking path.

Marshmallows: Gain two snack bar tokens from the supply.

Pizza Making: Move your pawn forward three spaces on the cooking path.

Stew: Gain four energy that you can spend this turn.

Friendship Cards in Summer Camp

Friendship Cards

Cabin Loyalty: Move your pawn forward two spaces on the friendship path.

Candy Stash: Gain three snack bar tokens from the supply. All of the other players gain one snack bar token from the supply.

Friendship Bracelet: Draw three cards from your draw pile and add them to your hand. After playing the card, you must add it to the top of another player’s discard pile. You get to choose which player you want to give the card to. The card now belongs to that player.

New Friend: Move your pawn forward one space on the friendship path.

Pen Pals: Move your pawn forward three spaces on the friendship path.

Secret Admirer: Gain five energy to spend this turn. After playing the card, you must put the card on the top of another player’s discard pile. You can choose which player to give the card to. They now own the card.

Sing-Along: Draw two cards from your draw pile and add them to your hand. The rest of the players will draw one card and add it to their hand.

Games Cards in Summer Camp

Games Cards

Capture the Flag: Move one space forward on any path. If you land on a bonus icon space, take the corresponding action. Should the pawn belonging to the player on your right be on the space you move to, draw two snack bars from the supply.

Color War: Move your pawn forward three spaces on the games path.

Dodgeball: Draw two cards from your draw pile and add them to your hand. All of the other players must choose one of the cards from their hand to discard.

Parachute Games: Move your pawn forward two spaces on the games path.

Tag: Move one space forward on one of the paths. If you land on a bonus icon space, take the corresponding action. If you land on a space that the pawn belonging to the player on your right is on, draw one card from your draw pile and add it to your hand.

Tetherball: Move your pawn forward one space on the games path.

Tug-O-War: Take two snack bar tokens from the supply. All of your opponents will have to discard one snack bar token if they have one.

Outdoors Cards in Summer Camp

Outdoors Cards

Bird Watching: Draw three cards from your draw pile and add them to your hand. Then choose three cards from your hand to discard (you can discard cards you just drew).

Camping Trip: Move your pawn forward three spaces on the outdoors path.

Flashlight: Draw two cards from your draw pile and add them to your hand.

Hiking: Move your pawn forward two spaces on the outdoors path.

Nature Walk: Move your pawn forward one space on the outdoors path.

Plant Identification: Look through your discard pile and choose one card to add to your hand. You may play this card immediately.

Pocket Knife: Draw three cards from your draw pile and add them to your hand.

Water Sports Cards in Summer Camp

Water Sports Cards

Canoeing: Move your pawn forward two spaces on the water sports path.

Fishing: Move a pawn forward one space on any one path. If you land on a bonus icon, take the corresponding action. If you land on a bridge space, draw one card from your draw pile.

Sailing: Move your pawn forward three spaces on the water sports path.

Swim Practice: Move one space forward on the path that you have moved forward the least on (move the pawn that is the furthest back). If two or more pawns are tied for furthest back, choose one of those pawns to move. If you land on a bonus icon, take the corresponding action.

Water Blob: Move one of your pawns forward two spaces on one of the paths. If you land on or move past any bonus icons, take the corresponding actions.

Water Safety: Move your pawn forward one space on the water sports path.

Water Skiing: Move one space forward on the path that you have progressed the furthest on. If multiple pawns are tied for having moved the furthest, choose one of those pawns to move. Should you land on a bonus icon, take the corresponding action. If you have a pawn on the final bridge space, this will count as your furthest pawn. Since it can’t move any further, the card won’t do anything.

Summer Camp (2021) Board Game Review - Geeky Hobbies

Friday 1st of July 2022

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