I’ve been testing having players leave tracks as a solution for the dominance of the end run. So far it’s working well. The end run seems to be quite a bit more difficult, and the consequences of the tracks are impossible to ignore.
As is always the way in testing, I’ve found some circumstances where the rules as written lead to weird outcomes. Two minor revisions fix the problems; I’ve bolded them below.
Whenever a player token leaves any space in columns 1-5 or 16-20, the player must place a direction marker in the space from which the token departed, facing the direction in which the token went. Whenever a searcher covers one or more spaces which are marked in this way, it immediately turns to face the direction marked. (If the searcher has more than one direction to choose from, it chooses the direction in the space closest to the “top” of the board. If multiple spaces with a direction marked in them are equally close to the “top” of the board, the searcher chooses the direction in the space closest to the center of the board among those options.) If the searcher has not yet finished moving, it continues moving in the new direction. Whenever a searcher covers one or more direction markers, it removes those markers after making any necessary change in facing.
(This solves a problem whereby searchers could get stuck at the edge of the board; they would try to move away, encounter a direction marker pointing back toward the edge, turn around to face the edge again, and just bounce back and forth. Oops!)
If a player leaves a space which already has a direction marker, remove the old marker and replace it with a new one showing the direction in which the player’s token left the space.
A searcher with a captured player token ignores direction markers.
(Once a player is captured, the rest of the team is supposed to be on a clock. If the searcher with the captured player goes off to try to make more captures, it could remove the intended time pressure.)