Monday, March 13, 2017

You Have Died Of Insufficient Spending On Infrastructure

A friend came to visit over the weekend and brought some board games, including the Oregon Trail card game. Where you try to reenact the frustration of the simulation of the pioneer's life, without the hassle of an ancient computer.

You lay out the Start and End cards a few feet away, and then each person in your party takes turns laying out a Trail Card. Each card is supposed to be turned so that the section of Trail drawn on it lines up with the end of the Trail on the previous card laid down. This caused the greatest amount of difficulty for us, because we almost got to the end, and there were multiple players with no cards that lined up, and none left in the draw pile. So we lumped all the remaining cards together and just drew through them until we found one that worked, rather than die because these pioneers, having traveled to at least somewhere in eastern Oregon, had decided they weren't going to forge any further..

If you're lucky, the Trail Card doesn't cause any trouble. But most of them require you to "hit spacebar", meaning draw a calamity card. And then your party has to fix the calamity, if they have the resources, and if they want to. The game does give you the option to, for example, let someone die of cholera if you don't wish to expend your supplies on them. We tried not to go that route, but one member of the party did die of cholera. Most of the Calamity Cards are the type that could kill the whole party if not resolved, though. Sick oxen, busted axle, but they typically give you one round to fix it, or until the next time you draw the same Calamity Card. We did need to shuffle them better, that's how our party member died. We drew back-to-back Cholera cards, and that was it for Mary.

I imagine with more actual players (we created a team of 6, but it was two of us controlling three characters each), it'd be a little more interesting. Lots of complaining and bribes to get people to give you what you need to not die. Even with two people, it was entertaining, and not difficult to pick up once it got going.


SallyP said...

This actually sounds rather intriguing.

CalvinPitt said...

It has its moments. I don't really remember the old computer game well, so I don't know if this card game is more or less frustrating than the computer version was.