This is a very interesting game that a lot of kids in the 80's played on their Apple computers in their classrooms. But for us older folks who only knew computers that filled up whole rooms, this game is very relaxing and builds knowledge. The game is set in the 1800's and you are family traveling the Oregon Trail. The object of the game is to get yourself and your family to the destination of your choice healthy and alive. You will receive points for this and many other things in the game.
The game comes with a story that is being read to you from the Montgomery Family Diary. But you can bypass the story and just play the game by hitting "enter" any time it goes to the story. Once you have heard the story once, it can be annoying to listen to every time. You start the game by first choosing a name for your self and the members of your party, then you pick an occupation and year you want to travel, then your starting point and then your destination. The great thing about this is that you have more than one starting point and more than one destination. Depending on where you start and where you plan on ending up makes a big difference in your journey. If you start from a large town then you will find that you have more choices and better prices because of more stores.
Next you go into town and buy the supplies you will need to make your journey. You need to remember that you will only be hitting outposts that will carry minimal supplies on your journey. So stocking up at the beginning of the game will get you far. Once you have bought your supplies, you will be able to set off on your journey. The first thing you will do is choose a wagon train to join. You don't want to join too large a wagon train or too small of one.
Once you are on the trail, you will be able to hunt and fish and gather. This is my favorite part. I loved learning about the different wild plants that you could gather and eat. To my amazement on a recent drive and walk up in the Rockies with my 7-8 year old grandsons, they were able to identify and find wild roses and wild raspberry bushes just from the game. My grandsons loved being able to hunt the different animals and learning about how much meat they could reasonably carry. It also teaches conservation when you know that if you hunt and get, say, a deer, a bear and a buffalo that most of that meat will be wasted. Now I did find one trick to this, buy salt at the beginning of the journey and the meat and fish you catch will be preserved and you will be able to hunt whenever you want.
Now traveling the trail is not as easy as it sounds, you will have rivers to ford and meet obstacles along the way. You will come down with illness and you will need to know what medicines to give, there will be injuries that will need to be attended to and you will need to make sure that you stop and rest because even though the goal is to get to your destination, you also need to arrive with all members of you party intact or you lose points. You will also have to watch your times of year and temperatures. The first time I played this game, we were having so much fun hunting and fishing that we took way to much time and we got snowbound and died on our trip to Oregon City. You will also have broken wagon parts and delays due to weather conditions. You will meet strangers along the trail which will tell you their stories and will give you advice and with whom you can trade. You can also get advise from fellow members of your wagon train by asking them to give you advice.
Although simple in its concept, it is fun to play and the graphics and music can be quite uplifting. Included in the game is a diary where you can write about your adventure and has a feature so that you can save your diary to help you the next time you play the game. Each game is different even if you pick the same starting point and destination so this game really does not get boring easily. I recommend this game for young children, grandparents (especially those interested in genealogy), young adults studying American History or anyone who would like some old fashioned adventure in their lives.
I give this game a 10 for graphics and sound and a 10 for easy game play and it also wins "Nana's Wholesome Award" for no un-necessary violence. Also this game company has a series of games with other Trails you can follow such as the Yukon Trail and the Amazon Trail. I have ordered and am currently waiting for Amazon Trail and will let you know how it rates.