From the Video Screen to the Table Top: The Oregon Trail

There is nothing more nostalgic than seeing something that you grew up on now as a card game.


For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, The Oregon Trail was a series of educational computer games that taught kids what is was like in the mid 1800’s. Just like in video game, the card game introduces you to all of the trials and tribulations of the treacherous journey from Independence, Missouri to the destination of Willamette Valley, Oregon.


This is a 2 to 6 player table top game that will last from 25 to 30 minutes and has a range rating of 12+.


I met up at the shop with local legend and fellow gamer Timothy Cox to crack open the box and learn how to play this instant classic. Both Tim and I agreed that the more people you get the merrier the game play is. Mostly because our first game Tim died second round by freezing to death… We immediately started over so I wasn’t playing the game alone for the next 30 minutes. So right off the bat, Tim was in love with the game… cough, cough…. You can watch us playing and learning in our live video from the shop


The object of the game is to have at least 1 member of your party survive the trail and make it to Willamette Valley, OR. The competition of the game is who can survive the longest. There are times where you feel that you need to work together to get to the finish, but you also may need to let a party member die in order for the rest of the party to survive. But if one person makes it to Willamette Valley, OR, everybody wins the game. To reach the destination, the party has to lay down 50 trail cards.


The game-play is pretty simple and I would recommend this one for everyone to try, whether with just family or friends. To start off everybody is dealt Trail Cards and Supply Cards.

For your turn you either play a Trail Card or a Supply Card or if you are unable to play a Trail Card, simply draw from the Trail card deck and your turn ends. You must follow the instructions on the Trail Card that you played.

You are most like going to be instructed to draw a Calamity Card and yes, this is where the fun begins. The Calamity Cards will cause instant death or within a round or 2 you will be able to remedy the Calamity situation with your Supply Cards.


As Tim and I learned fairly quickly, you need to have good management of your Supply Cards throughout the game. That is until you draw a Thief Calamity.

What makes this game so fun is the people that you’re playing with. The best part about this game is the surprises that will happen along the trail and getting to watch everyone’s reactions and see how they will figure out their next move to either save themselves or help another party member. When you play this game, you have to play smart. Always know what your other party members are doing and be prepared for what they’re going to do next. But always remember, have fun and good luck on The Oregon Trail.


If you have any interest in learn/playing, purchasing or just trying any of the featured games in a Cards and Counters article, on the Great Stories site or at the shop; all you need to do is ask one of us there or get a hold me and I would gladly meet you there and grab a table.


The Staff at Great Stories is always more than willing to help you get what you need or teach and try anything new.


Until then,


See you across the table

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