Lost Expedition Sneak Peek: A Better Way To Die Of Dysentery Than By Playing The Oregon Trail Card Game
I had a lot of trepidation when someone at a recent board game reunion hiked the Oregon Trail as a candidate for the night’s close. Critics had beaten it as a game that traveled the paths of nostalgia rather than using any sort of solid mechanics as fuel to propel you from Independence, Missouri to the promised lands of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. But it was late in the evening. Another person promised it would be a little game. And I will soon see why.
The gameplay was simple and easy; on each turn, a player has the option of playing a track card or a supply card. Playing a track card would prompt you to follow events written on the card. Sometimes you would draw a calamitous event like the breakdown of a faster wagon part than a 1989 Yugo. Other maps ford you across a river to sink like a boulder from a wandering die roll. and find yourself stripped of all the material possessions you brought for the journey. But you probably earned it anyway for trying to play the role of a Boston banker fleeing embezzlement charges.
These mechanics, while simple, weren’t what killed the gaming experience. What really brought it down to the bowels of the earth were the random “LOL YOU DIE” cards. Draw a calamity card and haha! you were bitten by a snake and you are dead! Sorry, no saving throw is granted. You are simply dead. When the player next to me kicked the bucket first, I was almost sorry it wasn’t me. It was getting late, after all.
The rest of us perished shortly thereafter and that was it. An eternal debate will rage over whether not participating in the video game’s crazy rafting segment was a missed opportunity. With all the nonsense the game throws at you, I would personally appreciate the reprieve. Imagine a mini-game where you try to build a raft, Galaxy Trucker style!
Now, if you really wanted to play a game that was all about going on an expedition and trying to survive by reaching the legendary lands of Oregon, playing The Lost Expedition wouldn’t be a bad way to go about it.
As in Oregon Trail, each player will play a card to create a sequence of events that charts the party’s path to the Lost City of Z. The effects of each card range from irritating one-off events that drain your team’s resources to one. bounty of supplies like food, balls, and camping gear… most of which can be obtained if you’re willing to trade in an existing resource. Effects that allow you to advance further into the jungle must be weighed against the resources they use. This careful weighing turns the decision-making mechanism into a fun puzzle.
Another trick used by The Lost Expedition is that some of the event cards allow you to ignore other events altogether or swap the order of the event. For example, a player might state that they will play a card that functions as a sort of safety valve because it allows the party to skip two bad events. If there are any cards that other players want to throw away, now is the time to play them. At other times, you would want to play cards carefully so that you don’t skip a vital card needed to get a valuable resource or continue to get closer to the goal.
Finally, you can choose the colorful personalities (including Teddy Roosevelt!) Who make up your group of brave adventurers. Each personality is endowed with a special skill to help defuse any calamities you will encounter during the expedition. You can even sacrifice them by pushing one into a spike trap if that’s what you need to do to win.
Fortunately, not everyone has to travel to the Lost City of Z for you to get the victory, but after playing this and Oregon Trail in the same meet, I couldn’t get it. keep from thinking that if the Oregon Trail had used similar mechanics it ‘would have been a fairly decent game. By the law of transitivity, that means The Lost Expedition is a pretty decent game. Not enough to grab me with its tale or its tension, but it’s a pretty good prelude to a heavier rate.
Better than dying of dysentery despite the 3 cases of medicine you carry in the wagon (yes, really).