In Western Expedition, players take charge of expeditions heading west along the Oregon Trail during 1845. Leading their expedition, players try to gain more Fame than their adversaries, and they do this in a number of ways—e.g. by controlling trails they discover as they forge their way West, by completing building projects for the federal government and by fulfilling favors for prominent families. They can ensure a safer—and perhaps quicker—journey by staying on the main path, or they can venture off the main path and explore less traveled regions, which can yield a number of rewards, as well as risks. Additionally, players must strategically plan ahead, deciding which route is most advantageous for his/her expedition given a number of variables other than safety, such as the prominent family s/he works for (families are only found in certain areas) and the equipment s/he has or doesn’t have. For instance, fishing gear allows an expedition to fish at lakes, which are, in turn, more prevalent in some areas. Similarly, a hunting rifle allows an expedition to hunt the big game it encounters on its journey. Moreover, a player must determine how strong his/her expedition is (i.e. how many expedition members s/he currently has), as this ought to influence his/her course westward; aggressive native tribes are encountered more frequently in certain areas than they are in other areas. And, finally, an expedition’s strategic movement will likely be influenced by its choice for a wagon team: a mule team permits an expedition to traverse more spaces each turn, but an oxen team allows it to carry more things in its wagon. Aside from strategies, players will have to adjust to unforeseen events, and they are frequently forced to make tactical decisions as a result. For example, a Fate card begins each player’s turn, and these usually involve the player having to adjudicate his/her present priorities. Should s/he steal a stranger’s lumber or increase his/her honor? Lumber is needed in order to complete building projects, but being very honorable yields Fame, too. The game ends when: 1) a player makes it to Oregon City (in which case the player with the most Fame at the time is deemed the winner), 2) a player acquires 10 Fame points (in which case that player is immediately declared the winner), or all but one player have been eliminated from the game (in which case that player is declared the winner).
Western Expedition: Prototype Photos