Board Game Review: Great Western Trail

08 Mar 2018
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Drive your herds of cattle across the Great Plains to Kansas and sell them, and go back and start again. So simple but very challenging, as Hasan al Lawati finds out after four attempts and tons of decisions

Rating: 4/5


Designer: Alexander Pfister

Artist:Andreas Resch


Board-game culture is evolving around the world as more geeks are being drawn into the 21st century’s new variety of games.

From the simple, family-friendly Monopoly and Risk, board-games made a comeback in 1995 with Catan, which marked the beginning of a new era of lengthy, heavy, strategic games.

Today we are reviewing one of the finest 2016 games, Great Western Trail.

The theme and feel of the game takes you back to America in the 19th century wherein you play as a rancher who takes a train to herd his cattle from Texas to Kansas City.

Sounds simple? It is not. The game is highly strategic and requires top business management skills.

In an estimated (75-150 min) of game playing hours, two to four players will take turns to either buy cows, hire workers, move along the trail, build outlets in strategic locations on the trail or stop at Kansas to load your shipment of cattle. You can earn victory points depending on the number of your cattle, workers, having loads of cash, placing expensive tiles (buildings), or achieving personal objectives.

The player who collects the biggest number of victory points wins the game.

I played the game four times so far and I still can’t decide my strategy as this game is really hard to master.

The guidebook, however, is neatly done and explains the game’s mechanics using tons of visuals.

Great Western Trail, while it is made for two-to-four players, is best played with three or four, as it will get very boring with two ranchers on a massive board.

The game contains 120 cards (cattle and objectives) so you might want to purchase some card sleeves as every cattle card is crucial to the game.

The game is a great mix of hand management, deck building, and tile placement.

I would not suggest this game, despite its reasonable price of $70, to new comers in the world of board-game, as it is as complicated as Scythe.

The game comes with one expansion ‘Great Western Trail: Rails to the North’ which I cannot judge as I haven’t tried it yet. 

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