This ain't your average, everyday Euro game! Welcome to the Great Western Trail, where players take on the role of cattle drivers attempting to wrangle their herd to market. The trail will be tough, and countless hazards await you. Can you make it to the end of your journey and turn a tidy profit? Find out in Great Western Trail!
Simple Mechanics, Complex Decisions
Turns in Great Western Trail are broken into three simple phases that will carry you through the entire game. These simple phases belie a web of deep and complex decisions players will face as they make their way down the trail. The mechanics are simple, but mastering the trail is where the fun lies.
Make Your Move!
A turn starts by moving your cattleman down the trail. The number of spaces a player is allowed to move is dictated by their player board, and there are hazards a plenty all along the trail. Wherever you end up, the next phase is ...
When a player ends their movement, they perform the action listed on the space they ended on. Depending on where you land, you will have different options available to you. Neutral locations or buildings you own will allow you to perform a special action specific to that location or a single auxiliary action. On locations owned by other players, hazard tiles, or teepee tiles, your only option is to use an auxiliary action. Last, there's Kansas City!
Kansas City or Bust!
Landing on Kansas City sets off a series of subphases that must be resolved in order: Three Foresight phases, the Income Phase, and the Delivery Phase. The Foresight subphases give players a choice between two tiles to add to the board (hazard, teepee, or worker). These tiles will affect future trips down the trail, so choose wisely. Earn income from your journey down the trail by revealing and discarding your hand. Finally, choose a city to deliver your cattle to. This leg of your journey is over. Now it's time to do it all again!
Draw up to your hand limit and your turn is over! Time to start planning your next move and figure out the choices you'll face in the coming turns.
MSRP: $69.99Lowest: $49.95
Recent Prices Changes
Top Forum Posts
- Set-up was basically identical to setting up a 2 player version of the game, the only difference was creating a small deck of cards for Brisco to control his actions. In GWT this does take a little while as there are a bunch of tokens to sort but otherwise isn't too bad.
- The fact that Brisco breaks the majority of the game rules cuts down on admin for him extensively which I think is a really good idea. He just gets things from the board/supply without having to meet requirements or pay for them so you don't have to think about anything; just grab whatever he needs, wince at how many points he already has and get on with your own turn.
- In the first few turns of a mulitplayer game, often every takes very similar actions for the first couple of rounds: you all want to build and hire workers. However, Brisco is very random in his actions, which I think made the first round kind of fun in that sense, you had no clue what your opponent was going to do.
- He does a bit of everything, which tends not to be how people play GWR more generally. However, for the purposes of limiting the player from having free-reign to pursue a particular strategy it works well.
- As GWR only has fairly limited player interaction when played multi-player. There wasn't a significant section of the gameplay that was lost because of playing solo.
- The fact that you get to choose which tiles go out when Brisco reaches the end of the trail means you can quite easily leave one of the hazaardous routes open for your own advantage, which wouldn't normally happen so easily.
So how did the game go?
I unfortunately didn't get time to finish as it has been a busy weekend but as things stood when I had to pack up Brisco was smashing me. I was playing on 'standard' mode but I was very much behind on points (didn't add them up but it was pretty clear). I had decided to pursue a cow heavy strategy. I got a little unlucky with brisco and the market meaning he stole the best cows from under me but even so I think I was playing too much of a long game and I think he would have finished the game out before I could cash in the big points.
I think I will probably try to give this another go when/if I get time as it would be nice to see how the end game plays out. Brisco doesn't really get too much more powerful so maybe I could catch up as my engine gets going.
Have any of you tried facing off against Brisco? How did it go?
@Marshwiggle92's post on mass market games, got me thinking about how a lot of the complexity in a game can sometimes come from multiple mechanics all happening simlutaneously and interacting with each other.
I think I generally quite enjoy having to try and balance a lot of those mechanics in my head simultaneously and tring to get one to feed positively into the other, however, sometimes it can feel messy: #Hyperborea was a game that I think is actually very carefully designed to merge, area control, bag building, tableau building and action management in some really clever ways, however, both times I have played it it felt like there were too many systems at play for the game to do a good job of exploring any one of them and the game felt a little lackluster to me as a result. That said I love the interconnectedness of #Great Western Trail, how all of the various avenues support each other in different ways and while specialising is good, finding some balance is also important.
#Nemesis walks a very fine for me in this regard as it has a boat load of systems that are all a little messy, however, it gets away with it by making a lot of them only important some of the time so you're not having to constantly grapple with hundreds of rules.
I have also really enjoyed games that are mechanically pretty one straightfoward. I really enjoy #878: Vikings - Invasions of England which is almost entirely an area control/wargame but buy having a simple mechanical framework allows the players a lot of freedom in how they approach it.
What do you all think? What have been some winners and losers for you in terms of multi-system games?
I've never actually created a Top 10 before, but I figured it was a good way to finish off this week's challenge. While this probably will change slightly each week these are mostly games I have played a bunch and consistently loved:
10) #The Defence of Procyon III - a game I have currently only played on TTS, however it is a gorgeous asymmetric skirmish game that feels so ambitious. I love it online and anticipate it leaping up the rankings once I get to try it in person.
9) #Nemesis - I have only played this game about 3 times but have never had a bad time with it. It is thematic and tense, it is a game that creates narratives and memories. While too pricey for me to buy I will never say no to a game.
8) #Architects of the West Kingdom - my favourite worker placement game, the eco-system that is created, the multiple paths to victory, the engine building, the moral track opening and closing opportunities. There are so many great mechanics at play. It also has more player interaction than a lot of worker placement games while feeling less mean at the same time. Also the art design is great.
7) #Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game - this has ended up on a number of lists this week. I think it is a wonderful hidden traitor game, I like how much ownership you feel for 'your characters' so people will try hard to prevent them dying and as such harm the collective whole. That combined with everyone having a secret mission means there are plenty of moments when someone does something'suspicious'. It has great discussion as you plan as a team and also question people's actions. The crossroads cards are a lot of fun when they come up, we always play without reading out the mechanical consequences so the team are just making a decision based on the 'story'.
6) #13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis - By far the smallest game on this list, but packs so much into that space. The mechanics are really beautifully integrated, with each action usually having consequences (good or bad) further down the line. I love the bluffing, the fact that you have to balance where and how you put down influence with your 'Defcon' otherwise you start a nuclear war and lose the game which creates a real flow to the game. The cards are all actual events that happened during the war which is pretty cool. Cannot recommend this enough as a dedicated 2P game.
5) #Cry Havoc - Such a tense asymmetric area control game, you only get 15 actions the whole game (which can be as straight forward as drawing a new card or activating scoring for the round) so evrything you do is meaningful. The dynamic set up by the asymmetry of the factions is brilliant but also gives player plenty of room within it to make strategic and tacical decisions. It also has one of the best combat systems I have ever come across in a game: there is no luck involved just a lot of preparation and maneuvering. Plus the fact that there are different objectives in a battle means that both players can get what they want out of a battle (or neither). Just a wonderful game.
4) #Great Western Trail - This game is one of the best examples I have seen of a integration of theme and mechanics in a more Euro style game; all the actions feel pretty intuitive and are interesting. Dubbed 'the cow game' by my friends, it has so many routes to victory, a couple of nice points of player interaction and is just wonderfully evocative as you walk down this path with a handful of cows, building as you go. There is a great sense of progression as the board fills up and you each specialise in certain ways, each of which feels exponentially powerful. It is a tonne of fun.
3) #War of the Ring (Second Edition) - Such an epic game, the best 2P experience I have had with a board game. It captures the feeling of the books so well: this unstoppable wave of evil sweeping across the land with just little pockets of resistance, with all hopes on this fellowship as it trudges relentlessly across the land. Both sides feel like they are up against it from the start which is excellent. The only real downside is how long it takes to play so you can only crack it out every so often.
2) #Archipelago - I rave about this game constantly. It is in my opinion the best game (that I have played) to get players to cut deals and negotiate and by being a big open 3X (no combat) game gives huge scope for how those negoitations can proceed. We've had some fascinating dynamics appear in the game as people monoploise a certain resource or go around nabbing 'other peoples' (no one owns anything which is cool) hexes with some sneaky town building. The semi-coop aspect is very cool, as it forces compromise or you all lose. Also, the secret scoring objectives that you each have one of but that all the players score at the end means you are all watching each other carefully to try and work out what they are (and that knowledge can also be traded). It's just excellent.
1) #Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 - Such an epic experience to plays through with a group of friends. It takes an already solid game and game on game changes it up in significant but understandable ways. While the story presented by the game is fairly minimal that is actually genius as it gives space for you as a group to create that narrative through your actions. You imbue your characters with personality and grow very attached to them (I'll never forget Horatio Peck or Gabriel Hanes). I won't spoil any of them but the games keeps you massively engaged throughout with twists and changes to how you play. If you can get a couple of friends to commit to playing it, it is such a worthwhile experience.
What do you guys think? What are your favourites?
A few weeks ago, I did something unexpected.
I saw there was a live Kickstarter for 1861/67, and I backed it immediately. Me, the Euro gamer who judges whether or not he'll like a game based on the percentage of beige on the table. Me, the person for whom turning wooden pieces into other wooden pieces is the idea of a perfect weekend. Me, the person who will probably end up naming his future firstborn Uwe Pfister Feld Gerdts.
In ages past, I've tried to venture outside my dry-Euro comfort zone. I tried to play Ameritrash games: Dead of Winter, Journeys in Middle Earth, and anything FFG offered that could snap me out of this comatose German aversion to anything that remotely reeks of fun. But to no avail--every time I tried to engage with plastic miniatures and beautiful graphic design, I spent entire gaming sessions looking over my shoulder, wondering if my beloved Concordia felt betrayed, asking myself if the dead, empty eyes of the sad men on Great Western Trail's cover would ever take me back.
But then I saw something that would haunt me forever.
Capstone's new edition of Irish Gauge.
Look at it. Feast your eyes on that beautiful, minimalist graphic design. Look at the delectable little choo-choo trains. The placid greens, the muted hexagons, the obtuse-yet-simple table of numbers. But surely it wasn't for me. Train games are for middle-aged nerds who collect stamps, and I'm a cultured Eurogamer. I don't manipulate share prices--that's beneath me! I'm too busy turning salt into bricks into food into tools into wine into cloth into cold, uncaring victory points in the Mediterranean. Auctions? Hah! What is this, 1997?
So I guiltily tucked it away. I kept my little transgression hidden in the deep, dark recesses of my cardboard-obsessed mind. And for a while, I was happy. But then I finally got the chance to play a game I'd been dying to try; I finally played Brass: Birmingham. I have trouble categorizing the Brass games: are they economic simulations? Are they Euros? Do they share DNA with the rest of Martin Wallace's games, which are decidedly not Euros? These questions will surely go down in history as some of the greatest unanswered mysteries of our time. But what isn't a mystery is the fact that Brass: Birmingham is special.
A bloat of obscure rules, concepts, and grammar coalesce into a cutthroat tapestry of economic manipulation--a knife-fight between British gentlemen who dare say you're bloody daft for interfering with their capitalistic machinations, and by jove they will strangle you with the coal-and-soot-laden invisible hand if they have to. It's a nasty game, and it's an unusual game, and it is special. I can say with confidence that it is probably the best designed board game I've ever played. To boot: if you're a sheepish Eurogamer like me, it is infinitely more palatable than the barebones economic rampage that is train games.
The first time I played Brass: Birmingham, I lost. I lost by a lot. But I had a hell of a time losing, and try as I might, I just couldn't get the game out of my mind. Maybe, I thought to myself, Maybe I could be into economic board games? Maybe I could love games that aren't beige? Maybe, somewhere deep inside, there is a part of me that could be confrontational, and conniving, and cutthroat? Ah, but it was in between print runs. Bad luck. There was nothing for it.
Weeks later, I saw that my local game store had a more innocuous--and civilized--game on sale: Gugong. I'd played it before and remembered liking its spin on the worker placement mechanism, so I drove out to pick it up. I don't know how the timing lined up so perfectly, but there, in the midst of the chaos and cardboard mayhem, were the two games that had been plaguing me for weeks: 1 copy of Brass: Birmingham, and several copies of Irish Gauge.
I did not stand a chance. Faster than you can say Kennerspiele des Jahres, I had 3 new games in my shelf.
The first time I played Irish Gauge, I hesitantly introduced it to the table as some train game I saw at the store for cheap. It was a lie designed to obfuscate my shameful obsession. Oh, how wonderful would it be if this impulse purchase could somehow ride the wings of serendipity to rise above the fray of mediocrity? (The table is the perfect place for melodrama). So we played. And it was fantastic. It was beyond fantastic--it was revelatory.
Look, don't read this word-vomit as a review. It isn't. Irish Gauge, by all regular metrics, is a fine game. Fans of the cube rails genre (to which Irish Gauge belongs) don't even consider it the best cube rails game--that accolade many of them reserve for Chicago Express, or, if the pedantry will allow, Wabash Cannonball. But it is a solid game of auctions, company value manipulation, and general economic skullduggery. And it's a whirlwind--what with its one page of rules and its breezy mechanics for determining dividends, the whole thing plays in under an hour. It basically begs you to play it a second time.
Irish Gauge is a game, but it's also an argument. It is likely the simplest, most stripped-down version of itself, and so on that merit it makes a case for the value of barebones economic games. What it abstracts away is dross; what it keeps is a spatial puzzle of optimization and tenuous alliances. There is a fragile balance to be found in this type of game, not unlike the fragile balance I later came to enjoy when I played Pax Pamir.
Brass: Birmingham, that lumbering behemoth, planted the sick notion in my head that economic games might be as fun as the driest of Euros. Irish Gauge convinced me of that fact. For the longest time, I refused to consider these types of games as the expansion of my horizons--too mean, too complicated, too mathy. Not enough story, I thought. You can't ask that much of me; I play games to have fun, not to do homework.
But here I am, a convert brimming with potential. If economic games are for me, then why not the Pax games? Why not COIN games? I am once again excited to discover new things--I feel once more the thrill I felt when I first became a hobbyist, when every Shut Up & Sit Down video was an exciting new possibility, when every game on Wil Wheaton's Tabletop could possibly be the game. I eagerly await the arrival of my first 18xx game as my cardboard pantheon grows to include names like Wehrle and Russell and Wallace and Tresham. It doesn't mean I've turned my back on the chorus of passive-aggressive Germans who brought me into this hobby. It just means there's room in my heart to be a little bit sinister.
[Great Western Trail]
[878: Vikings - Invasions of England, Hyperborea, Nemesis, Great Western Trail]
[Nemesis, Archipelago, Cry Havoc, War of the Ring (Second Edition), Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, Architects of the West Kingdom, 13 Days: The Cuban Missi...]
[Wingspan, Patchwork, Great Western Trail, Scythe]
[Great Western Trail]
Report an Issue
Issues can include a duplicate database entry, wrong price shown, or any other information issues that can't be resolved by editing the game page.
Submit a Video
Promote community contributions! It can be your own video or a video by someone else.
Link to an Expansion
Help create a better connected game database and link to an expansion to this game.
Create a Price Alert
You'll get a notification when this game's price falls below the amount you set. This feature is only for US prices currently.
Submit a Review
Promote community contributions! It can be your own review or a review by someone else.