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The western theme is there. there are so many strategies to consider , Hazards, objectives, herds, trains and buildings. this game is so rich it has a lot of replay-ability. Because it is so good i am giving it a 10. I am awaiting eagerly the upcoming expansion. Highly recommended.
Played this about a week ago. Enjoyed the game, although did terribly at it. The card drafting for the cows seemed to screw me over every trip. Different take on some previously used mechanisms, but not sure whether there is too much luck in the game or whether i was just a sour puss. Would like to play again. The first game did temper my immediate thoughts on owning a copy. There is a definite learning curve to the game that starts to unfold during the first game. Those that have previously played, or see the interconnections quickly, will do better. And im back to wanting to own a copy *sigh* Jan '17 Update - have my own copy and added this to my 10x10 list for the year. May 17 Update - Ok, several games in and this game is fantastic. There are many ways to mitigate your card drafting luck, through actions available. The variability in workers available, hazards & default building positions keeps the challenge fresh. Have even played it solo.
Another mechanism buffet from Pfister (deckbuilding, rondel, set collection, etc.). Minimal player interaction through some minor blocking/taxing with buildings, and the oft-praised 'multiple paths to victory' feature, which in this particular game makes me wonder what game I'm supposed to be playing. I still find myself wanting to play it more than your average Euro. It's more fun than most MPS efficiency games, and it's popular so it gets played a lot. The expansion sucks, though.
Great Western Trail fails to live up to its lofty reputation. The worker tiles allow players to specialize in different aspects of the game; both the cowboys and engineers have clear utility in either cattle acquisition or railroad development, but the craftsman are very weak. Even without craftsman players can deploy large ammounts of buildings, since the other worker tiles have hugely superior income potential. Furthermore, the development of the map with various player buildings is mostly inconsequential. Since opponent buildings only ever offer auxiliary actions, I find myself travelling between my private buildings with the other player's buildings providing very low impact on my turn execution. The various mechanisms seem interesting on the surface, but when woven together are disappointingly ordinary.