We Were Playing it Wrong: Great Western Trail

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Great Western Trail by Aleander Pfister, Stronghold Games, 2016 2-4 Players

Great Western Trail by Alexander Pfister is a great game. Unfortunately, I recently discovered I’ve been playing it wrong for about a month and a half! When buying personnel from the job market, players cannot buy personnel from the line containing the job market token.  This is significant because if players can buy from the line containing the token, it will delay the progress of the token down the board. In some cases it can prevent the token from ever getting all the way down the board.

This is the type of mistake that isn’t visible at less than a full complement of players because there are more than enough personnel counters to meet the needs of the board at two or three players regardless of whether players are buying from the row containing the token or not. At four players the board needs too many for the market to keep up. Thus, when I played my first four player we actually ran out of new personnel to replenish the market. We might not have discovered the error even then, but at the end of the game personnel become extremely cheap and everyone was buying two or three per trip to Kansas City.

Edit: subsequent review has revealed a couple of other mistakes…

  1. When you replace a building by building a better one, you toss the old building. As in you cannot rebuild it elsewhere.
  2. Station Masters can be any type of worker rather than just Craftsmen.
  3. Players can begin the game on any neutral building, rather than the first three.
  4. Players can buy multiple cows in an action by assigning various cowboys to each buy. For example a player with two cowboys could buy one 3 value cow for three dollars or two 3 value cows for six dollars apiece.
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We Were Playing it Wrong: Great Western Trail