|2-4 Players||30+ minutes|
Retrace the journey of Lewis and Clark while answering trivia questions about their expedition.
Players start by choosing a colored pawn and receiving 12 beads. They next decide whether or not they will use the beginner questions or the expert questions. One player is chosen to be the "provisioner" and is responsible for the bead distribution and the travel mode cards.
The provisioner deals three travel mode cards to each player -- these are the starting modes of transportation that you have. They are any of the following: keel boat, horse, canoe, or moccasins.
To begin to move around the board, you must have a keel boat. If a player does not have a keel boat card, then they may purchase a keel boat card from the provisioner (cost is 3 beads) at the start of their turn and then roll the die to move; Or, the player may attempt to roll a six and trade for a keel boat card with another player, however, failure to roll a six causes the player to lose a turn.
Players take turns rolling the die and moving their pawn the indicated number of spaces. Most of the spaces on the board are self explanatory: they give a date, historical fact and then an instruction for the player -- usually giving the player beads or causing the player to give away beads.
There are a few special spaces on the board which have a picture of the spinner. If a player lands on one of these spaces, they spin the spinner to get a trivia topic, and an opponent reads them a question from the trivia cards. A correct answer gains a "charm" that matches the color of the topic.
Some spaces will give the player a "skill or Chance" card. These cards have events on them that can be good or bad -- like "your horse ran away", or "gain an extra chance to earn a charm".
On any turn when a player rolls a six, that player is allowed to trade travel mode cards, beads and charms with other players. Purchases from the provisioner are allowed at any time.
In order to win, a player must have collected one of each colored charm and complete the journey from St. Louis and back. If a player travels the entire route, but is missing some charms, they get to continue on the journey again from the start, but they only need to collect the charms to win -- (they already completed the journey.)
If a player runs out of beads, they may sell travel mode cards back to the provisioner.
The game has additional rules if you run out of both beads and travel mode cards.
Here are some sample questions:
Clearly this game wasn't designed with adults in mind -- it's an educational game to instruct children about Lewis and Clark. It's goal isn't to teach strategic thought, nor is it to compel players into a mock battle. This game is designed to teach as you play, and we think it works.
Admittedly, all of the Zombies are adult players, so we had zero problems with ninety percent of the beginner level trivia questions. We switched to the expert questions, and some of those are quite difficult. Just because you've already completed a class on U.S. history doesn't mean that you'll know all of these answers. All of the trivia questions are multiple choice or true/false which means that there is always a chance of guessing the correct answer.
The game encourages players to look at the board for animals and landmarks that Lewis and Clark recorded. Several trivia questions and board instructions are easily answered by looking at the board. In this game, that's okay... it's intent is to teach the player with the artwork.
This game is a quieter game as it requires players to think. However, if played by teams, it could get a little louder for the more difficult questions.
This game is well presented and nicely designed. The rules are simple and easy -- no player is really left behind. From our game that we played, we noted that the board could have used more spaces -- three of the players had completed the journey before almost any charms had been won because they consistently rolled high numbers. We would consider adding more opportunity for being offered the trivia questions if nothing else -- but had our die rolls been smaller, we may have had an entirely different feel of the game, too.
We think that this is a good game to get for a family with elementary school kids. It's non-violent, educational, and reasonably fun to play. If four adults can play it and say it's a good game, chances are the kids will like it, too.
Where to buy:
Any local toy store or educational game store. Check here for store locations. It costs about $30.
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