There's an Oregon Trail Board Game So Stop What You're Doing

Your whole family can now bond over dysentery and hardtack.

By Michelle Porter August 5, 2016

Ever wonder what it would be like to kill off those closest to you with dysentery? Now's your chance. 

The Oregon Trail, as you know, is a curiously grim video game originally released in 1971—one that helped millions of kids pass time in school computer labs while absorbing life lessons about rationing, water potability, and typhoid. In May, the Oregon Trail was inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

Now, Pressman Toy Company has blessed America by releasing this throwback game as a tabletop card game.

Available exclusively at Target, the game supports 2-6 players, ages 12 and up, and replaces the keyboard with trail cards, supply cards, and—sure to be everyone’s favorite—calamity cards, which bring disease, violence, and even instant death. The game also includes a wipe-off pen, a laminated roster, and “a cool pixelated die.” 

The game's objective is familiar: to get at least one player safely to the edenic gates of Oregon's Willamette Valley. However, what goes on after leaving Independence, Missouri, is anything but a bed of Rose City blooms. The treacherous 2,000-mile trail teems with 19th century hazards. You might also be confronted by the gruesome reality of choosing between using precious supplies to help teammates, or … you know.

While the tabletop revival may not take you to places you’ve never been before (hopefully not your neighbor’s Pikachu-infested backyard), the Oregon Trail Card Game will take you back in time to a simulacrum of that dark, yet hopeful quest of pioneers. Just be sure to play with friends that don't hold grudges. 

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