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Wow, I Never Knew this Game was Supposed to be so Hard!
Looking at all these tropes, it sounds like Everything Is Trying To Kill You and making it through without anyone dying is a feat...but back in my eighth grade class, we got to play it (I think it was four or maybe five), and my group finished before anyone else and had no one die. Then again, the teacher seemed surprised.

I think it really comes down to getting everyone on the team to be pragmatic about the situation. Why take the cast-iron stove? It's dead weight and takes up a ton of space. Why not get a few thing Native Americans like to trade for? You'll probably run into a few along the way. Why not get tons of ammo? You'll need to hunt and defend yourselves. Why not bring medicine of all things?

But we still had kids in our class bringing the stove, or hunting more than they could carry and therefore wasting ammo, or fording rivers that the game tells you is dangerous, and apparently one guy just wanted to piss off all NP Cs. Maybe it's just the later games, but it seems that the trail only kills you if you really let it.
....... You had on intelligent middle school class.
comment #14528 encrypted12345 31st May 12
That's the point of the game. It forces you to think wisely on each and every decision you make, and shows you the consequences of poor planning. In Real Life, the journey westward really was a death course, where inexperienced or unprepared pioneers met their tragic end. Picking the wrong time to leave, taking the wrong equipment, or making bad choices at the rivers could meet a grisly end.

I actually played the original version back in the third and fifth grade. In the third, I had no idea what I was doing, and kept losing my party before finishing the first half of the trip. The one student in class that actually made it was treated almost like a video game god. But in the fifth grade, I finished it without any difficulty whatsoever, because I now knew how the game worked and knew what to take and leave behind.
comment #14532 dGalloway 31st May 12
The game has a cast-iron stove and medicine?
comment #14597 TomSFox 5th Jun 12
Being a doctor or just a book on medicine helps immensely. Oh, sorry, Mary has a gunshot wound? Let me get out my book real quick. Okay, here's a painkiller. Even if you couldn't access the book during the crisis, all you needed to do was READ the darn thing and either memorize the cures or write them down. Likewise, listen to every one in each place you visit and play close attention. Take everything people say with and a grain of salt and double check their facts. Well this man says to take 10 oxen and not a lot of food. You can hunt buffalo after all! Talk to another dude and he'll tell you first hand experience or stories he heard and that you'll need 20. 10 may work... if none of them die on the way. You need a few extras. They even sold packages of basic necessities and after you got that, you can put aside money for supplementary goods. Also, bring lots of bacon. Like 500 pounds of bacon. Then just diversify your diet from there.
comment #17588 Thecommander236 6th Jan 13
I remember my dad trying to point these things out to me and me not listening. I expect it's why I lost so often.
comment #17589 Wackd 7th Jan 13
I found it a lot easier than it's known for too! My friends kept on dying. Only one of my party had died and only one was sick (and they somehow got better) and I was like in the last third of the game. Unfortunately, then class ended. I think I'll learn to play Dwarf Fortress instead.
comment #17647 Leetroper 11th Jan 13
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