Why Did I Ritually Sacrifice a Board Game During The Great American Eclipse?

Well, as much ritual as one could muster without any official rules on the subject.

aaannd.....technically a card game vs. a board game.....

Well, I suppose the short answer would be that I thought it would be funny to sacrifice a board game during the eclipse.


Such events throughout our history are often laden with layers of symbolism and significance. From the more 'on-the-nose' sacrifices of the proverbial virgin into the volcano, to simply skipping a few meals, sacrifices have been made for any number of reasons. But the question here is more specific. Why did I sacrifice The Oregon Trail Card Game? Or, more accurately, why did I attempt to sacrifice it?


It survived. 

Well....for the most part....

Despite letting it burn itself out, I was surprised to see that the game was, to a large degree, still present in some form or fashion. The only thing to get fully obliterated was the D6 and the sides of the box. Even the top and bottom of the box survived. Another odd fact was that, despite a high % of the cards seeing a low % of destruction, the card tray was all but gone, having burned down around the cards....

Well, as many of you know, "The Great American Eclipse" occurred on August 21st, 2017. Living only a short distance from totality, I thought it would be funny to 'sacrifice' something at the height of the eclipse. But my choice of sacrificial victim to appease the powers that be was one of at least SOME thought.

The Oregon Trail Card Game. I chose this game for a number of reasons. The first and foremost is that I intended to record the sacrifice and put it up on youtube (because, again, thats funny)

This leads me to the second reason I poured accelerants all over this game: The Oregon Trail is a BAD GAME. I mean this in a number of connotations.

The first is simply from the aspect of a board game and gameplay. I don't necessarily mean going into various specifics about the game (If you are interested in the specifics, we go into great detail about this card game's problems in Episode 04 of the podcast). From the ground up, from the most basic starting points of this game, the developers crafted a game that, while advertising 2-6 players, is simply UNPLAYABLE for 2, 3, and 4 player groups. This game is simply poorly designed and poorly executed.

In addition to being a bad game from a gameplay standpoint, it also poorly adapts its source material: The Oregon Trail. When you look at how the Oregon Trail plays as a video game, and how you utilize strategy within the video game, the graphics, and its status as an early edutainment game, The Oregon Trail Card Game fails on all of these counts. In addition to being a poor game, it is a poor adaptation to boot.

But I suppose the biggest reason for me is, in part, a result of the first two problems: bad memories and bad gaming experiences. The Oregon Trail video game holds a special place for me as I have fond memories of it as well as playing it with my parents and brothers, and during library at school with classmates. My parents competed with one another to get the top score at the end of the trail when they got to Willamette Valley. So, after some difficulty in locating a copy of the card game when it first hit the shelves, I was excited to take it over to my parents house to play. Needless to say, 30 minutes and three plays later, and only making it maybe 10 cards into the trail before losing, this game has left some very bad memories for me indeed. I was not only disappointed in the game from a personal perspective, but, a game that was to be the highlight of the evening turned into a terrible gaming experience for all involved.

Pressman intentionally designed a card game to provide this bad experience. They programmed the disappointment, poor gameplay, poor design, and poor memories into this game. The very fabric of this game was woven with the intent to screw gamers over in game and screw gamers out of their money. We had no choice in this matter; as soon as we opened that box the outcome was all but guaranteed.

For me, I feel that the point of this game, for Pressman, was to have a game that systematically provides bad gaming experiences. Yes, I do understand everyone has different experiences with the game, and many have expressed enjoyable games playing this, or, rather, opening the box, getting a few laughs out of it when they lose multiple times in a row, put it back in the box, and back on the shelf to collect dust, never to be played again. But for me, if losing the game is the point of the game...

I guess if I am trying to provide justification, I would say that this game represents a threat to the industry: Poorly designed games that rely upon flash and licenses to push an inferior product. So, I sacrificed it. In hopes that more terrible licensed games schilling shoddy products would be prevented in the future.

So, in short, I burned it because it burned me. Bad games deserve to be sacrificed for the greater good. 

Well...as much as one can sacrifice anyway...


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