I picked this up on a whim more than a year ago and finally played it this weekend. Online reviews were right! My friends and I were not impressed. A collaborative game could be a lot of fun, trying to weather harsh conditions and ration resources until the bitter end, but this sadly was not it.
Gameplay consisted of taking turns laying down trail cards and doing whatever the card said (grab a calamity card, roll dice to see if you crossed a river successfully, or nothing at all.) Calamity cards had diseases that could be fixed by resources or… Dysentery! Snake bite! (Instant deaths). Make 10 stacks of 5 cards with at least one living member of the wagon and you will have made it to Williamette, Oregon!
The game is collaborative since you help cure each other’s diseases but for some reason, you can’t share what resources you have (“we’re in the same wagon together. How could we not see what other people have?”) I suppose this is to make the game arbitrarily harder, but we just decided to buck this rule and show each other our resource cards. Not sharing what trail cards made sense, so others didn’t know what was coming (not that you could really plan, since replenishing came only when you had no other trail paths that fit.)
So, overall, simple and not engaging, but it had a smidge of the Oregon Trail charm. See our tombstones (written with erasable marker, which was a fun touch)!