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Great Western Trail

Great Western Trail is a strategic board game where players take on the role of cattle drivers in the American West, building their herds, delivering them to Kansas City, and improving their own personal deck of cards to gain points and win the game.

8.20 / 10
BGG Rating
published year
2 - 4
player count
2 - 4
Recommended player count
75 - 150 mins
play time

How Complex is Great Western Trail?

3.7 / 5

Great Western Trail has a moderate level of complexity, with multiple mechanics and strategies to learn, but is manageable with experience and a clear rulebook.

How much Luck is involved in the gameplay of Great Western Trail?

1.5 / 5

Luck plays a minor role in Great Western Trail as players have control over their own strategy and decisions, with only a small element of chance in the draw of building tiles and objective cards.

How much Player Interaction does Great Western Trail offer?

2.5 / 5

Great Western Trail has limited player interaction as players can block each other's paths and compete for certain objectives, but the game is primarily focused on individual player strategy and building their own personal deck.

How much Replayability does Great Western Trail offer?

4 / 5

Great Western Trail offers high replayability due to the variety of strategies and paths to victory, as well as the randomized objective cards and building tiles that change with each play.

Why you should play Great Western Trail

Strategic gameplay

Great Western Trail is a highly strategic game that requires players to make careful decisions about which actions to take and when. This makes for a challenging and engaging experience that rewards careful planning and foresight.

Unique theme

The game is set in the American Wild West, which is a unique and interesting theme that sets it apart from other board games. The game's artwork and components also do an excellent job of immersing players in the theme.

Multiple paths to victory

There are several different strategies that players can pursue in Great Western Trail, which means that there are multiple paths to victory. This makes the game highly replayable, as players can try out different strategies each time they play.

Engaging mechanics

The game's mechanics are well-designed and engaging, with a variety of different actions that players can take on their turn. This keeps the game interesting and ensures that players are always engaged.

High-quality components

Great Western Trail features high-quality components, including detailed player boards, wooden tokens, and beautifully illustrated cards. This makes the game a pleasure to play and adds to the overall experience.

Solo mode

The game also includes a solo mode, which is a great option for players who prefer to play alone or who want to practice their skills before playing with others.

Awards and recognition

Great Western Trail has received numerous awards and accolades, including the 2017 Kennerspiel des Jahres (Connoisseur-Enthusiast Game of the Year) award in Germany. This is a testament to the game's quality and popularity among players.

Why you should avoid Great Western Trail


Great Western Trail is a complex game that can be overwhelming for new players. The game has a steep learning curve, and it may take several playthroughs to fully understand the rules and mechanics.

Lengthy gameplay

The game can take several hours to play, which may not be suitable for players who prefer shorter games or who have limited time to play.

Limited player interaction

While there is some player interaction in Great Western Trail, it is not as significant as in other games. This may not be appealing to players who enjoy games with a high level of player interaction.

Theme may not appeal to everyone

While the Wild West theme is unique and interesting, it may not appeal to all players. Some players may prefer games with different themes or settings.


Great Western Trail is a relatively expensive game, which may not be suitable for players who are on a tight budget or who prefer to invest in less expensive games.

Where to find the Rules of Great Western Trail

You can find the community-driven rules summary, player aid, etc., in the Great Western Trail files section on the BoardGameGeek website. You need an account on BGG to download files.

Beginner Strategies for Great Western Trail

These strategies are for players who have either not played or played one or two games of Great Western Trail.

Focus on building your deck

Your deck of cattle cards is the key to success in Great Western Trail. Try to acquire as many different types of cattle as possible, as this will give you more options when it comes to delivering them to Kansas City. You should also try to acquire cards that give you bonuses for delivering certain types of cattle.

Plan your route carefully

The trail to Kansas City is long and winding, and there are many different paths you can take. Try to plan your route in advance, taking into account the various hazards and obstacles you may encounter along the way. You should also try to avoid backtracking, as this will waste valuable time.

Use your buildings wisely

The buildings you construct in Great Western Trail can give you a variety of bonuses, from extra money to additional movement points. Try to build your buildings strategically, placing them in locations that will give you the most benefit.

Keep an eye on your opponents

Great Western Trail is a competitive game, and you'll need to keep an eye on what your opponents are doing if you want to stay ahead. Pay attention to what types of cattle they're delivering, which buildings they're constructing, and which hazards they're avoiding.

Don't neglect your workers

Your workers are an important resource in Great Western Trail, and you'll need to use them wisely if you want to succeed. Try to acquire workers with a variety of skills, and use them to perform tasks that will give you the most benefit.

Advanced Strategies for Great Western Trail

Use the neutral buildings

In addition to the buildings you can construct yourself, there are also neutral buildings that any player can use. These buildings can be a great way to get extra bonuses or to avoid hazards, so be sure to use them to your advantage.

Take advantage of the train

The train is a powerful tool in Great Western Trail, as it allows you to move quickly across the board and to deliver cattle directly to Kansas City. Try to time your deliveries so that you can take advantage of the train, and don't be afraid to spend money to upgrade your train card.

Focus on the endgame

Great Western Trail is a game that rewards long-term planning, so it's important to keep your eye on the endgame. Try to acquire cards and bonuses that will give you points at the end of the game, and don't be afraid to sacrifice short-term gains if it will help you in the long run.

Pay attention to the player count

Great Western Trail plays differently depending on the number of players, so it's important to adjust your strategy accordingly. In a two-player game, for example, it may be more important to focus on blocking your opponent's path to Kansas City, while in a four-player game you may need to be more aggressive in acquiring cattle.

Experiment with different strategies

Great Western Trail is a game with many different paths to victory, so don't be afraid to experiment with different strategies. Try focusing on delivering a specific type of cattle, or on constructing a particular set of buildings. You may discover a new approach that works well for you.


Set Collection
Hand Management
Deck, Bag, and Pool Building
Variable Set-up
Track Movement


American West