Wonderful Western Trail is my favorite sophisticated tabletop video game, a two-hour affair with a 20-page rulebook that manages to hit all of the proper notes in a video game of its duration and body weight. Gamers consider on the role of ranchers in the Old West, building up herds of cattle and a network of buildings to make greater deliveries of cows to Kansas City. Approach B Games’ Eggertspiele imprint has been working on a new edition of the initial that will provide as the 1st in a trilogy of games, and the initial a single, only known as Terrific Western Path Next Version, will be out at Gen Con in mid-September.

I have tested out the new version, and whilst it could not provide ample modifications to motivate entrepreneurs of the initially version to pony up for a new a single, it’s a better model for individuals new to the video game or on the lookout to test a heavier title for their tabletop gaming.

Fantastic Western Path (GWT) incorporates several concepts you could have noticed in other modern board games, sometimes known as Eurogames, all into 1 coherent package. You start off with a primary deck of cow cards and will acquire better playing cards to upgrade that deck as the video game progresses. You also get to retain the services of three styles of workers to make it possible for you to make your steps far more effective. You are going to also transfer your locomotive alongside a track on the outer edge of the primary board, which receives you details, could give you bonus steps, and which makes it possible for you to supply cows farther alongside the line. The outcome is a significant but pleasing activity that gives a ton of final decision-building alternatives.

Photo: Approach B Online games/Asmodee

All through each and every transform you are going to move your meeple, called a herder, alongside numerous paths on the map, having actions primarily based on the structures where by you cease. The heart of the match is the deck of cow playing cards that you try to update as the sport progresses by the time your herder reaches the close of the path (in Kansas Metropolis) you are going to get money centered on the amount of various cows in your hand. You then will increase up all of the values on the playing cards to produce — a single presumes this would indicate beef, whilst the match is not that grisly — to the farthest metropolis feasible along the railroad track, culminating in New York City. (The best town in the globe, natch.)

You have far more choices to strengthen your steps or your card-based mostly financial motor than you can probably attain in a solitary playthrough, which is a single of GWT’s wonderful strengths. It pushes you to decide on a strategy early on. Will you get the most important cows available, hiring cowboys to enable you invest in even far better cows? Will you hire more engineers, so you can move your locomotive more speedily to highly effective enhance stations? Or will you go with a development technique, using the services of builders to get as several of your personal structures on the board as doable?

This second version has all-new art, and some of the changes are purposeful as nicely as aesthetic. All boards now have two layers with spaces for tiles and discs to sit without having sliding, a enormous reward for a board that receives incredibly occupied by the stop of the activity. Some tiles and playing cards have swapped darkish backgrounds for mild, which will make it simpler to distinguish their icons. Some of the colors on the board are brighter and far more pleasing, whilst the non-public creating tiles have a lot more muted shades for no clear benefit.

A player sideboard in Great Western Trail shows hands hired on and the bonuses accumulated so far.

Photograph: System B Games/Asmodee

By much the best improve in the artwork, however, is the elimination of the white guys vs. Indigenous American subtheme from the initial. The hazards have long gone from teepees to bandits (who are evidently white), and the workers you employ in the course of the recreation have absent from all white adult men to a white guy, a white girl, and a Black male. Representation matters, and even this very small little bit of visible range, merged with the elimination of the idea of Native People as the invisible enemy, is a welcome update.

Mechanically speaking, the 2nd edition introduces a few important modifications to the mechanics of the original model. It provides two new personal properties to each individual player’s established (so each and every participant has 12 from which to choose) a solo manner and a mini-expansion with cows that mature, worthwhile you for keeping them in your hand. There are also some smaller sized tweaks, notably that offering to Kansas Town gives you only $4 as a substitute of $6 in the original (with the similar 6-point penalty, so it’s a fewer captivating tradeoff to get some speedy hard cash).

The personal structures grant a pair of steps to their builder whenever they land on people spaces, whilst other gamers may possibly have to pay out a price to pass by way of individuals buildings. They are all well worth details at the conclude of the video game — in the original, from 1 to 13 factors. The two new buildings include a 20-place setting up that can only be constructed as an improve to an present construction, and one particular that gets you cash dependent on how lots of engineers you have or how several discs you have placed on the board.

The solo mode is tailored from 1 developed by Steve Schlepphorst, an avid lover of the authentic GWT, and it features extra like a timer than a true opponent (or “automa,” as this kind of solo opponents are often called). The “dummy” player, Sam, has a deck of 15 movement/motion playing cards that you’ll shuffle and cycle by means of among your have turns. Sam will shift his teach swiftly around the monitor, take the most important hazard cards, take out personnel from the task marketplace, and from time to time get a cow or two. He areas a new disc on the following city on the line every time his herder reaches Kansas Metropolis. And he will take a lot of objective cards, all of which score as if done at match-end. But he does not get in your way pretty a great deal, which is a blended bag — it helps make the solo method more enjoyment, but does not replicate the multiplayer practical experience that properly. Sam just retains factors moving so that you really do not get virtually infinite turns ahead of the game ends, and gives you a rating to conquer. It strikes me as a fantastic follow mode, but potentially far too fiddly to engage in generally as a solo experience.

The mini-expansion introduces Simmental cow cards to the sector. These cows come up for sale as calves, with benefit just one, and if you have one particular in your hand when you get to Kansas Metropolis, you can switch it with a Simmental card of price two. The very same applies with price two playing cards, upgrading them to value a few, which is their peak. Right after that, it’s off to the slaughterhouse with you, Bessie. This is a exciting tiny tweak to the sport but it shouldn’t considerably change anyone’s system, not minimum mainly because these cows stand for a smaller fraction of the comprehensive deck.

Just one facet of the 2nd version that has not improved from the initially is the rule guide, which stays prolonged, crowded, and tricky to navigate. The clarification of the goal card scoring is buried in the part on getting people cards, not with the rationalization of the endgame scoring, exactly where it probably belongs. The new board doesn’t make the areas on the railroad observe clear — they’re numbered but not usually demarcated — which was also a trouble with the initially edition, and looks like it would have been an easy resolve.

If you are at all fascinated in seeking out a heavier match, or ended up turned off by some of the aesthetic alternatives in the primary, this next edition of Terrific Western Trail is a a great deal-enhanced version of what I take into account the ideal sport in its excess weight course, and a welcome return to the North American market place. It receives rid of some of the weak artwork decisions in the authentic without adversely affecting any of the strategic depth that designed the unique so excellent. Fantastic Western Path is a commitment — after you get started rustling them cattle, it is awful tough to quit — but this next version really should convey even extra individuals to the desk.

Wonderful Western Trail Next Edition was reviewed with a retail duplicate of the video game provided by Strategy B Video games and Asmodee. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not impact editorial content material, although Vox Media may possibly earn commissions for solutions ordered through affiliate one-way links. You can obtain supplemental data about Polygon’s ethics policy in this article.