Michael Frost

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Just curious if anyone is looking at the historical inaccuracies of this game. It is as if the designer didn't know much about America, our RRs or our cattle drives.

First, the great cattle drives went from Texas to Kansas. Places like Abilene, Dodge City, and Wichita. The RRs ran through KC. The cattle did not do so by trail.

Second, the point was to get the cattle to railheads as quickly as possible (so they wouldn't lose weight) that would send the cattle EAST, not West, for processing. Big meat packing operations. Like Chicago. See Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906), which covered the then working horrors in the huge meatpacking operations in Chicago.

It isn't hard to figure out that the vast majority of Americans back then (and still today) lived out EAST. The shipping by rail and processing of beef was to meet demand in the major cities of the midwest and East, like Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, NY, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, St. Louis, etc. There is no point in sending cattle by rail out West, when the meatpacking plants are in the midwest and east.

Just wonder why no attempt at historical accuracy? Weird.

Just some fyi on cattle drives in USA:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattle_drives_in_the_United_St...

And an fyi on the historic Great Western Cattle Trail. See the map which shows the cattle drives north out of Texas, the railheads in Kansas, and the railroads, mostly going East for processing and then to consumer markets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Western_Cattle_Trail
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Maybe because this is a game, not a history book.

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I'd like to think we aren't shipping them to their death but rather to range free on the open plains of the far west.

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Jerod S.
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The game designer is from Austria... Having said that, it doesn't mean that he didn't have access or knowledge of that era. But maybe he just picked cities he thought "romanticized" the theme/times. Along with the "moving out west" idea. Not that this game depicts moving west, but still.

I am not sure of the accuracy of either the games locations vs theme, or the claims from MPMelanchthon. But for me I could care less. I don't even care to look it up. That seems like a lot of wasted effort in my opinion. I would rather just play a fun game and move on.
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I think it's a game based on the little known late 1800's attempt to convince westerners that cows would make fine pets.

That's why the cattle cards have all of these great fashion shots.

Look at that West Highland. What young western family wouldn't want to cuddle up with that beauty?



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Tahsin Shamma
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I mentioned this in another thread, but the city names conjure images of the American Southwest. Theme.

The railroads players are building aren't meant to be single train lines. Imagine the players are expanding networks, particularly the Southern Pacific. Theme.

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isellsunshine wrote:
I'd like to think we aren't shipping them to their death but rather to range free on the open plains of the far west.



Sci-fi alt-history? Planet of the Cows! The intelligent cows have masterminded a plan whereby the humans expand their rail networks so the cows can live out west in a society free of the human savagery. Kansas City was the last human outpost so the more you deliver there the more you lose points.

It's also like a great bovine redistribution and preservation scheme, so having more different cows encourages the survival of Bovine Civilization.

The Longhorns were the leaders, upper classes.

West Highlands the scientists/engineers, etc...

Oh nevermind.
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lucky henry wrote:

Maybe because this is a game, not a history book.



And how hard would it have been to (a) end the trail in Abilene and (b) use cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburg, NY, Philadelophia, Baltimore, Boston, etc.

There is never any reason for a game designer to get the history of a themed game completely WRONG when it is so easy to get it right. (Compare to say Wallenstein. Where you fight the 30 Years' War around 1623. Being accurate means it is also a more interesting game. That can play out like the actual history did.)

And, sadly, sounds like the American High School system has stopped requiring a read of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. Anyone who read that knows this theme is historically inaccurate.

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I understand the original post but, to me anyway it doesn't really matter, does the the game play well?
I think it does.
So if the designer has used poetic licence, I have no issues.
Hollywood do it every day, in every single movie, it don't stop me going to the cinema every week.
However, if the game is sold on it historical accuracy then it better get it right.
Otherwise, board games are fun, enjoyable and for me they don't all need to be educational or a history lesson.
Have fun guys
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Pinkthunder wrote:
I understand the original post but, to me anyway it doesn't really matter, does the the game play well?
I think it does.
So if the designer has used poetic licence, I have no issues.
Hollywood do it every day, in every single movie, it don't stop me going to the cinema every week.
However, if the game is sold on it historical accuracy then it better get it right.
Otherwise, board games are fun, enjoyable and for me they don't all need to be educational or a history lesson.
Have fun guys


Really, I mean this is the same designer who did Mombasa, about 19th century European colonization of Africa. Would you say the same if he'd gotten that all wrong? As he does here. Say, set it in S. America, because "Mombasa" sounds like it might be tied to Brazil. Or Australia or Canada because he wanted to be whimsical with the exploitation of indigenous peoples? I think not.

Weird. What does it say when accuracy in Africa is more important than accuracy in America? He's Austrian, reportedly, and all it takes is some quick reviews of basic history and maps to get things right.

Guess it is just too bad he didn't set GWT in Africa and moved Mombasa to Texas. Too damn funny.
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Jerod S.
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
...

Really, I mean this is the same designer who did Mombasa, about 19th century European colonization of Africa. Would you say the same if he'd gotten that all wrong? As he does here. Say, set it in S. America, because "Mombasa" sounds like it might be tied to Brazil. Or Australia or Canada because he wanted to be whimsical with the exploitation of indigenous peoples? I think not.

Weird. What does it say when accuracy in Africa is more important than accuracy in America? He's Austrian, reportedly, and all it takes is some quick reviews of basic history and maps to get things right.

Guess it is just too bad he didn't set GWT in Africa and moved Mombasa to Texas. Too damn funny.


I think there is a "serious problem" here. I don't, however, think it is in any way associated with the game.
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And compare the inaccuracies of GWT to another great recent Euro, Ulm. Based on the city and its history (see the rule book which discusses both!). Could you imagine the uproar and laughter if the designer had gotten the city and its cathedral all wrong?

Good theme is nice. So if you want to choose an historical theme, stick to the actual history. Don't claim some "real" theme and "fake" the history. Here the designer clearly set the cattle drive from Texas to KC (wrong!) and then has the cattle go out West (wrong again!).
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Lumpfuggit wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
...

Really, I mean this is the same designer who did Mombasa, about 19th century European colonization of Africa. Would you say the same if he'd gotten that all wrong? As he does here. Say, set it in S. America, because "Mombasa" sounds like it might be tied to Brazil. Or Australia or Canada because he wanted to be whimsical with the exploitation of indigenous peoples? I think not.

Weird. What does it say when accuracy in Africa is more important than accuracy in America? He's Austrian, reportedly, and all it takes is some quick reviews of basic history and maps to get things right.

Guess it is just too bad he didn't set GWT in Africa and moved Mombasa to Texas. Too damn funny.


I think there is a "serious problem" here. I don't, however, think it is in any way associated with the game.


I agree with Jon's review (JonGetsGames), a serious problem is the game itself. His review is accurate and nails the game problems.
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Tahsin Shamma
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
Here the designer clearly set the cattle drive from Texas to KC (wrong!) and then has the cattle go out West (wrong again!).


First, from the link you sent above:

Quote:
On average, a single herd of cattle on a long drive (for example, Texas to Kansas railheads) numbered about 3,000 head.


Second, really dude? Really?
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veector wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Here the designer clearly set the cattle drive from Texas to KC (wrong!) and then has the cattle go out West (wrong again!).


First, from the link you sent above:

Quote:
On average, a single herd of cattle on a long drive (for example, Texas to Kansas railheads) numbered about 3,000 head.


Second, really dude? Really?


The Kansas railheads were Abilene, Dodge City, and Wichita. Check your map of Kansas. Kansas City is in Missouri, not Kansas. Really?
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I'm going to side with OP and say that I'm disappointed that the historical accuracy is so far off. I think this is a completely valid criticism.

It's one thing to sacrifice some historical accuracy for better game mechanics, but a completely other thing to simply be historically inaccurate regardless of game mechanics.

If simple cosmetic theme changes could make the game more historically accurate, the designer has the burden of justifying why those choices weren't made in my opinion.

This game just went from a must buy to a pass for me. The OP is 100% correct that the era has a rich history to mine for compelling game play. To get historical facts wrong seems artistically negligent.
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
veector wrote:
MPMelanchthon wrote:
Here the designer clearly set the cattle drive from Texas to KC (wrong!) and then has the cattle go out West (wrong again!).


First, from the link you sent above:

Quote:
On average, a single herd of cattle on a long drive (for example, Texas to Kansas railheads) numbered about 3,000 head.


Second, really dude? Really?


The Kansas railheads were Abilene, Dodge City, and Wichita. Check your map of Kansas. Kansas City is in Missouri, not Kansas. Really?


What I'm saying, is it really THAT big of a deal? Let it go.
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This discussion reminds me of the desiger diary for Carson City. Basically, being Dutch, the designer understandably had very little historical knowledge of the Wild West, but he had watched many Western movies and TV shows, which of course were very inaccurate and romanticized, and so he based his theme on that. I've noticed this with other European game designers, where any theme set outside of Europe, and particularly North America, tends to be far less accurate to reality than a European theme. That seems fair - it's only a game after all - except that occasionally a carelessly added theme element can be offensive to consumers in that region (e.g., depictions of slaves and Native Americans).
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It's like having a game about the Golden Age (1950s) of the American Automobile Industry and instead of having cars built in Detroit, the game has players build cars in Plano, Texas.

The game mechanics become irrelevant when a theme is too broken.
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Daniel Grant
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veector wrote:

What I'm saying, is it really THAT big of a deal? Let it go.


Would you be down with a Civil War game that had Massachusetts as part of the Confederacy? Or a Revolutionary War game that featured the Liberty Bell being rung by Abraham Lincoln in Boston?

Game mechanics can be broken.

Themes can be broken.
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Jerod S.
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quill65 wrote:
This discussion reminds me of the desiger diary for Carson City. Basically, being Dutch, the designer understandably had very little historical knowledge of the Wild West, but he had watched many Western movies and TV shows, which of course were very inaccurate and romanticized, and so he based his theme on that. I've noticed this with other European game designers, where any theme set outside of Europe, and particularly North America, tends to be far less accurate to reality than a European theme. That seems fair - it's only a game after all - except that occasionally a carelessly added theme element can be offensive to consumers in that region (e.g., depictions of slaves and Native Americans).


hmmmm that is very interesting ... The OP has the Carson City game rated as a 10!!! ... He apparently didn't have any problems then with that game. LOL
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Jerod S.
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MPMelanchthon wrote:
...

I agree with Jon's review (JonGetsGames), a serious problem is the game itself. His review is accurate and nails the game problems.


None of which refer to the theme vs locations in the game.
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Lumpfuggit wrote:
quill65 wrote:
This discussion reminds me of the desiger diary for Carson City. Basically, being Dutch, the designer understandably had very little historical knowledge of the Wild West, but he had watched many Western movies and TV shows, which of course were very inaccurate and romanticized, and so he based his theme on that. I've noticed this with other European game designers, where any theme set outside of Europe, and particularly North America, tends to be far less accurate to reality than a European theme. That seems fair - it's only a game after all - except that occasionally a carelessly added theme element can be offensive to consumers in that region (e.g., depictions of slaves and Native Americans).


hmmmm that is very interesting ... The OP has the Carson City game rated as a 10!!! ... He apparently didn't have any problems then. LOL


I think the distinction is authenticity. A Wild West game can draw upon the rich romanticism of the Wild West in cinema and literature. No one expects a Wild West game to be historically accurate.

A game about herding cattle is different. It themes itself as an authentic depiction of an historical event. There isn't an erroneous pop culture consciousness about herding cattle to Kansas City the game draws upon. It just made it up whole cloth.
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Jatta Pake wrote:
veector wrote:

What I'm saying, is it really THAT big of a deal? Let it go.


Would you be down with a Civil War game that had Massachusetts as part of the Confederacy? Or a Revolutionary War game that featured the Liberty Bell being rung by Abraham Lincoln in Boston?

Game mechanics can be broken.

Themes can be broken.


The designer never claims nor makes any statements about accuracy of the theme. It's a backdrop. For that matter, does any of it make sense? Why would I have all these cattle varieties in a cattle drive? Some are better for milking and wouldn't normally be used as meat. Why is it that a certain building expands my railroad network. What's the time scale in the game? A couple months to drive cattle north and in that time I can expand my railroad across vast distances? If you go looking for historical inaccuracies, you're going to find them everywhere, in almost every game.

In this game, the theme is there for flavor, nothing more.
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Tahsin Shamma
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Jatta Pake wrote:
It themes itself as an authentic depiction of an historical event.


Where, exactly, does it do this?
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