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Matt Peterson
United States
Moorhead
Minnesota
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I came across this game at the age of 9 or 10, because my aunt was an engineer on an ore freighter that sailed out of Duluth. I think she was one of the first (THE first?) female engineer on a Great Lakes freighter...or something like that.

Anyway, she knew I liked games, and this game was for sale in a marine equipment store in Two Harbors (near Duluth) and it happened to be close to my birthday....so needless to say, I became one of the proud owners of Great Lakes Cargo: the game. I'm not sure how many people in the world can make the statement that they have even played Great Lakes Cargo, much less own it.

At any rate, the game is a simple little race of picking up and delivering cargo while avoiding storms and dodging high harbor fees. If you're really into ore freighting, you might think this game is cool. Or if you really like Gordon Lightfoot...GL fans will be happy to note that the Edmund Fitzgerald is promintently featured on the $5,000,000 bill.

The play is simple, like I said. You roll the dice, move the number of spaces rolled and go from harbor to harbor loading and unloading cargo (the board is a map of the Great Lakes, with a grid overlaid for spaces). The harbors you go to are dictated by Cargo Cards, which are dealt at the beginning of the game. You can purchase more Cargo Cards as the game goes on. Whoever raises $25,000,000 first--and THEN loads and unloads one more boatload of ore (to get out of debt and see a profit) wins.

The fun comes in when someone rolls doubles. This means there is a storm warning. If your ship is not in a harbor when the storm warning comes, you must get to one with the number you rolled, otherwise you must draw a navigation card. The navigation cards moves your ship a certain number of spaces in a certain direction (like West 2, North 1, etc.) If this places you on water, you are safe and merely inconvenienced and seasickgulp. If the storm blows you off the board (or if you draw the dreaded Flying Dutchman cardsoblue ), your ship is sunkzombie. You must pay $10,000,000 to get a new ship. if you don't have 10 mil, you must retire (lose).

In practice, the storms rarely sink ships...just like in real life, I guess. Though, on the navigation cards are printed instances of ships being sunk by storms and other means, so at least you get a good history lesson out of the deal. The locations of the shipwrecks are also pointed out on the board.

All in all, this game is OK. Like I said earlier, if you are really into ore freighters or "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," you'll probably get a kick out of it. If you're not into those things, you probably won't.

Let's hear it for Taconite!
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Dave VanderArk
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Coopersville
Michigan
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Any idea if the game is still in print and available? It sounds like something my kids and I would enjoy.
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Dave VanderArk
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David Vander Ark wrote:
Any idea if the game is still in print and available? It sounds like something my kids and I would enjoy.

I'll answer myself. It's out of print. It's hard to find. For some reason, it sells for a buttload of money on eBay. It took five years of intermittent searching for me to finally track down a copy on eBay that DIDN'T sell for over $50. $33 shipped to me.
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