Players will be able to identify the geographic path of the Lewis and Clark expedition along with the impact of Native American tribes that the expedition encountered. Players will identify plants and animals that the expedition came across along with the weather conditions they endured.
This game fits into Social Studies or American History curriculum during the study of Manifest Destiny, President Jefferson, and the Louisiana Purchase. The game is designed to be played as a learning reinforcement exercise or as a Webquest.
The game is designed for middle school students aged 12 – 14 spanning grades 6 through 8. The game would ideally be played in a classroom setting during the course of one class period. It is entirely self-contained, needing no special accommodation for completion of a typical game. Since there is a great deal of content relevant to the Lewis and Clark expedition contained within the game cards in the areas of Plants and Animals, Native Americans, and general Expedition Facts, repeated play is appropriate.
Ideally, the subject matter would be introduced in a lesson prior to actual game play. The content of this lesson would provide a context in which the game ideas/elements could be interpreted. Some ideas for this lesson would be to discuss:
Of course, if all of the above elements were to be included, the scope would have to be expanded beyond one preparatory lesson prior to game play. The content could encompass a lesson, a unit, or an entire semester of the school year at the discretion of the instructor.
After game play, students could focus on specific elements of the expedition to create reports that could be presented to their classmates. Advanced students could edit the journals of the expedition members to have a more in-depth understanding of the events of the expedition. Questions taken directly from game cards could be incorporated into an assessment designed to determine the effectiveness of game play on learning. Such an assessment could be delivered in a pre-test, treatment (game-play), post-test scenario.
Players collect experience points in three categories (plants and animals, Native American, and the expedition) while traveling across the game board (the Lewis and Clark expedition's path across the Western United States).
The game includes:
The game is for 2 to 4 players and will play for approximately thirty minutes to an hour. Game play will be quicker if players are familiar with the material. Playing the game in Webquest mode will cause the game to take longer.
A group of two (2) to four (4) players travels across a map of the Western United States along the Lewis and Clark expedition’s Westward route.
Players get points by collecting cards on three main topics:
The game can be played as a group or individually. When played individually, each player represents an expedition and collects her own card pile (points). When played as a group, each player represents a member of the same expedition and the group maintains a single card pile, pooling the points for the group.
Movement on the Board
Players move from East to West along the expedition route. The board is divided into sections. Players move across each section, collecting cards and earning points by moving off the main path onto color-coded areas. Each color corresponds to a certain card category (more about the cards later).
The sections of the board correspond to the time periods. The sections represent different terrain, weather condition, and Native American tribes.
Players cannot advance to the next region unless they have obtained a minimum of ten (10) food points. The cards totaling ten (10) food points are returned to the Food Cards pile. Players may take a surplus of no more than three (3) food points into the next region.
Winning the Game
The game ends when one player/team reaches Fort Clatsop on the west coast of the United States. At that time, the player/team with the most points wins. The first team to Fort Clatsop must have a minimum of five (5) food points upon arrival.
The game board represents a map of the Western United States and game play occurs on the Lewis and Clark expedition route. We felt that the map lends itself to a race game and decided that players will be racing to get to the end point of the game acquiring experience and food along the way. We decided to keep the play to the route of the real expedition since this is a historical game.
Most of our background information was gathered from the Lewis and Clark PBS Web site. One team member (Jason) had experience with Lewis and Clark curriculum and we drew heavily from his knowledge.
We struggled to include elements that influenced the actual expedition. We included food and weather as influences by requiring the players to gather food cards and by restricting the "flow" of the game through the areas where weather influenced the actual expedition. We originally intended the spaces on the game board to be smaller in areas where the expedition encountered inclement weather and difficult conditions, causing the player to move more slowly through those sections. This proved to difficult to implement in the prototype version of the game.
The player encountered obstacles mainly by drawing Experience Cards describing situations and setbacks. The player may lose a turn or surrender food points because of the obstacle. Alternatively, the player may encounter a shortcut items that allows them to jump to another square and receive an extra turn. The game is randomized by the chance distribution of game cards and by rolling a six-sided die controlling game movement.
Drafting the Game
Since this game simulates a historical event, we realized the importance of making sure that the game reflected the actual experiences of the expedition. It was also obvious that the subject matter lent itself best to a race style of game. We listed many different subject factors and influences and then narrowed the focus down to:
We considered assigning a different role to various team members, as if they played a certain part in the expedition (naturalist, interpreter, hunter, guide, etc) but we rejected that idea because it unnecessarily complicated the gameplay. We decided that even though the actual expedition went West and then returned, we would limit the game to simply the journey West because of fears that players would be bored with the return trip. We couldn't come up with a way to make the return trip unique.
We settled on a Trivial Pursuit style of card where there are multiple questions and answers on a single card. We also intermixed cards that describe a player event instead of requiring them to answer a question to earn the Experience Points. Question cards are worth more points than Event cards.
We played the game with adults because no suitable middle school age children were available to the developers. The initial feedback was positive. Players felt the game was interesting and fun. We incorporated several changes suggested by test players including more game squares available to land on. Designing the game was difficult and fun. The biggest challenges proved to be staying true to the real expedition and mapping the real world activities into the game.
Last updated October 21, 2002