Game Overview

Oregon is a western-based theme game. We’re back in year 1846 when whole families left their homelands and headed to west in search of a new beginning. Despite its western theme, in Oregon you will find no violence at all. No gunfights, no cowboys and no sheriffs. You have to deal with other players in peace, counting on your planning and investing abilities.

The game board is a map of Oregon, divided in five columns and five rows. In both columns and rows we find the same slot joker images (wagon, bison, settler, eagle, campfire). The goal of each player is to place buildings and farmers cleverly on the board in order to obtain the maximum number of points. Every player starts with a hand of 4 cards (3 landscape cards and 1 building card), 14 farmers of his colour (the 15th is placed on the scoring track), two tokens (extra turn and joker) and a start tile. On a player’s turn, he must place at least one of his farmers or build one building on the board. In order to place a farmer, one must play two of his landscape cards and place the farmer on an empty space (except water spaces) located on the crossing of the row and the column corresponding to the symbols depicted on the cards (the player decides which card represents the row and which the column). If he decides to place a building, he must play a landscape card and a building card. The landscape card determines the row or column on which the building can be places and the building card, the type of building. He then takes a corresponding building tile from the supply stack and places it on any empty space of the column or the row determined by the landscape card. Of course any building can’t be placed anywhere on the map but only on a space with the corresponding background color. So the harbor, for example, must be placed adjacent to a water space and the mines (gold or coal) may only be placed on a mountain space. By placing farmers and buildings, the players earn points. If they place farmers they earn points for each building their farmer is adjacent to (diagonally does count) and he also takes 5 points if he manages to make a group of 3 adjacent farmers (in this case diagonally doesn’t count). If they place buildings, they earn points for each farmer the building is adjacent to (other players’ farmers also earn points). After playing cards a player can decide whether he will use his extra turn token (if it is in its active side), or will end his turn. If his turn ends he must restore his hand to 4 cards (provided that he will have at least one building and one landscape card on hand). Then it’s the next player’s turn.

The game ends as soon as all farmers of a player’s colour are placed on the board or a number of building stacks is exhausted (depending on the number of players, from 2 to 4). The final round is played to the end, until all players have had the same number of turns.

First Impression

Oregon is a fast, easy to learn game but demands good planning and a lot of attention while playing. You must be very flexible in your strategy, because there are times in the game you may need to change it in order to obtain the maximum advantage of the way buildings and farmers are placed on the board. You also must be always ready to grab opportunities for yourself and deny opportunities to rivals.

Components

I think that Hans Im Gluck, as a publisher, guarantees a good level in components quality. And Oregon is not an exception. Good quality box, well drawn board, nice cards (both buildings and landscapes), building tiles, coal and gold tiles, 60 wooden meeples in 4 colours (15 each) and 8 big tokens (extra turn and jokers). 7/10

Gameplay

Oregon combines in a good way some different mechanics. Tile placement, worker placement, area control, card drafting and why not hand management because you can decide whether you can use some cards in your hand in this turn or keep them for the next round. It’s at the same time easy and complicated and in every round you have to make decisions upon the best actions. 8/10

Learning Curve

Easy to learn. The rulebook is well-written and a medium experienced gamer will find it easy to get started with the game. Can be played at any time and by any group because of its short-playing time (45′-60′) and medium weight. 8/10

Theme

Well ok…it’s a eurogame. So the theme isn’t its advantage. West in this game isn’t what you have always imagined. On the other hand, the map does a good job in reminding you the theme and so do the images on the cards or the meeples with their huts. You don’t feel like you’re in real Oregon but there are times you can feel like a cowboy. Without a gun of course… 6/10

Replayability

No game is the same. I’ve played over 50 games until now either with a group of friends or in the online version. There are different things to do in every game and different challenges. 8/10

Fun

Every game that is quite easy but demands a lot of strategic decisions and challenges and is being played within an hour at most, seems fun to me… 7/10

Pros:

Easy to learn but challenging enough
Playing time
Can be played by different kind of gamers
Nice components
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