Game: Lewis and Clark
Designer: Cedrick Chaboussit
Lewis and Clark is a game that we received in a trade within our game group. When it was given to us we were told never to play it with 3 or 4, so we have strictly kept this game in the house and played it with just the two of us. I’m still not sure why we wouldn’t play it with more, but it is a game we struggle to get to the table often. We now feel that we’ve played enough times to review it though so here are the Yellow Meeple’s thoughts.
Lewis and Clark is a race over river, where you travel by canoe, and mountains, where you travel on horseback. You have a team of characters who will help you to do this by gathering resources for you and allowing you to trade them in different ways. You also have access to Indians who are able to use the board to gather resources but also can help your characters to boost their actions or can use other spots on the board to convert resources into canoes and horses.
You each start the game with a hand of basic characters, a few basic resources and an Indian which you store in limited spots on your player board. On your turn you either play two cards from your hand – one of which is the action you want to perform and the other card which you sacrifice to power that card, or you can place Indians, worker placement style, on an action spot on the board. You then perform the action selected and have the opportunity to purchase another character from a face-up market. You continue taking turns until a point where you choose to camp, which is typically when you are running low on cards in your hand. Hopefully by this point you have moved you expedition forward by playing movement actions and using your canoes or horses and you can set up camp slightly further up the river than where you started. You then clear up for cards from the table meaning that other players can no longer take advantage of them. If when you camp you have overflowing stocks of resources or Indians, or cards left in your hand, then your camp moves backwards as a penalty.
|A selection of the potential characters which can be bought for a combination of hides and equipment. These are added to your hand and have different and often more powerful abilities than your starting cards.|
The game is really tight and a lot of decisions go into one turn which can include elements or hand management, worker placement, resource management and a lot of forward planning and optimisation of your movement. I can see how slow turns could be for players with AP, but we’re pretty efficient at our choices and so Lewis and Clark normally takes around 1 hour.
|The game setup for two players.|
I would definitely suggest that you don’t go into this as a racing game. Although you are racing to the finish – the race might as well be a score track with some conditions on how you score points and is an extremely slow race! However it is a really tight euro-game with lots of interesting mechanics. It’s definitely a brain burner, but it doesn’t out stay its welcome and for us that’s a pretty good type of game to have on our shelves. It can often be frustrating as you see your opponent race ahead but this normally ends up being part of the ebb and flow in the game as you are both in different stages in your engine building. The end game normally ends up being a very close fought thing.
Although we don’t get it to the table very often and every time we do we do appear to notice different rules that we’ve misinterpreted in the past, we’re still keen to play the game from time to time. Lewis and Clark deserves a 7.5/10 from the Yellow Meeple.