On a large paper game board, make a path with spaces, to represent a trail that has a beginning and an end. Among the spaces should be an equal number of HARDSHIPS and OPPORTUNITIES.
Make two sets of cards, one of HARDSHIPS and one of OPPORTUNITIES. The content of both decks should be based on actual events and variables related to your territory. Variables might include whether a state is free or slave-owning, the existence of trails, the area's leaders, typical weather, presence of forests, cost of land, quality of farmland, Native Americans occupying the land, location of rivers, water sources, types of wildlife, yearly climate, and growing season.
HARDSHIPS might have a card that says, "Land claimed by more than one state. Go back 2 steps." Or: "Blizzard nearly kills pioneer Daniel Boone. Go back 3 steps."
An OPPORTUNITY card might read, "Slavery banned. Advance 4 steps." Or: "Cumberland Gap provides route through the Appalachian Mountains. Advance 3 steps."
On your board, include pictures of things settlers might have seen, such as mountains, prairies, and rivers.
Suggestion: Use recycled materials for your game. For cards, you can cut up cereal boxes and write on the inside. Make game pieces out of bottle caps, buttons, or similar materials.
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