The Oregon Trail

LQ: 9.23


Brain grade: 9.4
Fun score: 9.13

Game Type: , , ESRB Rating: N/A Platform/Console: , LWK Recommended Age: 12+ Thinking Skills Used: , Academic Skills Used:

iPhone iPad


The Oregon Trail is an adventuring survival game based on the historical trip many settlers took on the road west in the 1800’s. The player selects their party of four people and sets out with some meager supplies, some oxen, and a wagon. As the journey continues, hardships continuously befall the party; people can get injured, eat spoiled food, contract diseases, or even get injured by the wagon itself. The wagon can also break down or the oxen can be worked to exhaustion. Robbers can steal from you or items can fall out of an unprepared part of the wagon. All of these things add up to reduce the stats of your party members. If these stats continue to stay low enough or a major event befalls them, members of the party can die. 

Players can occasionally stop the party in settlements or in camps to rest and regain energy but the majority of the game is played moving along the trail. The Oregon Trail has several different difficulty modes depending on how difficult of an experience the player would like. 

The Oregon Trail is now available with a subscription to Apple Arcade. It is rated 12+ due to alcohol/tobacco references and mild fantasy violence and medical procedures. Learningworks for Kids believes that every parent can make this decision for their own children. To read more about game rating systems please click here

The Oregon Trail helps kids practice and improve the following skills:

Planning: Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.

Everything in The Oregon Trail is in scarcity. The amount of money, food, supplies, and medicine the party has is always in flux. Players need to use their planning skills to determine what items are the most important to purchase and when it is best to use them. Players also need to know how to set the pace and food consumption of the party to ensure that supplies don’t run out but that the party also doesn’t become too exhausted due to lack of nourishment. When hunting, the player cannot shoot more food than the wagon can carry or they will waste precious bullets. For players who struggle with planning, they may want to start the game on the easiest level so that they can practice with how much planning is required by the game. 

Organization: Arranging and coordinating materials in order to complete a task.

Players also need to be organized and know how much equipment they have and stock up as soon as they run out. For example, if everyone in your party gets cholera, you will need medicine for all four members. The player will need to mentally keep track of what has been used or refer back to the wagon inventory. They will then need to remember what items they need to repurchase when they arrive in settlements or trade with other travelers to get what they need. For players who struggle with organization, referring back to the wagon inventory often and staying at a settlement until they are sure they have everything they need will help practice this skill. 

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