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The Oregon Trail Guide

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Hints and Tips

  1. Don't spend Trail Notes at Independence or on the trail. They will be much more useful in Oregon City.
  2. The most useful things to buy with trail notes in Oregon City, from the peddler's special stash or the Hualapai village are:
    • Repeating rifle - loads faster and uses less shots when hunting
    • Armour - resists injury when hunting and by bandits
    • Spyglass - sold to the explorer only - reduces the cost of searching
    • Officer's uniform - helps you get to the next level by increasing the XP earned
    • Hualapai Basket - allows you to have 600 extra food, buy it at the Hualapai village
  3. The least useful things to buy with trail notes are:
    • Gatling Gun - protects you from bandits but it takes up an inventory slot and is seldom used. Only the soldier can use it. Buy it only to complete the Gun Collector achievement
    • Metate - reduces food usage but only very slightly. I traveled 56 miles with 150 food, without it 50 miles on 150 food.
    • Winter clothing - protects you from frostbite but frostbite is one of the things which has to be cured for an achievement and it seldom occurs anyway. Buy it only to complete the 'Fasionista' achievement.
  4. The bartender in the saloon will give you game hints. You'll also meet many people who will give you quests.
  5. You can counter the effect of mud slowing you down by using spicy chill,
  6. Lemons stack buy up to 10.
  7. When you start each trail section there's often something to find behind the wagon. For a very short time it's visible as the wagon passes it. Most people miss it.
  8. You won't find items within 20 miles of your destination unless it's a trip of less than 20 miles when you'll get one found item.
  9. A quick way to accumulate coins, energy, food and stamina items 'Found on the trail' is to repeatedly travel between Independence Rock and Devils Gate. This is a very short trip - 10 miles so watch out for the found item appearing behind the wagon.
  10. Starting pistols stack 3 to a slot. Use them for extra speed.
  11. If your animals spook - great! hang on and enjoy the extra speed.
  12. Keep an eye on your energy. If it gets to the maximum do some searching or you will waste it.
  13. In Independence buy Farm rations ($20 for 250) as a farmer - then change to whatever occupation you want to travel as. That's better value than the War rations the soldier can buy ($40 for 400)
  14. Cotton is probably the best trade goods to buy since you can stack 5 of them in one slot and buy unlimited cotton in Independence at $75. The necklace earns slightly more but can't be stacked and is often not available. The most profitable item is the Giant Grizzly fur but only if you are traveling as the fur trader and have the ceremonial skinning knife. Both the necklace and giant grizzly pelt are vulnerable to being lost to bandits/rivers/floods.
  15. The best places to search are on or near the various loops in the trail. Granada station, Courthouse Rock, Independence Rock and at the Blue Mountains. If you want medicines, try searching on the trail from the Dalles to Oregon City. Remember all searches are random though so there are no guarantees of what you will find. BUT see also...
  16. Searches vary for different people. Just because one person gets poor results in a location, it doesn't mean you will not get good results. Experiment to find your good areas.
  17. Visiting the trail doctor at a fort/station is a quick way of finding out the state of your team's health - even if you intend to cure them yourself.
  18. The 'Death March' 2,100 mile trail from Grand Canyon to Oregon City
    • There are NO places to buy supplies/repair wagons. (Infrequently you might meet an Indian)
    • To get there by Dec 21 you'll probably need to travel at grueling pace - but this uses 4 food per mile so you'll need 8400 lb. ('Normal' uses 2 food per mile and 'slow' uses 1.5 food per mile.)
    • There is a really deep and wide river where you really need to pay the ferry.
    • There are sinkholes where you'll find the best option is to swerve at the last minute - and lose a team member.
    • Searching is largely unproductive - worth doing only to level up. To make the best of this ensure you have a teacher in the team when you start from Independence.
    • Make sure you use chicken soup and apples before you start to keep health high.
    • Make sure you've found lots of dried fruit and eggs before you start
    • Make sure you have lots of stamina boost items before you start.
    • Make sure you take lots of red hot chilies for a speed, stamina and energy boost
    • If someone falls ill, cure serious diseases and delirium (use herbal cures which you've found before starting), ignore fever, snakebite and injury. Keep an eye on health and use herbal tea to restore it - again have a stock of these found on the trail.
    • When you run out of stamina use the stamina boosts available on this board and grave posts from your wall. Do the same for food.
  19. How to get the 'You died of Dysentery' achievement
    1. Start in March with no rations bought - but have with you either found or bought food such as hardtack, flour, eggs or dried fruit. You'll also need a health cure (best is herbal tea) and the means to cure illnesses (best is herbal remedy).
    2. RUN at grueling pace. Collect gold, energy and stamina but NOT food
    3. When team members get sick or injured - don't cure them
    4. DON'T hunt for food when you run out.
    5. When the last team member dies use a small amount of food from your inventory and apply a health cure.
    6. Travel at normal speed - you can now collect food on the trail as well.
    7. When you get sick - if it's not dysentery cure it immediately. DO NOT CURE DYSENTERY!
    8. Stop collecting food or using it from your inventory. Stop hunting. If you get a buffalo hunt - miss and stop the hunt early.
    9. Go back to running at grueling pace to use up your food quickly.
    10. You'll find when you run out of food you will rapidly die of dysentery.
  20. How to get the 'Mr Impatient' award
    In theory you can do it in 64 'trail' days and less than an hour real time. My best time was 69 days. There's a large element of luck involved though. My advice would be to use as many of the following as possible:
    1. travel as explorer - you go faster
    2. have the cattle driver's clothing - 15% speed boost
    3. use 1 chicken soup at the start of your trip to keep the team healthier
    4. to speed your wagon use 1 sarsaparilla (20% speed boost), 1 red hot chili (30%), 1 root beer (5%), 1 moccasins (5%), 1 cactus fruit (40%) if you have it
    5. Using the mini games will not delay you - unless you run out of food or have your wagon break down. Carry extra food as hardtack, flour, dried fruit or eggs to avoid running out of food and repair your wagon before it breaks down.
    6. carry bacon/jerky/squirrel stew/etc to restore stamina
    7. carry canteens to replenish water
    8. don't stop to heal sick but carry herbal tea to heal your last surviving team member as a buffer to keep you healthy.
    9. if someone gets lost or falls off the wagon leave them behind
    10. use skull spinner wheels to keep wagon healthy
    11. carry the anvil to help repair the wagon and the compass to make getting lost less likely
    12. carry starting pistols to gain extra speed by spooking oxen and an equal number of liniment to use afterwards
    13. buffalo stampedes will delay you 1-2 days so...
    14. use the shortest route BUT take the southern route from Fort Laramie to avoid buffalo stampedes (20 miles longer). You may still encounter them but it will be less often.
    15. raft wherever possible
    16. Travel at grueling pace
    17. pay bandits; use trail notes to buy yourself out of trouble
    It seems that using multiple chili no longer boosts speed so don't use more than one of each speed boosting item
  21. Catherine Compton wrote a very useful new player's guide which has now been updated and added to this site. Find it here


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