The Donner Party

Player Rating5.30/8

"#127 overall, #7 for 2014"
based on 380 ratings since 11/30/2014
played 4,946 times (finished 464)

Story Difficulty6/8

"wandering through the desert"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a Snickers®"

Maturity Level5/8

"aren't you a little too old to be trick or treating"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG-13.

In this story-game you become a member of the Donner Party.
The Donner Party were a group of about 90 men, women and children who tried traveling to their new homes in California by an unfamiliar route across the Salt Lake Desert of Utah and the Sierra Nevada Mountains but met with enough misfortunes and suffering to kill half the group and leave the remainder scarred for the rest of their lives...

Player Comments

Knowing the history of the Donner party, and knowing the history of Will11’s games, I am prepared to be mortified, disgusted, and depressed by this story! Then again, it may be much nicer and appropriate for this site with good inferences only. Surely this will have some good historical data as well.

I like the setups and the descriptions. The author really puts you in the story and you get a feeling of being on the adventure with the rest of the group. I like the details and accuracy, too, with the individuals clearly named and at least a little described as you venture into the story and down the path.

I also really like how the author really gives great choices in a game like this with a historical basis. You would think that you’re just going to read a history lesson, but with the choices you can see the history lesson from different points of view. You get to decide which parts you would choose and then see how those choices would have likely ended up if you had been in that situation so many years ago. I also really like how it includes such detail that give reasoning to what happens – it is not random and it is clear that the desert is taking a toll on the party when you go through it.

This was an absolutely excellent story and great addition to this site. It tells this story in a very good way and still allows the reader lots of options during the story, making it a great CYOA story as well. Excellent job, Will11, thank you for sharing this story with the site!
-- Ogre11 on 6/6/2018 2:19:12 PM
I keep telling myself I need to read more of the featured stories here, so I started with this one.

The Donner Party really is one of those morbidly fascinating little snippets of history and so it was a good choice to base a story on it. Though the writing style was a little dry--not helped by the problem with this kind of historical story, being that since it so closely follows actual events you know going in that nothing you choose is going to change anything, which is a big part of the appeal of a CYOA in the first place. (I've actually considered writing a 'game' about the Legion Valley Massacre because Matilda Friend has always been an inspirational figure for me, but ran into the same issue...)

So instead my character got to tag along with various real life people and take a completely hands off approach just observing a straight reenactment of events. Which to be fair, are interesting enough in their own right.

I ran into a couple issues with how some of the links looped (PMed you about the biggest one where the char somehow teleported from California to Nevada), but there were a couple of other minor issues, like the game assuming my character had been with party and resorted to cannibalism when in fact, the first time through I sat out pretty much the entire thing chilling at Sutter's Fort.

But all in all this was well worth a read, especially considering the scarcity of decent historical writing on this site.
-- mizal on 5/20/2015 5:40:41 PM
this game sucks i died
-- donner on 5/16/2018 12:22:56 PM
Can you make it longer?
-- Madalyn on 4/13/2018 4:32:53 PM
There were some grammatical errors. Add some commas.
-- Bagel on 3/26/2018 9:26:44 AM
loved it
-- luke skywalker on 11/28/2017 10:19:33 AM
Really short game in my opinion. Although its historical value may be worthy. :)
-- TestingJest on 11/18/2017 2:09:19 AM
This actually helped me with my history final, Thanks!
-- J on 11/10/2017 11:36:11 AM
This was really fun. i thought i was going to die half the time but i didnt.
-- NIko on 9/20/2017 10:43:18 AM
If you would do it with pictures and do it more like Oregan Trail it would be better
-- Abigail on 9/19/2017 1:42:53 PM
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