The Emigre: Wagon Train (WIP and DD) | Updated:01/15/22

I had tried the story for 2 playthroughs, overall i think this is a very interesting project , where i assume MC would be able to find great adventures ahead … ummm , i do hope your story would end up something similar to Tin Star , as i feel similar atmosphere about the setting.

Now, for some of my opinions and findings thus far

I chose to join Elisabeth and the Wolfingers, i believe i chose Kim as Fence, but Elisabeth mentioned i am with alley rats? Perhaps a continuity error here?

Then, before leaving my best friend, Jill… i chose to become a sort of tailor , so when Elisabeth gives me choices of profession, am i to assume correctly Personal Assistant would be best fit for my skill? Based on description, Personal Assistant would join the council meeting and will aim to become leader one day, so i assume personal assistant would be the profession to take if i want to become someone to lead?
The other 2 professions, trailblazer and odd jobber, didn’t give enough hints on how they would become important one day, but if all 3 professions lead to a leadership post one day… these seem to be irrelevant fake choice.

Of the choice of one person to follow me, i had pick Virginia and Elitha once, Virginia is sort of a tailor, i think it would be best to have a different interaction with her based on our earlier choice of skill, like i am skillful in tailoring , so i should have a different scene on how i work better with her , as compare to other skill.
Similar to Elitha, who is a huntress, so i should have a scene like i am ineffective in helping her?

Since Virginia is from family Reed while Elitha is from Donner, i hope in future there will be different interaction scene or conversation with all three different companions , so that they are not look alike with a different name… well i am hoping all 3 of them will be present as a different individual with different story to play , assuming they are major characters who will play major role in our life…Lol

Oh yeah… one more thing, i bought the milk cow earlier, it was my intention to keep the cow for its milk but apparently there was no other choicet but to slaughter whatever animals we bought.

Well, these are my opinions about the game thus far, i hope i can be helpful😄


@Eric_knight – Thank you for giving my game demo a couple of readings. I am glad that you were interested enough to do this.

  • Re: Tin Star – Allen Gies’s game is a direct influence upon this game; I am happy you get a similar atmosphere; I hope to continue those connections, although my game is set in an earlier, and different time than Tin Star which happens about 40 years later.

  • Re: “alley rat” error – That is definitely an error if you were a fence. I should be able to find and correct this error using the screen-shot you provided!

  • Your observations about Virginia and Elitha are interesting, thank you for sharing them. As of this point in the story’s timeline, both Virginia and Elitha are generalist in their skill-set, roughly equal, but in different families. The feelings that you got about them are interesting, and I shall schedule a pass to look at them once more.

  • There will be many more scenes involving both characters in the game; they both are reoccurring major npcs. In the early game, while things are getting laid out, their paths in your story will be similar, but there will be several big plot points that will change things; perhaps leading to one or both of their deaths.

  • Re: Milk cow – I will look at this part of the story as well; keeping it for milk should have been a valid decision.

  • Re: jobs chosen – Like other basic mechanics, starting out, they may seem similar, but as the story progresses, there should be more impact with what you chose.

This game is a slow-burn in approach rather than instant explosion.

Thanks for taking the time to give me great feedback, and good eye in catching pesky bugs that hide from me. :slight_smile:


You are most welcome, i think the writing in term of story layout is very well done.

Ummm, as i can remember , all three families have their share of strength and potential weakness. Will there be management gameplay for these families in the future?

The Donner has the most people, but seems less organised, so it will take more work keeping everyone in line, and with more people, require more food and supplies… these could be a disadvantage in the long run as they need to constantly fill in the supply line .

Reed is the most organised family, so i assume the default settings for the task management will be well laid out for players who are weak in management gameplay.

Wolfingers has less people but more expensive supplies, less people also means less mantainence and less mouths to feed.
It will be the classical quality over quantity, i assume, if they don’t need to fend off bandits , Wolfingers actually has potential to be the wealthiest in the long run.

I would think the recruited refugees are best fit for Wolfingers since they need additional help and got more room for expansion.

Now about those refugees, i tried the group of soldiers and gamblers , would they make significant difference in term of their role in future? I would think soldiers are more essential for defense purpose , perhaps gamblers are more useful as negotiators for goods and supplies?


What an awesome compliment, @Eric_knight. :blush:

  • Re: the management aspects: There will be two different levels; one at the family-level and one at the wagon-train as a whole level. Remember that all three families are traveling together west.

As far as the particulars go… I do not want to go into many details, but I will say that historically the Wolfinger family was murdered for their wealth by others, and I will be diverging from this in my story.

There will be murder and there will be mayhem to deal with, but in my story, the Wolfingers are not doomed to die automatically.

  • Re: refugees: In the early game, while the wagon train is in more settled lands, the benefits and disadvantages of having them along will not be felt as much as later, when the wagon train is further along the trip.

Also – there will be plot twists and changes involving the refugees, a few of which will be seen as early as the next chapter.

I am thrilled that you notice that each family is different this early in the story! :slight_smile:

I think that along with the update (when it is ready), I will make a poll that will ask which families everyone decided to join. I’m interested in knowing if there is a favorite or if the choice is spread out. Or even if people tried more than one family… :thinking:


Sad to know the historical fate of Wolfingers, but in the old days , it was always a challenging fate when one possesses enough wealth but not enough strength or resolve to safeguard it , a family need to obtain some loyal henchmen from the beginning, or at least honourable mercenaries for security.

I would be interested to try out all three families eventually , just to experience each one’s role and how MC could build a different legacy with them.

For the time beings, Wolfingers badly need able help to assist them in the journey, and perhaps even becoming a powerful house in the future, i suppose the MC would get more noticable recognition by being a close aid and henchman for Elisabeth


DevDiary 1 – Demo Release & Vision:

First, I wanted to thank everyone for the reception given to my demo release!

This is my very first DevDiary for The Emigre: Wagon Train.

After being quiet for about a month, while addressing my first public feedback, I’ve decided to share this premier installment of my developer diary. This is the first in a series where I’ll be sharing insights and decisions involved in this project’s development process.

To start, I’d like to share with you my decision to release the public demo and my insights gained from doing so. Originally, I thought that announcing too early would be a bad idea — that I’d lose hype and momentum quickly, and that some people might have been dismissive of both an epic and a historical-based story.

After receiving multiple private feedbacks that I should share this game with the public, I finally decided to revisit my original decision to hold off, and instead push forward a retail demo that would help me refine the end-game.

I believe, now, that doing this was the correct decision.

Taking the wonderful feedback received, I have now revisited and redesigned a few non-player characters and their role in the story being told. As a result, an Origins design that started out with 12,000 words is now approaching 40,000 words. (The total update should be somewhere under 50,000 words).

What were once throw-away characters, originally designed to show up once and never be seen again, are now reoccurring characters that will make appearances throughout the entire story.

This change, as involved as it is, should allow my game to be more enjoyable and better received in the marketplaces.

The Emigre: Wagon Train’s Vision

For the premier edition of my devdiary, I think it is important to discuss the primary developmental aspects of this project.

The primary aspects of development derive from the genre of game I am making.

  • Interactive
  • Historically inspired
  • Fiction
  • Epic

By “interactive,” I mean there is a story-rich game which emphasizes player-driven choices, creating an immersive narrative involving an extremely customizable player-protagonist. This does not mean the MC is a pure “blank-slate”, but rather a protagonist that starts out within a historic framework that helps create a believable fun world to enjoy. Through interactive choices, this historic framework of a protagonist is shaped and molded into a different experience, each time played.

In order to help me build a believable and in-depth world in which my narrative takes place, I have chosen to take inspiration from history. Historical based characters and events start out with a complexity that fully imagined characters sometimes do not. This is especially helpful for newer writers, or those not used to forming completely imagined characters out of whole-cloth.

The most important vision of my game is that it is fiction. We have history and historians to help us explore historical events and people… no one needs a simple writer, such as myself, to explore and enjoy the past.

What I am here to do, is to take the narrative history gives us and to provide a connection between my audience and the lessons of the past. Outside of nostalgia, the goal here is to use game systems focused around building and growing a relatable and interactive protagonist. This is to foster an understanding of the past and give insight on how that past is relevant today.

Lastly, it is a core belief of mine that an epic can be the vehicle to best experience the building and growth of such a protagonist. If everything goes well, and the retail release of the full game warrants it, I do plan on continuing this narrative forward with the same protagonist experiencing at least a decade’s worth of fun.

This concludes the first devdiary in my planned series.

Next up in Devdiaries will be a more in depth exploration of game balance and its importance.

Also, before I forget: I am still working on the new material involving: Jesse, David and Jill in Origins. It is taking a little longer than expected, but I plan on getting the update out sometime next month. It will be a major update that breaks saves, but I think it will be worth restarting.

Happy Holidays.


Major update: Phase One - Origins; ver 1.03.00

The new “Origins” with a greater focus on companion characters is now live, please enjoy it!

This update represents a change in focus; the survival mechanics of the game are going to be scaled back and the interpersonal narrative will be emphasized more.

This is the first major update for The Emigre: Wagon Train, and it has 50,000+ new words of content. There has also been additional rewrite content throughout the demo to align older material to the new.

Plans for Future Development: Phase Two:

The changes pushed live in today’s update necessitate a review and rewrite of the existing demo material. As a consequence, the writing of the next scene has been delayed and a revised update schedule has been mapped out.

This means that in what is now being called Phase Two, the family interview material (currently 120,000 words) will be revised to include the companion characters of Jesse, David, Jill and even George.

Luke’s role in this material will be changed and redefined. Those that dismiss Luke will see some earlier consequences of their actions, and Luke will no longer share the center stage. Those that allow Luke to tag along will find he will be integrated into the fellowship you have already established.

Plans for Future Development: Phase Three:

Phase Three will revise the “Interlude” content (currently 135,000 words) to include the companion characters of: Jesse, David, Jill and George. More details to be revealed later.

Plans for Future Development: Phase Four:

Phase Four will review and revise mechanics and stats. More details to be revealed later for this phase as well.



Not me clicking to read even though I know EXACTLY what happens to the Donner Party LOL

Will be back to comment thoughts and stuff


The old ‘origins’ was fun, but this updated version is a lot better! The scene between George and Kim discussing the children’s personalities was great – not only did it fix the problem of randomly choosing the MC’s friend, but it showed what it was like for the MC to be raised by criminals (Kim bragging about the MC’s puzzle and George getting them candy vs Kim focusing on what would make the kids good thieves and George threateningly telling the MC not to forget their purpose).

I’m not sure if this conflict was in the previous version, but I liked how the MC’s friends question why the MC has been chosen to lead them. It’s only a few lines, but it makes sense that this ever-squabbling group would push back on one of them leading even if they are ultimately supportive. I also liked the updated scene with the MC’s best friend, and how you brought up the personality differences chosen at the start to explain why they got along so well but also why they all went their different ways.

I also enjoyed the last job section, and how you show what being a swamp rat or fence looks like in action. I liked how there was a gradual buildup in showing how brutal these characters can be, with at first just George threatening to the mention of Kim killing and then to the MC/player finally deciding how they’ll lead.

A few things

Grabbing Kim’s shoulder, George peers into your eyes as you sit across from them.
This is a continuity error – MC had left the room before George questions about the others.

Entering Widow Micheaux’s dining room, you pause letting the warm air inside thaw out the chill from your hands and face.
Unless I missed something, Widow Micheaux and Anne appear in the story out of nowhere. There’s no introduction and it’s only afterward we learn that the group is giving her money for an unexplained reason. Or is Widow Micheaux the Madam from the beginning?

“Why?” Taking in the details, you see Kim is wanted for both murder and robbery. “They never once did this before, and we have killed before this last job.”
Perhaps reword this slightly, as right now it’s odd that the MC is so flippant here about killing but then for the shotgun choice the player can try to limit the bloodshed and make a distinction between self defense and killing.

“I just don’t like it in Springfield, and I don’t want to be here.”
Perhaps there could be a paragraph or even a choice before this where the MC considers why they don’t like it in Springfield – it might fit well into the scene where they learn Kim has left. Otherwise this sudden dislike comes out of nowhere.

Looking forward to phase two! :relaxed:


Thank you for the heartfelt feedback, @expectedoperator. I am happy that the updated material meets with your approval! :heart:

I’ll get to the issues, asap.

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Wait the Donner party as in THE Donner party

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That is correct.


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Oh noooo

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Oooooh, Eiwynn has a game? Let’s read!

You’re missing a “self” after the pronoun on making the puzzle.

“where was I”

This should be “show HIM the poster”, not his. Since this is pronoun, you probably set the variable referencing the possessive. And it’s “affects” there at the end, not effects. Effect, when used as a verb, means something on the lines of creating or generating. Affect/effect mix-up is also my personal pet peeve, sorry. :grimacing:

Should be affects here, too.

I think this is supposed to be something on the lines of “surprising themselves as much as everyone else at the table for answering your question.”? If not, I don’t understand what it is about. Also, I think that middle option is supposed to be “reliable”, not reliant?

Wow, Jill is just a lovely little psycho, isn’t she?

If you’re taking suggestions, maybe a smith and/or carpenter (woodworker, wheelwright, etc.) background? It doesn’t seem to tread on any other character’s toes. I’d suggest something scholarly as well, but that feels like it’d be hard to make the deal with (“I leave you… my KNOWLEDGE, no, wait!”) and it’s probably not a particularly helpful set of skills on the trail.

Ok, this is weird, because you spent a considerable amount of text giving the impression that we would have the opportunity to NOT butcher the cow and use it for milk instead, but apparently, there’s no way to NOT butcher the cow?

I’m now on my way to California, and I don’t have a banjo on my knee. Is disappointed.

I’m curious on whether we’ll make the journey orrrr…

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Thanks for giving my game demo a read, @JBento!

I appreciate the bug/error reports and will get to them in the next update. (copyediting is my bane :woman_shrugging: )

Jill is inspired by two historical figures and a real life friend, so she is a lot of fun to write!

The mechanics aspect of the game are going to be reviewed in the second update after this next one (So in 3 updates) … I’ll be reviewing all the different choices and options, so I’ll put your suggestions into the mix. a blacksmith is perhaps more doable, but I’ll take a honest look at both carpenter and smith when the time comes.

Sorry about that. The interlude material was originally written for different Origins and Interview scenes, so this older material is… in need of further review!

Good news is that the interlude is the focus of my second scheduled update … but they are after the review and update of the interview material.

I hope to add easter eggs such as this that those who played Oregon Trail will get… the original design docs did allow for such a scene… so maybe? :wink:

I appreciate you taking the time and effort to read my demo!



I took the time to think about the review before posting it. The story is by far one of my favourites. I love the wagon theme, so this book is really promising in my opinion.
However I did find the prologue to be too long and not in tune with the main plot. It is nice to have a grasp of MC origins, nevertheless I do believe most of the scene where MC interacts with their previous gang/ friends are somewhat unnecessary in terms of plot and not really decisive to the story as it is conceived ( that is of course, if you don’t plan to bring some of the MC old acquaintances back , later on in the story. But even so, I do believe some scenes in the prologue should be shortened considerably.)
As for the main chapters, it is great that you dedicate many scenes to MC work, however I feel like there is a huge hole in terms of plot. If I understood correctly, the main plot revolves around MC journey and their changes during a dangerous expedition that hopefully will secure them a better future. I feel the scenes should give more space to interactions between MC and the other main characters rather than a mere description of their job/tasks. So far, I didn’t see any real chance for MC to fully/better interact with the other members of the expedition. Only some scenes with Luke characters that really don’t add much in terms of plot so far ( a bickery revolving MC journal and some not really relevant interactions.) I would recommend to focus more on developing more dialogues between characters and to give the MC the opportunity to know better their companions during the journey, instead of focusing too much on the work scenes ( a little bit every now and then is fine, however I feel the interactions between characters needs to have the priority in terms of plot. If I understood correctly, the plot really revolves around the MC trying to fight for a chance of a better future. Focus on that main goal. All the scenes with the MC trying to strike deals for provisions/ other tasks ( I guess it depends on what kind of job the reader selects) should be shortened and should not have,generally speaking ,a predominant role in terms of plot like they have now. Keep up the good work, very interesting plot!


@Franci_Di_Maggio :

Thank you, both, for taking the time to read my demo and to post your feedback!


The origins is the first bit to be rewritten; the interviews and the interludes are still under revision and have not yet been updated.

I agree; the shift in focus from a survival/character driven hybrid game to a purely character driven game means that the old content misses the target.

Yes, you understand correctly, and I agree, especially with the focus of the game shifting to a pure character driven narrative.

I agree, and this is the focus of the rewrite of both the interviews and the interludes.

I am happy that you enjoy the plot and hope you will like the new updates when they go live!

Thank you so much for your feedback. It helps a lot.



I played it again, this time going with the Donners and being a much nicer character than I played last time. It’s still fun!

Brace yourself for another deluge of screenshot-based pedantry below.

“taking the ROLE…”

Capital “I” at the start of the first option.

Missing an opening quotation mark at the start.

Either change the period between “ease” and “even” to a comma, or put a capital E at the start of “even”.

“One of them Swamp RatS” (missing s for the plural).

Should be “waive” rather than “wave”.

Sp. “Neutral”

This is repeated text, which occurs at the end of each role description. But you allow the reader to choose all of them. This means that the speaker ends up saying literally the same thing, word for word, three times in a row, which just reads weird. Try to vary it for each description, so that he doesn’t sound so odd and robotic.

"Donners’ " (put the apostrophe after the s when you’re doing possession for pluralized nouns).

I got this summary at the end of the first chapter. My name certainly is not “unknown” at this point!

“peek”, not “peak”.

Missing an opening quotation mark at the start.

Pedant out!


Thank you for playing the update! I am glad you still find it fun on subsequent play-sessions. That is very encouraging.


As much as I hate editing, I really appreciate these; Let’s hope I get better at this level of writing each time I update :slight_smile:

Yes, there was a tangled goto loop in that area of the file, so I had to just do what I could until I look at it in-depth with the rewrite.