We had a bit of a hard time with this game, because it's so...community-based, I guess? I'm not sure what the right word is, but the point is, while there are cast members there, the game is kind of run by all the players, too. There's a bit of a problem with that, because...I should back up.
We already knew the premise of the game because they've been posting about it on the Disney Parks blog. It's something about how the gold miners at Rainbow Ridge mined all the gold, and they want to get their greedy hands on the gold in Frontierland. So the idea is both sides are buying up all the land as fast as they can in some kind of a power struggle. That being the case, the first thing (I think) you need to do is pick a side and get a name. We decided we like being good guys, so we chose Frontierland. For this game, they have nametag stickers that are color-coded depending on which side you choose, and you can get one with a name printed on it, or you can come up with your own name and write it on a blank one. We opted for the former, so I was Lariat and Athena was Pomegranate. (Other printed names we saw include Lil Bit and Garnet Brittany. And Wolf Wood. We are sure that was not an accident.)
After we got our names, the cast member handing out nametags asked who was completely new, and we raised our hands, so she sent us off with another guest, who apparently was less new, to help us get started. This other guest said, "All I really know is to go to the telegraph station and get jobs." So that's what we did.
...Or tried to do, anyway. We successfully obtained little "Help Wanted!" telegrams, but we weren't entirely sure how to follow the instructions. We think the telegraph office was a little too busy, and maybe the fact that the cast member who handed us our telegrams was a Rainbow Ridger had something to do with her lack of helpfulness. But anyway, Athena's telegram said to go apply for a job as a card dealer, so we went to the Golden Horseshoe and found the card table. But there was already a dealer, and we were feeling very shy (this happens when we're confused), so we chickened out and left. (Although, we did run into the saloon girl, who asked if she was seeing double. I said maybe, and she stared at us for a second and decided she needed to lay off the root beer. That reminds me, they have flavor shots for the root beer, and we wanted to try some, but we didn't. Boo.)
My telegram said "Haberdashers Wanted!" and told me to design a cowgirl hat. I thought maybe this had something to do with, like, the "design your own Mickey ears" things they have all through the parks, so we went inside the shops to see if we could find anything. We could not. We were at a complete loss, and were getting ready to throw in the towel and go home, but then a Frontierland-affiliated cast member spotted us and, noticing that we too had sided with Frontierland, came over and taught us the Frontierlanders' secret handshake, warning us never to let any Rainbow Ridgers see it. We agreed, and asked her for help deciphering our job instructions. The main thing we understood was that we needed to go back to the Golden Horseshoe for some paper and crayons. We later learned that most of the jobs seem to consist of drawing pictures.
Finally, I was able to design a cowgirl hat (it was inspired by Apple Jack), and we were trying to figure out the second part of my job (finding a friend with a portrait of a ranch hand) when California (a Rainbow Ridger with bright blue hair) stopped us and asked if we wanted to join a hoedown. We were a little worried that it was a trap, but we went to the hoedown venue (right outside the Golden Horseshoe, where they hold most of the events) and waited while California tracked down some more partygoers. While we were there, we met a couple of gentlemen "from the county," which apparently means that they're on both sides. One of them, claiming to be a Marshal, but not wearing a cast member nametag, said he liked our Kingdom Hearts t-shirts. We said thank you, and later realized that we should have also asked, "Have you read the manga? How do you like the translation!?"
Eventually we had enough people, and the cast member going around with a guitar happened to show up right then, so he was recruited to call the hoedown. (He was the same cast member who played Sally Mae in the Laughingstock Company shows, and who would occasionally substitute for Billies in the Billy Hill show. His cast member nametag said Billy on it, and we like to think of it as a tribute.) He yelled at us when he said to do-si-do and we all swung our partners instead. Ha ha ha, shows what we know. He made us do it again, and then when he said swing your partner, nobody stopped, and he was like, "No, only do it once!" That's not quite as fun, but oh well. When we made it through his whole set of calls without messing up, we did the thing where the couples go through the tunnel, but only the lead couple got to do it. Not that I can blame him for not trusting us to get it right if we tried to all do it... Anyway, then it was over and California had completed her task. Yay!
Then it was time...for a duel! They called it a duel anyway, but there were four people from each side. Our weapons: rock, paper, and scissors. So basically we played jan-ken until everyone from one side was out. It didn't take long. In the first round, Athena was the only surviving Frontierlander, and she fought three-on-one against the Rainbow Ridgers...and lost. It was a sad day.
By then we had the confidence to just ask somebody at the telegraph office to explain the rest of my job, and he said you're supposed to find a friend to draw you a portrait of a ranch hand. So we went back to the Golden Horseshoe and Athena drew a ranch hand. It was a pretty neat picture, with a ranch and cows and everything. While we waited to turn it in, someone else at the telegraph office asked if someone could decode a message. (It was in Morse code, of course.) That's exactly our favorite kind of thing to do (see: the juju quest for knowledge), so we volunteered! We don't actually know Morse code (except for S and O), but of course they had a chart, so we got right to work. And it was a message for Rainbow Ridge people that involved the secret Rainbow Ridge handshake, so they were like, "We probably shouldn't let you do this job." I kind of wish we'd thought to say, "No, we've intercepted the message! We should use this to our advantage!" Oh well.
And then! we had earned enough money to buy a plot of land, so off we went to the...I don't know what that place is called. The trading post? It was all such a whirlwind... Anyway, we bought a plot of land for 50 bits, and got the deed and everything, so Athena went to put our little claim magnet on the magnetic map board...and another cast member said, "Hey wait, it's 75 bits for Frontierlanders now!" Even though the cast member who sold us the land was a Rainbow Ridger, she let us keep the land (technically the second cast member shouldn't have been able to say anything about our plot in particular, because once you have a deed, that's that, right? at least, we're pretty sure that's how it works in all the old Disney cartoons where deeds are a thing).
But! a Frontierlander is honest, so we decided to go earn the difference. The man working at the telegraph office (same guy who explained about the ranch hand portrait) was very helpful (also a Frontierlander), and he explained jobs to people when he handed them out. He also looked through all the job notices to find the ones that match the job seekers' needs the best. We explained the situation (word had only just reached the telegraph station that land prices had gone up for Frontierlanders, and we were all bemoaning that fact), so he found us a job where we could both earn some bits: design a cattle brand, and find a friend with a cow. Of course this meant going back to the Golden Horseshoe and drawing more pictures, so that's just what we did!
Then we hung around for the mayoral election (and for a birthday celebration for one of the Rainbow Ridge cast members). Apparently, anyone can run for mayor if they can get enough people to sign their petition. Two Frontierlanders were running against the incumbent Rainbow Ridger. The first candidate was very appealing because his name was Captain Coonskin (handwritten, so you know he came up with it himself), and his speech revealed that he had walked the streets of Disneyland with Walt Disney himself. The second candidate was appealing because he wanted to govern Frontierland such that Frontierlanders and Rainbow Ridgers can live together in peace. The third candidate was not appealing because he was a Rainbow Ridger (<--the writer's hypocrisy in action). His platform was pretty much, "We're doing good now, right? So why change?" And also, "Rain-bow Ridge! Rain-bow Ridge!"
The voting was done by cheer ballot, and we voted for both the Frontierlanders. But there were a lot of Rainbow Ridgers at the election, so you can guess who won, much to our dismay. But that was okay, because we were leaving anyway. We stopped by the trading post to hand in the sort-of money we sort of owed, and then, since we had heard from an Adventureland cast member (who was over in Frontierland playing Legends of Frontierland on her day off) that it was sounding like the juju quest thing was not going to last until the end of the month, as we had previously supposed, we headed back to Adventureland to get a couple of extra jujus that we wanted. And then it was back home (on the way, another cast member complimented our Kingdom Hearts shirts, and it was as we were walking away from him that we talked about how we should have been asking people about the manga).
So all in all, it was a pretty fun day. I wish, for the sake of shy people like us, that there had been some clearer written instructions for how things worked in Legends of Frontierland, but it did seem like our biggest problem was bad timing. It seems like a game for people who just want to hang out at Frontierland, and maybe make some new friends, and that's pretty awesome.
Today I'm thankful for helpful cast members, finally getting a grasp on what all was going on in Frontierland (not really all of it--there was something about people being heroes and legends that we never found out about; we were hoping to go figure it out with a more outgoing person (Gaston), but we came home to find out that he broke his leg playing hockey so he probably won't be visiting for a while), the way the light from the Disneyland fireworks reflects off the clouds on overcast nights, getting to participate in a hoedown, and getting another Tsum today.