Another offering from the same stable as Fantasy Quest, this game is not the most exciting. The aim, if you hadn't already guessed, is to reach the summit of a particularly treacherous mountain. As leader of the expedition, it's your job to plan the route, choose party members and see that equipment and supplies are transported efficiently from one camp to another.
There are seventy-seven members in your party, made up of eighteen climbers, thirty-four sherpas and twenty-five porters. There are seven camps in total, each of which consists of several sections. Consequently, movement from one camp to another can take several days. How quickly you progress depends on several factors: weather conditions, the number of climbers in your party and whether you've managed to transport the necessary equipment.
The first screen details the day number, weather conditions and four possible courses of action: route, carry, move and summit. The first task is to create a route form one camp to another. Once the various sections of each camp have been negotiated, you can then begin to move equipment and personnel. An assault on the summit, however, can only be made when camp seven has been reached.
Screen two displays the Leader's Log, which details what action has been taken, the movement of equipment and personnel and the number of loads that have been carried. A subsequent screen gives an overview of the whole expedition by displaying the distribution of personnel and equipment at each of the seven camps.
Mountain Leader is not really a one session game, unless you're into marathons or insomnia! Conveniently, you can SAVE your position and return to the game at intervals which makes things much more civilised.
There are no graphics to accompany the game which means that you have to rely on the text alone to generate atmosphere, which is asking a great deal to say the least. It's more of a game for the armchair mountaineer rather than the average Joe Soap like me, but this is by no means meant as a criticism. As a strategy game, Mountain Leader isn't bad at all.