Game Length: 30-40mins
Imagine yourself in a futuristic Wild-West scenario. You are one of six space-age gunslingers, invading rail cars and jumping from car to car in an attempt to loot as my ‘double dollars’ as you can. The raider with the biggest haul wins the day. However, it’s obviously not quite that easy - guarding the loot are the Lawbots – an automated police force. It will take a good deal of sharp shooting to take out the lawbots and snag the loot before the train gets to the next station.
This is an easy process with a few quick steps:
- Players select a character and take the card and miniature to match.
- Shuffle and lay out three card decks – High Noon, Long Arm of the Law and Loot decks. The High Noon deck has a specific number of cards depending on the number of players but you use all the cards in the other two decks.
- You build the train by laying out Caboose and Locomotive cards face up. In between these you lay randomly selected train car cards face down – the number you use depends on the number of players.
- Set up the pile of loot token where all players can reach them.
- Get out the deal token and dice.
Your first task is to get onto the train. You get on at the caboose end but can choose to try and role for the change to jump on further up the train.
Think of the dice rolling system in this game as a combination of Yahtzee and poker! You roll five dice (unless you gain the ability to roll more) which have the following sides:
9, 10, J (jack), Q (queen), K (king) and A (ace).
When you roll you then use your results to make the best possible poker hand from ‘High Die’ up to ‘Five of Kind’. Obviously five of a kind isn’t possible in real poker but clearly is this this futuristic realm! All your usual poker hands fall in-between!
In each conflict this rolling dynamic is used and the best hand wins!
Each round starts with players rolling off to find who goes first and then players take turns from that person going clockwise. At the start of their turn a player takes and implements a High Noon card (effecting the game in some way) and then they can take actions.
A player can take three of the following actions per turn but can’t choose to do the same thing three times;
- Move – From one carriage to another. Face down carriage cards are turned over and lawbots and loot put in place each time you enter a new carriage.
- Showdown – Take on a fellow raider or the lawbots in a shoot-out. Shoot-outs involve dice rolls with the highest ranked roll winning out.
- Search - Take a loot token and reap the rewards. When you reveal a token it has a number 1 to 3. You then take that number of loot cards and select which one of them you want to take.
- Pass – Usually only used because of the ‘three times’ rule. For example, you have had two showdowns, can’t loot because there are still lawbots in the carriage but you don’t want to move.
You are only able to loot if you get rid of the law-bots in your carriage but you also get rewarded for seeing off these guys too, so there is much loot to be had. The game ends at the end of the round in which the last High Noon card is taken. You then add up all the loot and find the winner.
My favourite thing about this game is the dice/poker dynamic, as this is something I haven’t seen before and it made dice rolling much more interesting. I also loved the anime style characters and their miniatures which I hope to get a chance to paint one day. The overall concept is a little random with it being a combination of the old Wild West and futuristic robots, but I guess if Westworld can make a success of it why not (there was even a special edition Vash the Stampede figure for this set! - Ed) There is also a good amount of back-story in the instructions to help set the scene.
The gameplay itself is pretty straightforward and the instructions are well put together to help you get going quickly without having to study for hours. There are a few of the more intricate rules that you have to watch out for, because we missed these on our first time of playing and it was better once we fully grasped what we needed to be doing – making use of various card powers, joining combat and challenging searches were the bits that took a bit longer to grasp.
Overall, I found this to be a decent middle-of-the-road game. I think the poker-hand dice rolling dynamic makes it fresh and interesting, but without that I can’t say it would hold a large amount of interest, as I prefer games that are more tactical and less chance driven. However, Ross, who I played with, really enjoyed this as he prefers something with minimal rules that’s easy to get playing. Add or subtract to the score according to your game preferences (Ross would give this an 8).