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Colt Express» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First Impressions - Colt Express rss

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Evan
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Longwood
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I've been into the hobby hard core for about two years and have bought about 30 games. However, most of them have been hard core adult thematic titles, because a) my wife and I mostly play with another couple and b) until recently, my kids were too young to join us. But with my kids about to turn 7 and 5 in December and January, respectively, they have become interested when they see the two of us playing.

My 7-year old son catches on pretty quick. He's a mean King of Tokyo player and has even beaten me at Star Realms, so when I decided to add some light weight, 30-45 minute games, I thought that Jamaica and Colt Express would be nice additions. My daughter saw the train on the back of the box and the rest was history. Colt Express was the one chosen for our initial play through.

Ironically, in the time it took to set up the game, my daughter lost interest and it ended up being a three player game with my wife, my son, and I. This was our first exposure to a programmed movement game and upon reading the rules, I wasn't sure of how the game played. It seemed so counterintuitive that I had to go to YouTube to see a play through. I naturally assumed that each player played a card, moved their meeple and the next person reacted to that action. When I realized that you play card after card and didn't resolve everything until the end, it just seemed unsatisfying (at first glance). And some of the cards are placed FACE DOWN? How the heck do you deal with that? At that point everything just becomes random, right?

Admittedly, this one was a bit tougher to grasp for my son than a standard deck-builder. He didn't understand how to move his guy throughout the train to get the loot because he wasn't sure what other players were doing (especially me because I was the white character that can play his first play face down throughout the game).

After a couple of rounds, things started to click. In the end, my wife won with $2,600 to my $2,500. But I have to ask a few things. First, my assumption is that this game isn't built for three people. My guess is that it would shine with five or more. There just wasn't enough chaos with three people, but with five people, there would always be someone to shoot, always be some loot to grab, always be a reason to jump on the top of the train and move 3 cars in one move. At the end of our game, nobody had shot more than two times, but I imagine that with five or six, you could easily run out of bullets, which would bring in more of the deck-building aspect of the game.

In the end, this scratches the itch I was hoping it would. It's a light fun, quick game (although set up can be a bit of a drag). I can't wait to play it with more people and for that reason, I'm not going to give it a rating here just yet until I get a couple more sessions under my belt. What is the standard setting where most people break out this game? I imagine this one doesn't come out much unless there is a big group. This appears to be a great gateway drug for people who aren't much into the hobby.
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David Forby
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I have found that 4 is good. 3 is a bit unsatisfying. I like the 5-6 games best but as you can tell on the cards, there is less cards played in the 5-6. I also like to do 5 cards plus the station rather than 4.

Set up can be fairly quick, once you get into it. Set up train, 1 car per person after the engine. I randomize them. Then put down the treasure tokens, then the meeples. Each grab your chracter deck and mat.

I takes less time if you have the other players help you with the loot tokens while you set up the play deck.

Here is how my group builds the deck during the schemin' phase. You place your card face up (or down if tunnel) on one pile, sort of like a discard pile. Then the first person to play flips over the deck when it is complete you flip the whole deck over and begin the "Story of the Round" as we call it.

This usually involves embellishments such as, "Tuco, is going up top because he got tired of being shot by Belle. He's after the case." and creating a bit of a Narrative to make the round entertaining. Let the player's move their meeples, including the marshall.."Uh, Oh, looks like Django made some noise and the Mashall is going back to check it out." Now for when someone skips their turn and pauses we use the character card to put in the deck and "Ghost is going to stop and contemplate the scenery and admire the mountain horizon for a moment." Or if a Tunnel, "As the darkness envelops Django he pauses to catch his breath." Creating the narrative can be much more fun for everyone, especially when it's your turn and you get extra creative.

Yes, this game is a fairly fast play through and meant to be taken lightly, enjoy the chaos, and realize that most of it is up to chance. Sometimes, I like to set a personal challenge, get the case and get back to the caboose, shoot each character at least once, focus on one character (randomly chosen) and such are some goals. For me, it helps in the fun. One of my goals was to try to make another player win with out them guessing.

I like to break out the game at a boardgame party where you have lots of people and multiple games going at one time. The shorter games are favored. For some really quick fun, I recommend Tsuro as well. It is easy and intuitive to learn and goes quick. A great filler for inbetween games while waiting for others to finish. It really takes only about 20 minutes total, handles up to 8 players and goes quicker with more players.

This game is definitely not Risk, Sentinel's of the Universe, Pandemic or any long and complex game. Colt Express is quick fun where you get to shoot and punch your friends and loot a train.

I have recently played Horses and Stagecoach expansion and I like it, brings up the complexity but still good fun.
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Evan
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I don't think I'll complain about setup in the future. You see, I was referring to first time setup, when you have to build the trains. Seven and five-year old kids do not want to wait 20-30 minutes for you to put together cardboard trains! They want to play!

I will definitely add the narrative element. I like that idea.

I already own Tsuro. My son loves it. I play it with him because of his affinity, but I find it completely unsatisfying and 95% luck driven. Nothing against a bit of randomness in my games, but Tsuro is nothing more than a brief change of pace between games. I'd never choose it to be the focus of my gaming sessions.
 
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Dan Durkin
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I'm going to disagree with Tsuro being "95% luck driven". It's a tactical game (especially with more players) where you try to limit the board space available to opposing dragons while maximizing yours. You do have three tiles in hand select from, too.
 
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Davy Ashleydale
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durkinphd wrote:
I'm going to disagree with Tsuro being "95% luck driven". It's a tactical game (especially with more players) where you try to limit the board space available to opposing dragons while maximizing yours. You do have three tiles in hand select from, too.


Yes, there are definitely people that are very good at Tsuro and can consistently beat others. That wouldn't be true if it were 95% random.
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David Forby
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I agree that Tsuro is for a serious game night. More of a pallet cleanser and time wasting tool while waiting for other games to start.

I didn't have that problem with set up as I put together the train and read the rules like 2-3 days prior to playing it. I tend to do that with things that I need to construct or punch out. Get it ready to play first, hopefully in a logical way of organizing it to.

I think that the younger kid will love it too when you turn it into a story or realize that they can do so when they go first too. My feeling that this game can appeal to the very young too and with a little help they can play a fun game to. I even saw a suggestion to play with out the special abilities with the younger ones. Makes it easier if everyone is on the same footing. When they have a game or two down, THEN add the special abilities back.
 
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Bryan Johnson
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My son, 6, really likes this game. I tell a story as the cards are revealed because it really adds to the fun. Also, enjoy the chaos when someone gets punched or shot by the marshall and messes up your plans.
 
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Evan
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randomlife wrote:
durkinphd wrote:
I'm going to disagree with Tsuro being "95% luck driven". It's a tactical game (especially with more players) where you try to limit the board space available to opposing dragons while maximizing yours. You do have three tiles in hand select from, too.


Yes, there are definitely people that are very good at Tsuro and can consistently beat others. That wouldn't be true if it were 95% random.


OK, fair enough, but I seem to come across multiple scenarios where I can't seem to play any of my three tiles without driving myself off the board once the real estate shrinks.

It's a nice time killer on iOS though.
 
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Riley Doyle
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Londonderry
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I like Indigo better than Tsuro. Same type of game but much more satisfying to me. Tsuro is still in my collection because it plays 8 though.
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