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Here's what I love about... Deadlands: The Battle For Slaughter Gulch!

Christian Heckmann
Rheinland Pfalz
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Ah, I'm late again, because reasons (some of them being: Christmas cookies... which is a totally legit reason). And I have a game of Chronicles of Darkness scheduled in 20 minutes, so... this will be a short one, I guess. Because I already wasted enough time clicking on the "random game"-button, waiting for something that I actually played to pop up to talk about in a "Here's what I love!"-post. That didn't work. So I just opened my "played games"-collection and picked something at random. That something turned out to be...

Board Game: Deadlands: The Battle for Slaughter Gulch

I think that it's safe to say that while a relatively prolific designer, the late Todd Breitenstein wasn't a spectacular one (however one wants to measure this). The games he designed with his wife Kerry have their fans, sure, but they are mostly light, random fare that are usually only held together by their themes and the enthusiasm they exude. If at all. I'm not especially fond of Zombies!!!, for example, but I can absolutely picture that the Breitensteins had a blast designing it. I'm also not very fond of Deadlands: The Battle for Slaughter Gulch, because let's face it, it's a barely functional mess of a game. But I'll be damned if it isn't a spectacularly ambitious misfire.

And that's what I love about Deadlands: The Battle for Slaughter Gulch. The sheer ambition of the darn thing. The Breitensteins had a long, good look at the Weird West as presented in the Deadlands-universe and then when it came to deciding which aspects of it to incorporate in their game, they went with "all of them and then some for good measure". In this game, six asymmetric factions vie for control over the frontier town of Slaughter Gulch and by saying "vie for control", I mean "arrest folks, shoot strangers in the face, mine some ghost rock, gamble at the saloon, deploy gatling guns to the main road and sometimes ambush a stagecoach... plus tangle with the occasional werewolf if you throw Deadlands: Invasion of Slaughter Gulch into the mix". It's a wild ride from beginning to end and while hardly anything actually truly works in the game, I can't help but admire the sheer audacity of trying to pull something like that off and then release the result to the public. Like many labors of love, this is a messy thing for sure but there's something deeply human about it.

So that's what I love about Deadlands: The Battle for Slaughter Gulch. That the darn thing exists. I mean, it would be better if it were an actually good game, but... you can't have everything, right?

What you absolutely CAN have is a copy of my digital discography for the small price of 50 cents or more. If that isn't a steal, I don't know what is. Go check it out here:

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