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Spurs: A Tale in the Old West» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Spurs: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly rss

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mci 1983
United States
Pittsfield
Maine
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This is my initial review of the newly successful Kickstarter game by Ole Steiness and Sean Brown for Mr. B Games, Spurs: A Tale in the Old West. Spurs is a game for three to five players and it plays in about an hour. In a nutshell, if you have ever played the side missions in the video game Red Dead Redemption, then you will have no problem feeling right at home in Spurs.
Now is the time for a disclosure. My review is purely my opinion of the game, as I see it, based upon my playing through a half dozen games by myself. I live in an area where there aren’t any other known board gamers, so I played six games with different player number combinations, to try to get the best feel I could for the game, without the luxury of having others to play the game with. I tried to be as impartial as I could, having backed the game, but I think you will find my opinions objective. I am only writing this review because anyone that doesn’t know about it, being a Kickstarter game, might like to know a little bit more, before buying it, if they see it available. I couldn’t find a lot of gamer information out the on Spurs, so I wanted to help others out with my take.

My ratings system is as follows:
Great game
Very good game
Good game
Not a good game
Bad game

In Spurs, players take on the roles of gunslingers, cowboys, lawmen, hunters, or bandits. I also received a pioneer character as part of the Kickstarter. Each of the characters has various riding abilities, carry various amounts of ammunition, and have special abilities that enhance your play. The game board is a map marked off in territories made up of four different terrains: prairie, grasslands, forest, and mountains. Each player’s turn consists of rolling some riding dice to move to territories, where they can find challenges to take on for money and fame points, which are the victory points for the game. These challenges can be dueling with outlaws or desperadoes, hunting for game, breaking wild horses, driving cattle for ranchers who lost them, or mining for gold. When landing on a challenge, a player needs to accomplish tasks in order to win that challenge. If it’s a hunting, outlaw, or desperado challenge, a player draws bullets from their bag and has to draw the correct number of the kind of bullet needed to complete the challenge. If they don’t draw the number needed, they take a hit, which is a red bullet. It enters their bag and might be drawn in later challenges and hurt their chances. If they need to break a horse or gather up lost cattle, they then go to a mini board for those challenges. On this mini board, blue dice are drawn that move the player around on the mini board area. To achieve this challenge, they need to remain on the mini board for the number of rounds that are required by the challenge token. Players can also have gunfights with each other. When players land on the same space, they take their bullet pouches in one hand, lay their other hand on the table, call DRAW, and draw one bullet at a time simultaneously until someone draws enough of the right bullets to defeat the other one. Around the outer edge of the board, there are three towns that are placed. Players go to these towns to trade in any challenge tokens they collect. At the General Store, supplies and upgrades can be purchased in the form of cards. Animals can also be sold here that are hunted. The Bank is where to go to sell Gold that has been mined. The Bank can also be robbed by any player with the guts to take on the guard. The Sheriff’s office is where bandits can be turned over for any bounties that are held. You can try to heal any red bullets taken for damage at the Doctor’s office. The Saloon can be visited to relax for Spurs tokens, which are used as enhancements on turns, to draw a saloon card to take part in an exciting event, or to buy the town a round of drinks for a fame point.

The components in the game are, for the most part, great. The board is beautiful. Anyone who loves western movies will love the look of this board. It gives you a feel of the western frontier. The four types of territories are done in nice detail. The mini board that is used for some of the challenges is also a nice addition to the game. The cards and tokens are also well done and the figures are nicely detailed.

Game play is very smooth. I found the rules to be easy to understand. The rulebook seems to be well written. The game setup was a little longer than I thought it should be because of all the components in the game. It takes a bit of time to separate all the different bullets and tokens. This is normal with most games with a lot of pieces and is easily fixed by bagging up the game strategically. All in all, I would rather have a game with a ton of great components that I can just be more mindful about how I store them, than a game that is quickly setup because there aren’t a lot of nice things in it. The mini games are a lot of fun to play. Whether you are breaking a wild horse, driving a rancher’s lost cattle together, or dueling with outlaws, desperados, or another player, everything about this is a blast.

Ok, all you lily livered varmints! It’s time for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of it.

The Good – Obviously, the theme is good. Anyone who loves the old western theme will really love this game. Spurs has the feel of some of your favorite western movies. Those of you who aren’t necessarily into westerns, but did like the Red Dead Redemption video game, will also have a great time playing Spurs. It really does remind you of those side missions. The components are also a good thing. Even with a few missteps with the pieces (see The Bad), the vast majority of the components are excellent.

The Bad – One of the things I didn’t like about the game was a few choices with components. The money has beautiful artwork on it, but is made out of very thin paper. In fact, mine was damaged during shipping, so I was pretty much forced to use my own poker chips in the game. This is a minor inconvenience, and probably will be for most people, because poker chips are commonly substituted for paper money by a lot of gamers anyway. I am a huge fan of paper money, though. There’s nothing I love more than a giant stack of paper money in front of me in a game, so I would rather have played with the money included. Exchanging chips for money is an alternative I can live with, though. It doesn’t ruin the game for me. Another improvement I would have liked to see in the game was with the blue dice used in the mini games. They are dark blue in color and they are marked with thin black markings on all sides, which make it a little difficult to see in an instant. I would rather have had either lighter colored dice, so the markings could be seen more easily or white markings on the dark dice. The player markers for the fame, or victory, track are also tiny and not very easy to handle. A little bigger a track and markers would have been better, in my opinion.

The Ugly – I really didn’t find anything to be an “ugly” with this game.

There is an expansion available that adds a Gambler to the game. With it, comes henchman that you can recruit to help you in your travels and some new supplies. It also brings a “High Noon” aspect for a two player experience. This is a nice addition to the game and I would love to see many more expansions. None of the things I listed as “Bad” were game killing, but merely things I would have liked to have seen done differently. They didn’t detract from the fun for me. I just wouldn’t say they were “Good” aspects of the game. I hope to get opportunities to play with many people, so that I can update this review (and if I do, then I will). For now, my first impressions are that this game will be a hit with anyone who thinks they might like to play. I would rate this as a great game, even with the few things that I would have changed, and I recommend it to anyone that thinks this might be a game for them.
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Charlie Theel
United States
St. Louis
Missouri
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Thanks for the review and thanks for prefacing it by explaining that you played it solo only. Looks like an interesting game.
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Matt Smith
United States
Troy
Michigan
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Based on my initial plays of the game (1 5-player, 1 3-player, 1 solo 3-player), I think this is a fair review. My only nitpicks:
- The terrain types are: Badlands (not Grasslands), Prairies, Forests and Mountains. Not a big deal, except there are some Event cards that interact with Badlands.
- The paper money is about average compared to other paper money that I have seen. The paper is glossy, but is a decent weight. It's also single sided, because money is meant to be hidden in this game. Poker chips are double sided, so you'd have to hide them in your lap, or them darn varmints will try to duel you for your cash!
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Greg
United States
Lowell
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Nice review.

I got to play this last Monday, as a fellow member of my gaming group had just gotten his KS copy. It was a 6 player game with the expansion.

Very thematic for sure and fun. I would warn against having a first play through with 6 players, or even 5, as there can be some downtime during another player's turn because of the several things that can occur on their turn. So with everyone just learning the game, it just adds to any downtime because they need to get the rules straight.

I didn't mind the money, and understand the reason for it being one sided.

The blue dice were indeed difficult to read, so we weren't fans of those.

Aside from that, the game was very fun!
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Kit Warren
United States
Apopka
Florida
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I fixed my blue dice with white paint.

Also, I painted my Character minis to match their disk colors. I will use the disks as the fame markers instead of the off colored hats.
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mci 1983
United States
Pittsfield
Maine
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It is fun, Charlie, and I hope to see expansions. I could see other maps that attach to expand the territories and enhance the game. Mixing and matching maps would be a great way to customize. Maps with more difficult terrain could open the way for trappers and even gangs with hideouts, making the way for posse missions to take on gangs. I really think this is a game that could lead to things.

Greg. Kit has a great idea about painting them. The figures look great, too, Kit. I was thinking that it might be the best option, as well. I am still painting the gazillion armies in my Civilization game. I was planning on touching up Spurs, when I get a few spare minutes.
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