Originally recommended here on http://www.bestplay.co/best-play-recommends-colt-express/
What: Inept outlaws attempt to outdo each other during a train heist
Time: 30-60 mins depending on how many are playing
People: Great family game or opener for friends. Easy to play and lots of silly fun.
Why we recommend it
Most of us, at some point in our childhoods, will have played Cowboys and Indians. I hear that playing such games is racist now.
Kids aren’t racist though. It’s just you and your friend playing make believe. You hide behind the footrest and stack some cushions on top for more cover, of course forgetting that your entire lower half is barely concealed by its little legs.
You all scream and jump up shouting *PEW PEW PEW* and you all just stand there staring at each other. Until one of you breaks the silence
I SHOT YOU!
NO I SHOT YOU FIRST!
I SHOT YOU BOTH!
No one wins the argument, no one knows what is going on and certainly no one was shot.
Colt Express is quite a lot like that but it also has a real train… look at it.
The little train alone gives everyone that feeling of being a child again. Even the most uninterested person in the room will light up and give it a prod. Yup, it’s a real train (kinda) for playing a silly game on.
The premise is that you’re all trying to grab as much loot as you can before the train comes to a stop. This means playing action cards like:
Run around a bit
Grab some loot
And just like when you were a kid, sometimes you shoot someone … and you miss completely. The interesting thing about Colt Express is that you play all these actions in turn (often in secret), but you don’t actually act out the scene until the end of the round.
This leads to hilarious misjudgements where you plan to move swiftly move between a carriage, punch a mate so he drops his stash, grab it and make your getaway.
Instead what happens is you bumble forward, get shot, punch no-one, somehow end up on the roof and pick up nothing from the floor whilst being shot again.
I love the changing dynamics as you each play your cards one by one, everyone quietly trying to keep up with everyone’s plans. Looking them in the eye and thinking “I know what you’re up to”. Then the raucous laughter as you reveal the actions and almost no one did what was expected.
When your plan does come off perfectly though it feels great. Especially if it involves a little misdirection and making everyone else mess up their carefully-laid plans.
It’s a great opener for people who are new to board games (but still fun for anyone that’s played more). Marcus discovered that it can be a bit confusing to those that have barely rolled a dice before as when he asked his family to “draw a card”.
Amusingly, they reached for pen and paper and when he said they should “look at your hand” they put the cards down and stared at their palms. He comes from a very literal household.
I’m sure most of you won’t have that problem though.