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This review was originally written and posted by me on Ameritrash.nl


New and ruthless henchmen on one side and on the other side a bunch of slick (and armed) cowboys. The Padre continues his fight against General Mapache. We will survive? Who will be the last man standing at the end of the day?





Revolver 2.1: The Savage Guns
Mark Chaplin / Leigh Caple
2016
2 players
White Goblin Games
45 minutes
Combat / Deckbuilding / Hand Management
Dutch/ English
High Language Dependance


Introduction

Recently after quite a wait, the first expansion for Revolver 2 has come out. Revolver 2.1 The Savage Guns it's called. We at Ameritrash.nl already loved Invaders and were quite interested in this expansion for one of Chaplin other games: Revolver 2.

Goal

Revolver 2.1 is a game which plays in the wild west and, to be more specific, in a small town called Malpaso. This town is threatened by a gang of thugs who work for General Malpache.

But the townfolk won't give in without a fight. So they've hired Padre Esteban and his gunslingers (the guardians) to defend the town till their last breath.

Setup

You start your preparations by placing the location cards Los Quantos Bridge, Malpaso and the Abandoned Silver Mine in the middle of the table. Besides the Los Quantos Bridge card you place the Dynamite the Bridge card, and the Gatling Gun and Collapse map Bidge cards are placed next to the Abandoned Silver Mine.

The different tokens are divided and placed within reach of all players. The Malpaso player places his seven starting guardian cards in front of him in a sequence from the lowest to highest survival value. The other guardian cards are shuffled and placed as a facedown stack of cards. The Arrival of the Mexican Army card is placed near the Malpaso player with 12 tokens on it.

Each player will receive a set of six poker cards and a small poker tournament is played. Each player puts down one card from his hand. Both players reveal their cards simultaneously and the highest card wins that battle. The first player to win two battles, wins the tournament. Depending on who wins the tournament the last three location cards are placed on the table.

On the different poker cards, however, there are also bonuses that are applicable at the beginning of the game. Choosing your poker cards wisely can get you more or less Mexican Army token at the start of the game for example. Players receive their bonuses regardless of who won the poker tournament.

Once both players have shuffled their deck of cards, the game can begin.



Gameflow

Because here at Ameritrash.nl we haven't reviewed Revolver 2 yet (or Revolver 1 for that matter), I will first describe the general gameplay of Revolver 2 and then continue with the expansion Revolver 2.1.

Revolver 2 is played in turns. During their turns, both players have the opportunity to play cards. These turns continue until either player wins the game or until the last turn on the last location cards has been played.

The Malpaso player always starts the game. He begins his turn by advancing the round marker on the starting location card. Advancing the round marker comes with a tactical twist, because not all fields on the location cards are mandatory to visit. Fields which are optional to visit will prolong the game whem you visit them. This leads to more chances for the Malpache player to wipe out the guardians. However, optional fields also allow the Malpaso player to draw one or more guardian cards. These extra guardians are more obstacles which the Malpache player must defeat before the end of the game. It's up to the Malpaso player if he wants to visit one or more optional fields, but it leads to interesting decisions regardless!



The Guardian cards are the backbone of Revolver 2. These cards symbolize the last line of defense of the Malpaso player. One by one they will be defeated during the game (from the cards with low value to the cards with a high value), but not before they take one final action. Most guardian cards won't go without a fight and have a 'when defeated' ability (drawing/discarding cards, adding/removing Mexican tokens). In addition, some of the guardians cards come with True Grit tokens. These guardians have to die twice before they are permanently defeated. The first time they die the token is removed (like the hat being shot from his head), the second time the guardian actually dies.

After the round marker has advanced the Malpaso player draws two cards. You have no hand limit in Revolver 2.

In the next phase the Malpaso player needs to defend the town. He does this by playing one or more cards during the turn. As long as you can pay the cards, you can keep playing. The different sorts of cards are firepower cards, row-blocking cards and one-shot effect cards. Regardless of the type indicated on the card you'll pay for the card by discarding cards. You'll either have to discard cards at random or choose and discard cards.

Firepower cards are the bulk of the game. You play these cards at your current location in defense. In general, these represent weapons and characters. The Malpaso player is allowed to have a maximum of three cards at a location. Cards you've played are placed at your side of the location card. Only if it is explicitly stated on the card, you can play a card in a different location. Each card played may have a special effect, in addition to his firepower.

Row blocking cards are used by the General Malpache player to further limit the Malpaso player in his options. These cards reduce the limit of three cards per location with one per row blocking card.
However if you want to play a firepower card at a location which already contains the maximum number of cards, you can choose to discard one of the previously played cards. That way it's almost never impossible to play cards.

One-shot effect cards don't need a space at a location can always be played (as long as you can pay the card). These cards have a one-time effect which can be used to thwart your opponent. After using the card it is placed it on the discard pile immediately.

Once the Malpaso player is finished with playing cards, his turn ends.



The turn of the General Malpache player is pretty much the same as that of the Malpaso player. However he doesn't advance the round marker, and he doesn't have a limit on the number of cards per location.

At the end of his turn, after he is finished playing cards, the General Malpache player ends his turn with an attack phase. The attack phase works relatively simple. The General Malpache player adds up the firepower of all his cards at the current location. The Malpaso player does the same with his card values and adds this to the defense value of the location cards. If the General Malpache player has a higher score than the Malpaso player he wins the attack phase and the Malpaso player must discard one of his guardians (always the one with the lowest value).

If the General Malpache player doesn't kill a guardian during his turn (in the attack phase or by playing a card during his turn), the Malpaso player may remove one of the Mexican Army tokens from the “Arrival of the Mexican Army” card.

Once all the Mexican Army tokens on the card are removed or when the final round is played and at least one guardian survives the Malpaso player wins the game. If all guardians die before the end of the game the General Malpache wins.

There are two special locations, the Los Quantos Bridge and Abandonded Silver Mine. On the former, the Malpaso player can discard up to two cards from his hand with two TNT symbols to collapse the bridge. All cards from the General Malpache player at this location are discarded when the bridge collapses. This can be done only once.

The Abandoned Silvermine offers the opportunity to the General Malpache player at the end of the game to strike hard. For each card that the Malpache player has on his side of the location, he may discard a card with an ammo icon. For any ammunition symbol that the General Malpache player discards in this way, the Malpaso player must discard a guardian. The Malpache player may do this every round at this location.

The Malpaso player on the other side can blow up parts of the mine every round on this location. This is done in the same way as at the Los Quantos Bridge and with the same effect.

This is Revolver 2. The expansion Revolver 2.1 brings next some variation (in the form of a number of new cards for each deck) and adds some new elements to the game.

First there are new guardian cards. These are shuffled through the guardian deck at the start of the game and can be drawn and put into play while playing in the game. Most of these new guardians offer the Malpaso player more flexibility because they come with a True Grit token. These are the tokens that can be removed during the game to activate special abilities. Although you sacrifice a token/life, you can use this to draw extra cards, get extra firepower or cancel a card. The sacrifice of a True Grit token does not count for the removal of a Mexican token.

On the other side of the table, the Mapache player has access to four Sinfull Lieutenant cards. These cards are placed near the Mapache player at the start of the game and aren't considered in play until they are played for. On each Sinfull lieutenant card the costs are indicated. These costs must be paid in pesos (new in the expansion) and Mexican tokens. You can choose how to divide these costs as long as a minimum of one peso is payed.

At the start of his round the Malpache player has a choice. He can either place a Mexican token (which he removes from the Arrival Card) or a peso (you start with five) on a lieutenant of his choice. He can also choose to neither. Once the number of peso's and or tokens matches the cost of the card it is brought into play at the current location.

At the start of the game a number of saddlebag cards (equal to the cost of the card) is placed under each lieutenant card. The names of the saddlebag cards always remain visible so that you know which lieutenant has which effects in his saddlebags. Once a lieutenant comes into play the saddlebag cards with a red border come directly into the hand of the Malpache and the ones with a green border are shuffled through his deck.

Sinfull Lieutenants are without compassion or remorse. Besides having abilities, they are really lethal. If a guardian is defeated during an attack in which a Sinfull lieutenant participated one extra guardian dies.

Besides more character the expansion adds a new location as well. Just before the Malpaso player goes into the Abandoned Mine, he can enter the Chapel of Santa Teresa to stay there one or two rounds. If he does so, he must add a Mexican token to the arrival card, but the Malpaso player may also draw two (first round) and another three (in the second round) guardian cards.

In terms of defense the Chapel is one of the safest places on the table. The defense value is equal to the value of the defense of the Malpaso players cards at that moment. So basically you double your own defense.

At the start of the game a number of saddlebag cards (equal to the cost of the card) is placed under each lieutenant card. The names of the saddlebag cards always remain visible so that you know which lieutenant has which effects in his saddlebags. Once a lieutenant comes into play the saddlebag cards with a red border come directly into the hand of the Malpache and the ones with a green border are shuffled through his deck.

Conclusion

Let me start with reviewing the base game of Revolver 2. Revolver 2 is one of the two players games we really enjoy playing. The artwork is beautiful, it has a great gameplay flow and it has a great theme. Turn after turn you and your opponent are shooting away at each other. The only difference with 60’s Western movies is that the good guys actually get shot as well. The background story in the rulebook and the quotes which can be found on the cards really add to the theme as well.

Personally I absolutely prefer Revolver 2 (in comparison to Revolver 1), because in my opinion Revolver 2 is better balanced than Revolver 1. Both sides have an equal opportunity to win the game even if playing with the Malpaso has proven to be a little more difficult for new players. Ultimately Revolver 2 is a game which revolves around hand management after quite some plays I think the hand management element is best seen in the Malpaso role. As Malpaso player you consider carefully which cards you will sacrifice, which you want to play and which locations are lost to you (live to fight another location).

When a game is well balanced each expansion brings along the risk that the balance is disturbed. And I was particular afraid of this with Revolver 2.1. Because let’s be honest, the Sinfull lieutenant cards look especially powerful. As the Malpaso player you get some new cool guardians, but you'll need some luck to actually draw them. The Lieutenants on the other hand are always available; they have great abilities and get you some extra cards. All you have to do is save up a little.

Playing with the expansions showed me the balance was still there. Sure, the lieutenant cards make powerful allies during the game and they really add some tactical potential for the Malpache player. The game is less luck-based with the Lieutenants, but you still need 2 or 3 rounds to actually get one into play. And how will you pay for them? You start with only five peso's and four Lieutenants. You can use Mexican tokens, but if you use too many you might give your opponent everything he needs to win the game. As the Mapache player you'll need to pay attention to what your opponent is trying to do as well.

When playing the Malpaso player the new guardians are great and the give your abilities which might prove essential at certain points during the game. But you'll need to draw the right guardian at the right time. The Chapel card on the other hand is always available to you and proved essential for keeping the balance in the game. You'll probably need to say goodbye to the Mexican Army, but you get two or even five (!) new guardians with only the Abandoned Mine to survive.

The last location was a difficult obstacle for the Malpaso player in the basegame. Sometimes, when you had just a few guardians left and no TNT-cards available, you knew it would almost be Impossible to win the game. This will be frequent, because two/five extra guardians will make a great difference!


Thus when using all elements from the expansion (which is recommended in the rules) the balance definitely isn't lost. More important however, the expansion adds an extra layer of tactical possibilities to the game. Not only must you choose which cards to play and which to discard, but also how you want to use the played cards. Will you sacrifice a life for a certain effect? Will you purchase a more expansive lieutenant card or the cheaper one with less saddlebag cards?

The layer of tactical depth makes the game less luck-based. Obviously you'll occasionally need some luck of draw, but games which are lost solely by drawing dramatic cards will almost never occur.

As a fan of Revolver 2, this expansion is a must have. Is Revolver 2.2 there yet?
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Mark Nicosia
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Flashly wrote:
Is Revolver 2.2 there yet?


I think the designer has stated that this will be the one and only expansion for Revolver 2, unfortunately.

Nice review, though... thanks. Hopefully this hits the states soon.
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Mark Chaplin
United Kingdom
Nottingham
Ice-choked tower, Mondavia, Nanglangka.
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Thank you for the review!

Small rules clarification: the base firepower of the Chapel is the same as the base firepower for Malpaso - this does not include any cards in play, only cards effects (or Poker game cards) that targeted the base firepower of Malpaso.


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