I think the best way to review the game is to describe our last play.
I've been a tester for the print-and-play version of the game, and it's taken many forms during it's creation.
This final version is by far the best one yet, in my opinion.
We were 3 players, in this text named No1, No2, and myself.
In the beginning, you lay down Vengeance cards that inflict different forms of torture upon your character. If you choose the same guy to inflict all the hurt, you can get back at him all at once, scoring more points, although this is risky if he doesn't even show up at first.
No1 started out choosing to get beaten up by the same guy 3 times, in a gamble to maximize profit.
(This, by the way, has always been his strategy, and he's won almost every game he's been in. So perhaps a valid strategy, or some lucky bosses on the table.)
We others lay down a more diverse choice of Vengeance cards.
The game switches between the montage phase, where you patch yourself up, train, and recon for the fights ahead - and the fight phase, where you get to dish out your revenge.
We all opted for a lot of healing in the first montage. I also went for a fair bit of upgrades, while the others were more focused on recon and speed.
No1 hit his mark, scoring all 3 Vengeance cards and the den for 9 points, giving him a solid lead over our 3-4 points in the first round.
Second montage was about more vengeance, more healing, and a little bit of both upgrade and recon.
No2 and I caught up a bit, as No1 didn't quite get full satisfaction from his attempts.
I was personally very happy to finally nail the bastard that waterboarded me twice!
So everything was up for grabs around the third and final montage.
Again, a fairly balanced mix of heal/upgrade/recon. Players went more for one-shot items this time around, as we were going all in for the kill.
No1 didn't luck out on his first fight, going for the top boss of the mafioso gang, so I passed him by in the score. No2 was getting along very well, too.
Final fight, No2 missed his kill and didn't move up - No1 finally took out his nemesis, scoring a total of 11 (!) points for the boss. He was out of reach now... Even with my final prey dismembered, I had no hope of reaching him.
The mission cards gave us equal points for the Kill'em all task, so no change there. No2 got the sanity bonus, and No1 sped even further ahead with the Wild one bonus.
So final scoring was :
No1: 30 points
Me: 26 points
No2: 23 points
Victory had been undecided untill No1's last leap. And speaking for myself, I was very much into the spirit of getting back at the culprits that wronged me. Also, playing as my favorite character, La Pistolera, it was fun throwing around combos to the left and right.
We had a lot of fun during the game. Great amounts of very bad humour ensued when killing bosses and taking damage from new Vengeance cards.
Gameplay was very smooth. It seems the rulebook really does a nice job of clearing out all the little details that could maybe be misunderstood before. It also functioned nicely as a look-up for questions that came up.
In this final form, it's well written, plays well and intuitively, and has a lot more of the right Vengeance feel to it. Perhaps so because there is less clutter, and more time to enjoy the theme.
And the rules have that feel of making sense. So that, if in doubt, you can rule in favour of what makes most logical sense to you.
I see myself pulling it from the shelf with just the tiniest hint of pride having been part of the process.