At first glance, Old Town looks like some sort of second rate Wild West theme game. It is WAY BETTER.
The game is about logical deduction and reasoning. You are an archeologist restoring the remains of an Old Western Town. You know the location of a few buildings, but the rest are a mystery to you.
The game board represents where 16 buildings could be in this town out of a pool of 18 possible buildings. Each building can possibly be placed in 5 locations which is represented by 5 named tokens and the building piece itself has a front and rear when placed on the map.
At the beginning of the game you take ‘ownership’ of two buildings, more on this later.
Every turn you get to play one card, OR identify two cards that either confirm or contradict what’s happening on the game board, discarding them and removing a token of your choice, OR draw a card. You then get to draw another card.
The game has 3 basic kinds of cards that are dealt to you. Type ‘A‘ cards specifically identify a single building placement to four possible locations. You get points by narrowing down the possible locations of the building suspected on the map. So playing an ‘A’ card usually gives you 1 point, as out of the 5 tokens a building has you keep one token.
Type ‘B’ cards are broader in their descriptions about where a building could be, as they usually refer to some sort of larger set of circumstance that may have several possible outcomes. For example (and this is where the ownership comes in), “My Building is along Main Street”. This is where you refer to one of the two buildings you ‘own’. If by using that card to claim that fact combined with the other tokens on the board of ‘your’ building, you may have narrowed your building down to a few locations or even down to one location, scoring the removed tokens.
Type ‘C’ cards work on building to building relationships. The card could read “The Stables was opposite my building”. Once again with this fact you may be able to remove placed tokens on the board, scoring points. In this case not only is the Stables opposite my building, you can also conclude that my building is opposite the stables. If either buildings tokens already exist on the board (up to four), but only 2 of these satisfy this fact, you may have just scored up to 8 points and placed 2 buildings.
What’s great is when you have multiple tokens existing in the building areas scoring all kinds of chain reactions---This can especially happen when playing complimentary, contradictory card groups to remove that ONE token and starting a domino effect. A ‘complimentary’ card is a card that if played would result in no changes to the tokens on the board, ‘contradictory’ is a card that can not be played given the board's state.
At any time during the game, (we agreed after someone finished scoring and the next person played a card) you can point out a situation on the board, make a deduction and score more points!
Whew! Sorry to have said so much detail but I played it FOUR times at Euroquest 2004, I liked it so much. One time I made an 11 point play. I wish I could have found a copy at the convention for sale!