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Subject: Impressions after two plays. rss

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Mark Crane
United States
Orem
Utah
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I bought the game at my FLGS last night for only $28, so right away I'm pretty happy. I've been reading about it here since its release and despite some crankiness from a few early adopters my enthusiasm has remained high.

I recently traded Doom because I just couldn't get a three hour game to the table at my house, and it had some supposed balance issues, and I didn't think it would be a good fit for my kids. I've also owned Battlestations but just couldn't get into it for some reason. The mix of the fuzziness of RPGs and a boardgame didn't work for me, plus there was little interest in our group, so I traded it.

After buying the game I opened it, read the rules and played two scenarios in two hours. A buddy from work came over and we played the starter scenario just to familiarize ourselves with the rules, then played the jailbreak scenario. I had printed out the advanced rules but we stuck with the basic rules for the first session.

What I really enjoyed about the Jail Break scenario was the way the game was engineered to create great narrative moments that felt like a Western. For example, the baddies came striding down main street while the sheriff got a haircut and the deputy remained in the jail with Big John. I had the sheriff face down the baddies in the street, where he wounded one before going down in a hail of bullets. That was a tactical mistake, as he could have done more damage by shooting from between some buildings, across the street, but for some reason I felt compelled to play him in character.

That sense of narrative also kept me from simply having the deputy blow away Big John as he sat defenseless in the cell, which would have technically satisfied the victory conditions but made for a boring game. The deputy remained in the cell, behind an overturned desk, shooting at bad guys through the jail window. One baddy burst through the front door and another dove through the window but paid for it with a blast from the shotgun.

Another great element of the game was watching the bad guys slowly run out of bullets and waiting to play my cards at key moments. I had "gun jam," "fall down," and speed load. As the bad guys stormed the jail I played the gun jam, blew away an already wounded baddy, and then turned to see that the remaining bad guy had a clear shot at me through the window. Arrrrghhh!

Then the townsfolk, angered at the loss of their Sheriff and deputy, began appearing with rifles. They started taking shots at Big John's gang, then diving into buildings for cover.

Big John and his boys tried sneaking out through a back alley, and almost made it, playing the "remove two townspeople" card. Then a mistake--Big John's gang could have shielded their wounded boss but chose instead to blast away a pesky local. Then a lone gunman picked off Big John from across the street, and the game was over.

It was the old west equivalent of a pyrrhic victory, with two dead lawmen and two shot townsfolk.

We had a great time and I'm looking forward to more scenarios and the advanced rules. A pimped out version of this game, with terrain and minis, would be a huge hit at conventions. My group would probably play this as an end-of-night filler, seeing that they have already played Bang! and this is so much better.

I didn't have any problems with the components and the rules were functional, although a few things weren't immediately clear. Due to a hasty initial reading, it took me a bit to figure out that reloading occupied a turn. I originally assumed there was a movement penalty for changing one's facing (only in the advanced rules) and it took a little puzzling before I realized there was no movement penalty for going through doors, and how the window modifier only applied to adjacent figures (what is the thinking on that?). Oh, and although miniatures would be ideal, I loved the close similarity between the cardboard figures and their movie counterparts.

We had a lot of fun and I'm certain that my sons, ages 11 and 8, and fans of spaghetti westerns, are going to really like this.

The fact that it sets up so quickly and plays in less than two hours already means it will see more plays than Heroscape. I can see this game appealing to anyone who likes narrative-producing games, like Duel of Ages, but wants something that can be played in 45 minutes or so. I am amazed that the Ameritrashers aren't all over this game, or that Tom Vasel hasn't played it yet and placed it in his top ten.

I think this game is perhaps underrated and that after it finds its audience, the ratings will stabilize around 6.9-72. It is a solid, fun game that perfectly fills a niche.
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Dan Edwards
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Worthington was applying the KISS principle to C:WOTG, but the fact that the game was released before you could get the Advanced Rules has hurt it in the BGG ratings.

It helps if you roleplay the characters a little, as you did. Thanks for the review!

 
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Guru Gaku
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Nice review.

I've been eyeballing this for a short while, and you've just pushed me off the fence...from maybe to 'must-by'.
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grant wylie
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Thanks for the review. The advanced rules do add to the gameplay. I wanted to get so far from Gunslinger and its clunkiness that perhaps I pushed us a bit too far. Not bad, but better with the advanced rules. The advanced rules we do plan on adding to the expansion Cowboys: Vendetta Ride which will add Indians and more desperadoes along with a story line.


Thanks for the great review and I hope you and your friends and kids have many Cowboys evenings, cause that's what it's all about!

Grant Wylie

Worthington Games
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Lee Massey
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Teachey
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craniac wrote:
Quote:
I think this game is perhaps underrated and that after it finds its audience, the ratings will stabilize around 6.9-72. It is a solid, fun game that perfectly fills a niche.





Did you know that the designer is working on a expansion for Cowboy?
 
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Alex Henderson
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Bloodybucket wrote:
but the fact that the game was released before you could get the Advanced Rules has hurt it in the BGG ratings.


Which seems entirely fair and logical to me. The "Advanced Rules" were not a part of the game as published. In computer game terms, they are a patch. A review should appraise the game in the form the buyer receives it.
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Mark Crane
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Alex777 wrote:
Bloodybucket wrote:
but the fact that the game was released before you could get the Advanced Rules has hurt it in the BGG ratings.


Which seems entirely fair and logical to me. The "Advanced Rules" were not a part of the game as published. In computer game terms, they are a patch. A review should appraise the game in the form the buyer receives it.


That's certainly fair, although the above review reflects my experience with the standard rules that came with the game.
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Flying Arrow
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I liked the narrative. I liked the bits. I didn't like that every cowboy seemed exactly the same. A +1 or +2 modifier adds no character to anyone and this game should be all about character.
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Mark Crane
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I think that's a valid criticism. Clint Eastwood should be a better shot than Slink. However, if you start down that path pretty soon you end up with a different game, like "Descent: Journey into Dodge" or "Combat Commander: Tucson."

I'm not trying to defend the game against valid criticisms--I'm just saying that it is good for what it is. I don't think it's entirely fair to say, "this game isn't as complex as I want it to be, so it sucks." That's like complaining that Incan Gold doesn't allow you to level up your archaeologist.

On the other hand, it seems like it could grow into something a little more meaty but still playable.

If it doesn't violate anyone's sense of journalistic integrity, I will probably go back and fine tune the review a bit after getting in a few more plays.
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Dan Edwards
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3fingers wrote:
Naw, don't edit, that was a well written review; just do a separate session report.

IMHO what this game needs is a few fan-written scenarios, based on a favorite movie scene. I'm working on one myself, including a few extra counters.


First thing I thought of, but I was advised that it would have to be pretty generic to pass the antilawyer muster, if you care about that sort of thing.

I do think it's "fair and logical" for C:WOTG to be judged by what's in the box, and also fair and logical to make people aware that if they like it but want something more detailed, it is available for free from the publisher as a file from the Worthington site or right here on BGG.

It's a slippery slope from clean and simple to fiddly and murky. I'm glad that the Advanced rules are a layer that can be applied instead of a built in part of the game.

I agree, keep your fine review as is, and revisit the game in another review or session report.
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Mark Crane
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User-generated scenarios that closely imitate popular films probably fall into the category of fan fiction and (I am not a lawyer) would probably be perfectly fine.

I just watched High Plains Drifter last night, again. What a creepy, bleak movie!
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Jamey Philipp
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Good review - because of it I am going to take a chance on this one!
 
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Dave Tianen
United States
Wisconsin
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The advanced rules are an upgrade. The every cowboy absorbs four hits thing in the basic game is more than a mite silly. If you read about actual western shootings one hit was often fatal. Billy the Kid, Morgan Earp, Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, Wild Bill Hickok, Tom McLaury, Dave Tutt, Phil Coe... all of them were killed by a single shot.
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