ALL of the reviews online I've seen about Legends of the Old West are from people who have NOT played it. Why they are called reveiws I have no idea. For this type of game, it's important not only to play a few games but play through a bit of a campaign to even have a foot to stand on in reviewing it. This is just a first impression to let someone like myself know if this is the type of thing they might be interested in.
The book itself is gorgeous. The art and design are truly inspired and the miniatures and terrian pictures are top drawer. If you collect game books both for reference and to at least have a chance of playing some time, this is a book you definately need to have.
From my first impression of the rules, if you've played Mordheiwm, Blood Bowl or Necromunda, you've played this game. That's all there is too it. The rules are very similar, and I'm still looking for that are of the rules to make it distinctive from those other games. Obviously lack of importance of advancing technology/weapons of your gang is one thing, and an increased death rate for henchmen is another I noticed... always more fun!
Here are some of the mechanics I like from the first read through.
1) It's still my turn/your turn rather than 'initiative' based or card driven (like confrontation) but both players take part in the phases. So both players take turns moving, and then both players take turns shooting with their gang members.
2) Each gang has a scenario set, unlike Mordheim and Necromunda were there are only one or two lists of scenarios for all the gangs in the game. Each of the gangs in the book draw their scenerio choices from a list specific to that gang alone. Very cool.
3) Fortune points/Fate points. This is ripped from the Lord of the Rings battle game. I have not played it enough to judge it yet.
4) Hired guns. Like Mordheim and Necromunda your gang can hire 'extra' help. There are TONS of these in LotOW and they have some very fun in game effects; especially the Who-res.
What is important to me about playing a campaign of this type of game is that gangs don't get to a point (which they did in Mordheim especially) where people avoid playing to keep their current version of a gang intact. Warbands in Mordhiem would get to an 'ideal' point and players would actually avoid playing to keep their warband 'dead hard.' For our gaming group (we had about 20 mordheim players to start) this killed Mordheim right quick. Necromunda doesn't seem to suffer from this problem as much I think due to the ability to control and lose territory, and that fact that gangs always had a pack of essentially expendible Juves (fledgling gangers) that they wanted to get experience rolls on (they could become SUPER tough with the right rolls).
As for the miniatures, the Foundry miniatures that I've seen are very characterful. They aren't the huge 30-32mm mini's we've grown used to with Rackham and Games Workshop, but they do a great job in 25mm. Availability is probably an issue, as you won't be able to go down to a corner game store and expect them to carry Foundry miniatures. However a few clicks on the internet and you've access to hundreds of miniatures from Foundry, Old Glory and all the rest of the historical manufacturers.
My issue with the whole range of historical miniatures is they have NO SLOTTA BASES. I loath filing down bases just to have it still look like there is a big lump around the feet even after you put glue and sand over it. With slotta bases you can clip the slotta tag off and pin, or in a pinch just stick the tag into the slotta base. What modelling the miniatures will involve is ording a boat load of 25mm rounds from Games Workshop, filing, clipping and pinning for quite awhile before even a spot of paint goes on. Some people might not have a problem with this, but I've been spoiled by the ease and flexibility of slotta bases.
Again, this is not a review as I have not played the game yet. I will write a full review after about 20-30 games and really delve into game balance, flow and the campaign system.
Have you played it enough yet to give it a review as i am quite interested in it.