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Tom Rybak
United States
Denton
Texas
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Howdy, pardners. Pull up some chairs and let ol' TeeDawg let you in on some happenin's round the up 'n' comin' town o' Slaughter Gulch. Not much of a pleasant name, but that don't matter much when Ghost Rock is involved. And in this little town there's a heap of it involved. You see, Ghost Rock is more valuable than gold now, and everyone wants a piece of that send off to ... well, I'm not quite sure where it'll send ya, but it is plenty valuable, and that makes Slaughter Gulch plenty valuable.

Small town at present... Gots it's ghost rock mine on one end and the railway station on t'other. Main street connects the two and ten locales flank the thoroughfare, five on a side. Quite the simple layout, 'cept this bein' the Weird West an' all, the layout of those ten locales gets a shake up every now and then (random set up of the ten locations every game).

In comes the shot callers all wantin' a piece, more likely the whole pie if you ask me, of Slaughter Gulch's action. The Agency (representatives of the northern Union wanting to impress their version of the law on the locals), the Texas Rangers (the Confederacy's own attempt to keep the West in some semblence of order for the benefit of the South), and the Blessed (holy rollers callin' in miracles to keep the place from blowin' to pieces) tend to be more lawful (but not always) whereas the Mad Scientists (needin' the ghosty-rock to empower their crazy contraptions), the Hucksters (spell slingin' slick fellas who enjoy quite the bit of mayhem), and the Shamans (wayward native Americans more interested in punishing the palefaced invaders than helpin' any cause) who are more than willing to rob the simple townfolk for a loaf of... er, ghostrock.

Well, they each start with 3 dudes (sorry, there be some dudettes representin' the Shamans) and a set of 10 orders they can issue to the dudes. Each dude can carry out only one order so a lot of the orders don't get used each day (turn). All 10 are available for usin' but there aren't many duplicate orders so you'll have to make do with what you got. They secretly issue there plans behind the cover of their homebases on their minimaps of the town, sendin' their folk to various locales in effort to either wrest control of those locales, use special actions in certain locales (prospectin' in the mine, shoppin' in the General Store, etc), pickin' on the locals or the other factions, and sometimes recruitin' the locals to work for their respective factions givin' them more than 3 dudes to play with (up to 6 per faction). There are orders that everyone's got (Prospectin', Fightin', Runnin', Gamblin', Recruitin' and the like) and some that are specific to a faction (Healin' for the Blessed, Spells for the mystical types, Brainwashin', Raisin' the dead from the graveyard and other fun ones too).

Once everyone's done plannin' the plans are revealed and everyone start movin'. Problem is a feller can only go so far. So you need to be plannin' ahead to get your folks to where they can do the most for your schemes. Gettin' ghost rock is essential (gamblin', prospectin' and robbin' folks), but so too is recruitin' to expand your faction and fightin' to keep the local problems and other factions in line. Also important is each faction has it's own set of 6 objectives that can help it along it's path to dominatin' the town. These give you a good flavor for what's importan to each group (mad scientists gettin' ghost rock, creatin' gadgets and showin' 'em off to the other parties involved, for example).

Once everyone's done movin' the events start happenin'. There are two a day and can ruin the best laid plans of mice and men and women. They can also help provide new townfolk, but one things fer sure... they are there to make life a lot more interestin' in the small town o' Slaughter Gulch.

After that, actions start bein' carried out startin' at the railway station and goin' round town in a clockwise fashion. If there are multiple actions goin' on at a particular locale then each action has a number tellin' who gets to do what first. Sometimes someones early action can ruin another fella's later action. Tends to not sit well with the feller goin' later, but them's the breaks. You can always try to shoot or fight then the next day. So people start doin' their stuff, recruitin' folk, shootin' and fightin' with the denizens of the town and sometimes other factions, and sometimes they get a special ability for havin' the most folk at a location and thereby controllin' it for a bit (until they don't have the most folks there).

After a while, a game endin' trigger will occur. The faction with the most victory points (got from controllin' locales at the end of the game, havin' people on the board who aren't dead, ghost rock total, acquirin' items and achievin' objectives) gets to control Slaughter Gulch for a bit. Of course it seems that folks every once in while remember ol' Slaughter Gulch and the battle starts up all again.

Well, that's the most of my piece bein' said. If'n you like the Weird West of the Deadlands (the RPG, Rail Wars, Doomtown) then this little town is worth lookin' into. There be some familiar concepts to the town of Gomorrah (Doomtown) but enough differences to give it it's own flavor. You won't find any of those strange fellers from the Far East in here (at least not yet) and strangely you won't find a familiar 54 Hoyle approved deck of cards, although a deck of cards is an item you can buy to stack the odds in your favor when Gamblin'.

If you've not heard much about the Weird West there is some fun stuff for you here. There are dice and you do have to roll them, after all it truly ain't gamglin' if you already know the outcome is it? Some future feller told me that it has some similarities to some place called Mecanisburgo but with a lot less cards and special icons and such.

The guidebook (rule book) to Slaughter Gulch is pretty clear, gettin' you throuhg all the basics you need to get around town but could have been a bit clearer with certain specifics but fortunately the town's chief architect, Mr. Breitenstein, can often be found right here answerin' questions and even posted some answers to common question on Twilight Creations site.

Well, that's about all for now. And remember, as my boss, Lacy o'Malley writes, "Here there be shadows, Dear Friends. And they bite."

Good night and pleasant dreams,
T
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Barry Zimmerman
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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But did you like it?
 
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Tom Rybak
United States
Denton
Texas
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Yeah, I figured I might need a shootin' straight version of this. I wanted to give a feel for how the game plays out and give a special nod to fans of the RPG and so did it in a style that akin to books from the RPG.

I like that the essential elements people want in a Deadlands game are in the game: shootouts, gadgets, spells, ghostrock, it's all in there. I like the controlling of the various town locations and the dangers of being in the street, a strong nod to the Doomtown CCG. The stats and quick resolutions hint at the RPG, particularly the Reloaded version (Savage Worlds).

I also like the random events and the way it repopulates the town and adds a little unpredictability to the game. The introdcution of the deputy going about his rounds is a really nifty inclusion. I also felt the hidden planning for each player was a nice touch. The outfit specific objectives and actions help keep each faction unique and pushes players to use them in a manner in line with their themes in the Deadlands universe.

The rulebook is quite clear in the basics of the game but questions do pop up particularly with certain cards (events, gadgets, spells) interaction with those rules. Line of sight indicated for someone shooting out of a building, and although there is an implied sense that someone in a street square can see any other figure in the street square, it is not indicated in the rules. Also certain spells involve line of sight and leave questions about how they are played.

As I mentioned, Kerry is pretty good about answering questions here so a lot of the rules problems can be sorted out.

I had hoped a standard deck of cards could have been included in gameplay but understand that it's a good idea to keep the system and rules as clean as possible. Maybe they can be included in some variant or an expansion, but I don't want the game to get too clouded and cluttered with extra stuff. I wish the different faction pieces could have been done in different colors (the faction pieces are a cream color while the townfolk are a white) but at least the poses are different enough to distinguish them. This can be remedied by gluing them to a colored base or painting the figures. There were a few pieces that had trouble standing up, which is unfortunate because wounded figures are indicated by laying them on their backs and dead are face down in the graveyard.

Overall I enjoyed the game, as did my usual gaming group. The ones familiar with the Deadlands setting enjoyed it more and got more into the theme and roleplaying the factions but the one player unfamiliar with the setting still had a good time. It is a fun and fairly simple game that catches a lot of the Deadlands flavor and I do recommend it to fans of the setting, the RPG, the CCG.

T
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william riley
United Kingdom
Wigan
Lancashire
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Nice review Tom,Our gaming group is looking at getting this and you review may have helped.Seems like a game our group would like.
 
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