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Deadlands: Invasion of Slaughter Gulch» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Disjointed Monster Expansion rss

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Rick Janssen
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Lake Zurich
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My wife and I loved The Battle for Slaughter Gulch when it first came out. There were some ambiguous rules and I can't see playing this game without some house rules, but that doesn't detract from the fun...once everyone agrees on how to handle the ambiguous situations.

I had been waiting for an expansion for some time. I was hoping for new Outfits, new buildings, new Events, and some clarification on how to handle some situations. Invasion of Slaughter Gulch seemed like a half-hearted or incomplete attempt to add more to the game.

Components
The components are the same quality and style from the original. There are numerous posts of pictures of the components here. The components are comprised of:

1 rule book
6 Event cards
6 Equipment cards
15 Encounter cards
12 Hired Gun cards
Additional Ghost Rock

Rule Book
The rule book is probably a bit more organized than the orginal, though there aren't a lot of new features to the game. It does clear up a few things from the original, though.

What's New
Hired Guns. This new feature consists of a deck of Hired Guns, or mercenaries. Once per turn a new Hired Gun is drawn and auctioned off to the highest bidder. This in effect offers the winner to perform a location action with a bonus. Notice that not all Hired Guns are gun fighters.
Gambler - Perform a Gambling roll at the Saloon. Receive a 2GR bonus to whatever you win. A 1 still results in nothing. It doesn't say if you have to pay ante, we assumed you did. Occurs first when actions at the Saloon are taken.
Miner - Permorm a Mining action. Receive a 2GR bonus to whatever you mine. A 1 still results in nothing. Occurs when actions at the Mine are taken.
Traveling Salesman - Look through the Equipment Deck and purchase any one item as normal. Action can be taken at any time during the turn. This, to me, seems to be perhaps the most powerful Hired Gun. Since you don't have to wait for the equipment to get to the General Store first.
Gunslinger - Start a gunfight with one dude anywhere on the board. Normal rules apply. Add +2 to your dude's Shootin' roll. This action can occur any time during your turn. It doesn't specify if you have to have Fight token down. The other's don't require an action, so we're assuming this doesn't either.

There are a few new Equipment Cards added. Mainly, permanent items to help with recruiting and equipment to help break dudes out of jail. I like the fact that there aren't too many as to keep the balance of distribution of cards fairly stable. Some expansions make the mistake of adding too many and you can never find a staple equipment card because of it.

There are some new Encounter Cards. These are mostly more of the same kind that were in the base game. The beauty of some of the new cards is the addition of Items on some of the Encounters. When robbing an Encounter with an Item you can choose to draw a random item or take the Ghost Rock listed as normal.

Some new rules were added, such as improved arresting. A dude can now be arrested just for placing the offending token (i.e. Fight, Rob); he doesn’t have to actually follow through with the action. This does make it easier for lawmen to arrest. In my experience, if a dude placed a rob token where someone had placed an arrest token, they would simple not rob to avoid the arrest. This does add some confusion since Fighting isn't an arrestable offense whereas Shootin' is, but uses the Fighting action token.

The Train now carries Ghost Rock along with Equipment to town. Players can choose to rob either the GR or an item from the train. Any Ghost Rock not robbed is placed in the Bank. The Bank’s store of Ghost Rock is also available for robbing. The Bank’s protection number is its building number, so it could be very easy or very hard to rob the bank depending on where it is located on the board.

Monsters
There are some new Events, which is really where Invasion of Slaughter Gulch gets its name. There are a number of monster Events that are placed on the board when drawn. Each is unique and has specific consequences and ways to kill it. For example, the Werewolf is placed at a random building when drawn. At the beginning of each turn, it moves to the next building and a die is rolled. On a 1 it is a full moon and the werewolf turns and kills everyone in the building. A roll of 2-6 nothing happens. Dudes can kill the werewolf during a full moon by beating a 7. If they do they are rewarded with Ghost Rock. They can kill the werewolf without the full moon by beating a 4, but they get no Ghost Rock and are subject to arrest.

Some monsters are very difficult to kill. The Automoton requires a roll of 15 to destroy. Remember, only the highest die rolled counts; dudes need multiple exploding sixes to defeat it. This expansion does allow combining actions to help defeat it. Multile dudes from multiple Outfits can work together and combine their Fighting or Shootin' rolls. The total number of dice to be rolled are all rolled by one player. This increases the odds of exploding sixes. Usually there is a reward of Ghost Rock to all players who helped defeat the monster.

All in all, I would have liked to see more monster Events, but most of them being easier to defeat (e.g. Walking Dead) with only these few difficult to defeat ones. That would have given the Invasion aspect a huge boost.

Comments
There is not a whole lot here in this expansion. The title of the expansion seems to suggest nasties to attack the town. This is accomplished by the 6 new monster Events. I would have liked to see the Equipment and Encounters also tie in with a monster theme, but they did not. So, while the new Encounters, Equipment, and Hired Guns seemed to be generic additions to fill out the game, the New Encounters seemed to be where the designers were heading with this theme.

The Hired Guns didn’t seem to work to well for us, but then again, I play this primarily as a two player game where the auction mechanism is weak. This might work much better in a 3+ player game. I think it would have been interesting to have Hired Guns act as bonus cards, like Equipment that could be purchased with Ghost Rock or acquired in some other fashion, perhaps at the Telegraph Office or Hotel/Saloon.

What I was hoping for in an expansion for Battle of Slaughter Gulch was new Outfits, new Buildings, and new Events. I think the Deadlands worlds is fairly detailed and there are many more Outfits that could have been introduced. For the price it is worth it even for only the new Encounters and Equipment. I think it works OK with everything, but could have been a bit more cohesive.
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