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Subject: A quick review after three plays at a preview/demo... rss

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Played some demos with Cliff using one of the "proof" copies tonight at my FLGS. This game is similar to the older Slugfest games "Kung Fu Fighting" (KFF) and "En Garde" (EG), which are both light fillers that I have enjoyed in the past.

The components quality was good - nice cards, good art, practical box insert, a good amount of humor (without going overboard with the silliness), etc. Each player has a player card (light card) which has spots for your character card, weapon in "fist" (hand), weapon in holster, and track for your "grit" (health/stamina). There is also a small, mounted gameboard to represent the saloon, and counters showing the heads of each character (there are eight characters, four each male and female).

Since Cliff was there to explain the rules, I didn't ever look in the rulebook, but the player aid cards were very good for the regular turn (although the set up is not on them, it is fairly straightforward). The game is fun and the hand management is similar to KFF/EG, but there is an addition of a board representing the interior of the saloon, where the fight takes place. Players must manage the number of bullets for their guns, juggle guns between fist, holster, and out of play, and keep their "grit" from running out due to injuries. Characters can either use weapons with the "fist" icon (melee) or the "gun" icon (firearms). Every weapon has unique abilities, and some may be stored in your holster, ready to be drawn quickly if the need arises. Moving to different parts of the saloon creates different benefits and liabilities for your character. The game adds just enough to "Kung-Fu Fighting" and "En Garde" to take it from a light filler to a medium game. Our games averaged about an hour each, with time spent going over the rules before each game, as new people came to the table to try it out. I am guessing that it will play faster when players are used to the rules, but would allow an hour for each game while you are learning it - particularly with five or six players.

Like KFF and EG, the game follows the theme of a cinematic style, and provides cinematic action - with fun and excitement outweighing the realism. One of our games ended with three weakened players fighting it out in the center of the saloon floor, when one was attacked and thrown through the window. Counterattacking, she unloaded both barrels of her double bore shotgun into the other two brawlers, ending the game. everyone at the table could imagine the next scene, where the lady with the shotgun picks herself up from the dirt street, dusts herself off, and staggers into the saloon to make sure that she is the victor.

The team variant was very fun, and seemed to play more quickly, as well as being more focused - and focus is a problem that can sometimes come up in games like KFF/EG or "Bang!", where players can attack anyone else in the game, so it's nice to see this variant. Another nice thing about it is that in the team variant, individual players are not eliminated, as both team members remain in the game until they are collectively out of "grit" (worst case scenario would be in a six player game, where one of the pairs would be eliminated before the end of the game - and at least then those two players would be able to keep each other company while the other four finish up). I'm sure I'm not the only one to notice that it is common for quick light games to begin to drag when they reach five or six players. The team variant should help to keep this game on track. While I played the team variant with four players, and the regular "every man for himself" version with five, I am thinking that this will be a lot of fun to play with six players in three teams.

There is also an "advanced" version, where the characters each have special abilities (in the basic game, they all play the same), but I didn't have the opportunity to try that version.

It is an engaging and enjoyable light/medium game that I am looking forward to picking up for myself in November, and that I think will see the table quite often, in my various gaming groups.
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Joe
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Have you played the advanced yet? I'd love to hear some thoughts. Very on the fence about this game.
 
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Freelance Police
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Just played it this evening. Very fun game. Joe, with your game picks, you're going to like this game!
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