Game: Way Out West
Played: 1/26 with North County Boardgamers
Players: Green – Keith
Red – Tim
Blue – Dave
Yellow – Jonathan
Last night we played one of Keith’s favorites, Martin Wallace’s Way Out West. It plays 3 – 5, and 4 players seemed to be sufficient. It seems like it might be a little more fun with 5, since the board would be more crowded, producing more conflict. The game simulates the wild west, with players trying to earn money and victory points by raising cattle and building jails, hotels, stagecoaches, stores etc. You can either carefully manage your money to purchase buildings or cattle that will produce money/victory points, or you can try and steal them from another player by using your cowboys to attack.
Jonathan was perpetually plagued by bad dice rolls – his cowboys had very poor aim, definitely in need of some shooting lessons. He probably lost the most cowboys throughout the course of the game and provided everyone else with plenty of Wanted posters (for winning gunfights).
Keith started out strong, but ended up being the target of multiple gunfights, losing out on undefended building and cattle. He also only had the majority in only one town (Dodge City) – the least populated one, leaving him with fewer points.
Tim was the cattle baron, carefully avoiding gunfights for the first two-thirds of the game, instead concentrating on raising cattle and making a small fortune with his stagecoaches. But his wealth soon drew plenty of attention from the other players, and everyone tried to take him down, some successfully, and but many went down in flames (mainly Jonathan).
Dave mainly set up camp in Kansas City, bringing enough cowboys down there to either decimate the competition, or scare them out of town. He eventually overtook everything in town, and toward the end of the game started to expand up into Deadwood. His cowboys were pretty skilled in their gunfights and Dave racked up a few Wanted posters.
By game end, Jonathan lost almost everything he had, Keith was hurting, Tim had loads and loads of money, and Dave suffered a minor setback with the only farmer of the game (halving cattle income and eliminating cattle victory points).
Way Out West is a very fun game, quite chaotic if you despise dice, but with a great theme and very whimsical game play. The rules take a little while to digest, but are not overly complicated or fiddly. Once you get into the spirit of the game you really start to feel like you’re in the wild west. This was the first game for all but Keith, but it really seems like one must be very careful about cowboy placement and only attack when you really outnumber your opponent.