This weekend saw the the first play test of the Old West game using a set of in house rules working title - "Blazing Guns" which are an amalgam of shooting from the Rules With No Name and simpler actions, challenges and bookkeeping from Dusty Trails, with a few personal slants thrown in.
The player brief
Welcome to the boom town of
“SERENITY FLATT” in the
Territory of “Desperation”
Each of your
characters starts with $50.00. Your aim is to have as much fun & make as
much money as possible from your visit. And return back to the trail.
Each character at the
beginning of the game rolls a d20 to determine skills from the lists. Shootists roll twice, Legends roll 3 times
Lawmen, U.S. Marshal’s
and Pinkertons may never shoot at each other and are to uphold the law. Lawmen
make money by collecting fines for people breaking town ordinances, collecting taxes from business , reward money
, and their regular salary.
citizens may not be the best idea, as they might gang up and form a citizens
vigilance committee or wire the governor for help – but it’s your choice!
A visit to the ladies at
the Cattleman’s Saloon may be good for the soul – and enhance some skills
The Dried Goods store
sells a range of wonderful products and tonics - Sassperilla and the “Real
Thing” which may just give you the edge.
Each of the saloons
and hotels offers a gambling establishment where it may be your lucky day. Try
your hand at Poker, Faro , Blackjack or Craps- just watch out there may be a card sharp
or two around
Of course you might
want to slake your thirst at a bar with a shot of whiskey or two to give you a bit of dutch courage, but try not to
too have too many.
The doctor is on hand
to help with wounds – he will always rush to the nearest casualty.
If your weapon breaks
or you want something different pay a visit to one of the towns gunsmiths.
There are two banks
where you may deposit – or make a withdrawal – legal or otherwise!
We were one player down from the planned 4, so along with the Townsfolk we had the Lawmen , Gamblers (who would align with the Lawmen if pushed), Cowboys and Outlaws. Each faction was given some specific instructions and objectives. Of course some of these were designed to cause some friction! The fate deck contained a card for each member of each group, two sets of various level action cards, the townsfolk and the Pony Express to allow communication with the outside world.
The Cowboys were intent on heading to the Cattleman's for a good old time - however they found one Doc Holliday there manning the card table. Johnny Ringo bet the gangs stake - and rolling a "1" lost the lot - of course suspecting foul play he challenged the Doc to a fight one on one - mana a mano. The crowd cleared the way and made room. Now unbeknown to Johnny the Doc had rolled a Quickdraw Skill which would give him a +3 to the d10 fast draw result. The Doc rolled low Ringo rolled high - the result a tie ending in 9 a piece both shot together - otherwise the winner would have shot and applied the result first. Choosing to blaze away with two six guns gave Doc 9 dice to hit - only one 6 meant 1 hit. Johnny armed with one 6 gun blazed away with 6 dice - 2 hits Time to cut the shooting deck. Doc hit Johnny , but just a flesh wound the right arm. Johnny cut the deck - FATAL HEADWOUND! (1 card out of 36!).. the onlookers gasped.
Now there was going to be trouble. The law officers had been out collecting taxes from the businesses further down the street , they turned to face the commotion Sheriff Steel leading the way with Deputy Daniels carrying the shotgun . The Cowboys having decided there was already going to be trouble faced towards the advancing lawmen loosing of long range shots wounding the Deputy in the arm. The town doctor was close on hand to administer some first aide , which was unfortunately poorly applied with a 1 being rolled, resulting in additional damage to the arm, meaning he would not be able to reload the Shotgun. The next long range shot from the Cowboys felled Sheriff Steel - FATAL SHOT THROUGH THE HEART (1 card out of 36!) following the double 6 needed to hit him. It was turning into a bad day for the law. Deputy Daniels passed his PANIC rolls & determined to take some bad guys with him advanced and let fly with both barrels his aim (and dice rolls) perfectly bracketing 3 Cowboys , now it was revenge time with the shot flying. Jake went down with a FATAL GUTSHOT, Dalton collapsed knocked out with a serious leg wound . Blood covered the ground. Curly Bill got away lightly with a graze to the chest.
Meanwhile further down the street and taking advantage of the mayhem the Outlaws led by one Billy the Kid had been busy fortifying themselves with liquor and had also been successful at the blackjack game at the saloon decided to take the opportuity to relieve the 1st National of some funds.
They managed are very poor $1650 dollars on the first round.- seeing as the Sheriff had just been shot they decided to threaten some more in the hope of an even better pay day.
At this point emerging from the Grand Hotel having finished his card game was one Wild Bill Hickock, who had picked up a whole series of high quality action cards - allowing multiple activations. Blasting away with his ambidextrous and lighting fast skills he felled Johnny Ringo and Frank Spotswood from the Cowboys.
With the combined action of Deputy Daniels and Wild Bill, the Cowboys with more than half their number down PANICKED - time to get the hell out of Serenity.
Two of the Outlaws decided to make there way out of town with their ill gotten gains almost $6000 -despite cutting 10 money cards Ian never found any of the big money! It could easily have been 10 times more
Wild Bill drew Billy the Kid and the other Outlaws to him like moths to a flame - with Bill's terrifying presence reducing the number of dice against him he led a charmed life in the doorway of the Grand with splinters flying all around him. Billy advanced firing away - until that deathly double click -Out of Ammo. Bill turned letting fly - click, click ... more 1's then 6's both guns. Out of Ammo. Again an action card saved the day with a quick reload ready for the next round.
While all this mayhem had been going on news of the early trouble in Serenity had been sent out of the town by Pony Express. The Joker card that ends the turn made a few consecutive early appearances along with a whole host of the townsfolk clearing out the way. It was tense, a new unknown card was added to the fate deck and once more it was shuffled. What would happen next?
Sam Bass had taken cover behind some barrels and in possession of an action card took one move taking careful aim at Bill then playing his card he shot, getting those extra +6 dice to hit, Bill was down - knocked out with a serious chest wound. Billy smiled - the town was his for the taking, with only one badly injured Deputy with an empty shotgun in his way.
There was a clattering of hooves as an old experienced Marshal drove hard into town - letting fly from his rifle. Billy was still Out of Ammo and could only stare as Rooster bore down and riddled him in both legs. A further immediate action card by the Marshal saw a quick turn while the bullets spat from his pistol - Sam Bass was down injured. The remaining Outlaws decided enough was enough , and panicked their way out of town.
3 hours after the first shots rang out order was restored. The doctor and Undertaker were going to busy.
So overall how did it go for a first play test? I feel it went well and the investment in time and treasure in this collection has been worth it.
The skills rolls at the beginning really did make a difference, and number of those did fit each character perfectly. There was some spectacular early shooting putting the lawmen on the back foot. but statistically these were pretty unlikely - Simon playing the lawmen also had some terrible dice - but that's just gaming not the rules. I think I will however add some more simple flesh wound cards to the shooting deck to take it to 48 cards with 5 fatal , rather than 5 from 36.
We did miss a fair few panic rolls early in the game - in the excitment of gunsmoke - which may have changed things - that will change with experience .
Not enough use was made of some the differing actions, there was a lot of just move and fire -but then we had a number of high level characters that could do so and absorb the penalties for doing so. We will play test this again with more basic characters.
I am going to colour code the bases of the figures, not widely different , but each faction will have its own brown or green shade to help less experienced players quickly identify their pieces.
Another key point was that more game aid markers are required - so the good people at WARBASES will be getting an order for some. we did use some Out of Ammo ones I made earlier. But some for RECOVER, KNOCKED OUT, KNOCKED DOWN will be required- so some double sided ones will be good
One of the players had never played a wargame before - just a bit of role play stuff - (he brought his own 6 guns), and said he really enjoyed it and wants to do it again - JOB DONE!
Some more work to do over the autumn and winter, I want to take this to a table size of 8 foot x 5 ,.I have some proper terrain baseboards to make, and another 5-6 buldings (train station, church, newspaper, large dried goods , freight company and boot hill to make). - Overall not too much .
The playtest acheived its function , identifying some changes and improvements required.
All agreed it was a cracking few hours of FUN , and that was the point.