The Best in the West
Though times have changed and technology has moved on at a remarkable rate since the invention of the computer, you still can’t beat a good old-fashioned board game. Westerns are a very much a staple for both video game and board game fans, being a genre that is rich in subject matter as well as potential for replication. Western-themed board games aren’t exactly huge in number these days, but we’ve come up with a list of the best that board-gaming has to offer on the western front (not the Western front). From the slinging action of Gunslinger to the various scenarios of Dice Town, you’ll find more information on the top 3 western board games below including more about their rules and what they have to offer in terms of entertainment value and ideal player numbers.
This western game has to fall at the top of this top 3 list for many reasons, but if one reason had to be chosen it would be because Gunslinger is a game that most accurately represents the kind of gunfight that is synonymous with the Wild West. Fans of some of the best western films of all time such as A Fistful of Dollars or even modern-day westerns like Django Unchained will surely revel in this game’s unique gameplay mechanics, which attempt to replicate the split-second gunfights that have made the western into the genre it is today.
In this game, each turn represents 2 seconds of gameplay time. Each of these turns is again split into 5 segments representing 0.4 seconds (told you it was all about the split-second detail!). The start of each turn involves each player choosing the actions that their character will take, with these actions taking up two or perhaps 3 of the aforementioned segments. The result here is a game that may last hours but which in effect replicates around 30 to 60 seconds of simulated time in total.
Players may take a bit of time getting used to the micro-centric focus of the game, which is different to the macro-level focus that is often seen in board games like these. The fact is that Gunslinger is the best western-themed board game out there even in the present day since it has the most original mechanics and realistic recreation of the classic western gunfight.
One of the most appealing aspects of Revolver – aside from its gunslinging gameplay of course – is that it is a non-collectible board game. This means that you’re not going to be spending lots of money on a regular basis in order to collect new pieces or expansions: it is a standalone game that’s ready to play out of the box.
Revolver’s gameplay is designed to be enjoyed by two players and involves fighting gun battles across 5 battlefield locations, taking a slightly wider-scale approach than Gunslinger yet still sticking to similar card-based mechanics that play out with each turn. It has to be said that the tin in which the content of Revolver is packed makes for some pleasant viewing and the 62-card wad is accompanied by an easy-to-follow set of rules. Victory is achieved only when certain conditions are met, which include a player eliminating all of Colty’s gang, having Jack Colty survive to catch a certain train, or when a Colty player removes all tokens from the Mexican Bordercard.
If you factor in the game’s wonderful presentation (somewhat reminiscent of Red Dead Redemption on the tin) , the easy-to-learn rules, and the fast-paced gameplay, you’re looking at a western-themed board game that deserves to be in the top 3, and one with a storyline that could rival many western films.
Though this game’s name doesn’t have the same ring to it as Gunslinger or Revolver, Dice Town is in fact an impressive board game to play. The gameplay has those playing it trying to fight it out against rival factions in a small town in the Wild West. The way you get the advantage over your opponents is by collecting the most gold and acquiring yourself the most land.
The mechanics of the game stand out somewhat, with the deciding factor being a poker-dice mechanic. You are awarded different things according to which hand you roll with the dice, from the game’s top price – acquiring land – to the act of pilfering a gold mine or perhaps committing a bank robbery to acquire some cash. The mechanic gets more interesting with the introduction of a sheriff character as well as the ability to stack your hand in various ways such as holding each of your 5 throws’ results for a single dollar so that you may roll again and acquire a better hand based on the hands you have already rolled.
In all, Dice Town is an enjoyable game with a clean interface. Some may not enjoy the poker-like mechanic but once you get your head around the hands it becomes a great experience. It’s not as action-packed as Gunslinger and isn’t quite presented as neatly, but you can visit the official Dice Town page to find out more information or even check out the extension packs as well.