September 27, 2012

Wild West Wanderings

Over the weekend I took a fairly lengthy road trip and ended up having a little bit of time to stop in at a game shop on the way. I won't go into my experience at the shop or say what shop it was, because my impressions were mediocre at best. However, I did pick up a few things while I was there.

I had never been able to find the original The Adventurers: Temple of Chac, board game, and so when I saw a decently priced copy I grabbed it. Having read through the rules, set it up and tried a few basic turns I'm not sure how well it will get received in my regular group, but we'll give a go sometime soon and I'll post up my thoughts then.

What I was really looking for when I walked into the shop were some reasonably priced western-themed figures. When I asked for something like that I was told, without hesitation, to "go check a dollar store, I don't have anything like that here," but upon looking around a little I found two packs of nicely pre-painted 28mm figures by em4: Old West Heroes packs 1 and 2.

Each of the boxes contains five fully painted figures, five d20s (each with a skull in face of the 1) and bases for the figures. If you calculate that out with the local taxes, and assuming the dice would cost approximately $1 each, you end up with a cost of about $4.15 per fully painted figure. Now that isn't great, but it's not bad at all when you consider that an unpainted figure in the same scale can frequently cost you $6 or more! Factor in the time savings from not having to paint the figures myself, and I'd easily say that I got a fine deal.

One thing I will mention is that the packaging for the two sets was a little bit misleading, but not actually in a bad way. You see, when I opened each of the boxes I was greeted with more than just the figures and (bonus) dice promised on the packages. After cutting the tape and opening the flap I was greeted by bases (square bases in one box, hex bases in the other), a batch of tokens (10 each of blue, red, yellow and green), and a mini CD advertising full skirmish rules for a game called Old West Shootout. Now I'm no marketing major, but if I was selling a product and it came with extra stuff, and complete rules for a game, I'd damn sure be putting that information on my packaging! So in the end I feel like I got a very good deal. Oddly enough though, the game rules included use d6s, not d20s...but the skull-marked d20s will make great dice for games of Dark Age: Apocalypse so another win there too.

I read through the rules for Old West Shootout and thought it sounded like a fast little gun-fight game. There are full color files that you can print out to create a western town map to play on, and some scenario ideas included in the CD. Sadly there are no close combat rules in the rule book, but I found a sheet of house rules on the game's yahoo group website. I looked through them and they seemed pretty solid, so I thought I'd give them a try. In addition to the brawling rules there were also some rules for fan-firing pistols as well as cheap citizen level characters. I chose only to use the fan-fire and brawling rules in my test game.

Using the point values in the house rules I created two heroes (9 pts each), two characters (7 pts each) and the rest as gunmen (3 or 4 pts each). I set up half of the town map and tried out a quick 5 on 5 gunfight and made sure to try as many of the rules as I could. The only two I didn't get around to trying in my quick game were the fan-fire and held-fire rules. The figures ended up with some wounds, getting shaken through gunfire and fisticuffs, and some flat out "bang you're dead!" results. It is definitely a light game but one that could provide a good experience for people who aren't really the miniature gaming types. Hmm...maybe I can take the game when I go to visit my family on holidays. My dad always did like western movies, and it'd be fun if I could talk him into rolling some dice with me.

Now the main reason I was looking for old west figures in the first place was so that I could try out the rules for Blackwater Gulch; currently available as a free download from Gangfight Games. I decided on those rules in particular after searching around a fair bit. They looked smooth, well-written and seemed to cover off all the beats that I was looking for in a western-themed game, including having campaign rules. The figures in the Old West Heroes sets turned out to be perfectly suited for it as well. They're already painted and there are ten figures total and the minimum size for a gang in games of Blackwater Gulch is five, which gives me a perfect number of figures for two starting gangs.

I based all of my new toys on 30mm round bases, glued some rocks and sand onto them, did some quick dry-brushing and added a little flocking. Now my gunfighters and townsfolk are ready to go! Reading through the book I finally decided on which figures to make into the leaders and professionals for a hero and villain groups. Once I had that sorted I was able to split up the remaining figures into gangs as basic henchman and come up with some lists that I think will be fun and characterful. (One thing I will mention about the BWG rule book is that creating statistics and selecting weapons for your figures will require a lot of flipping back and forth.) However, without further delay, here are the stats for my new western heroes and villains!

Citizens of Blackwater Gulch
Fame: 354
Sheriff Matthias (Leader)
Profession: Gambler
Weapons: Cooper Navy Revolver, Small Knife
Skills: Run & Gun, Really Tough, Bravery, Charge!
Str: 4 Qui: 6 Sta: 5
Int: 4 RC: 4 MC: 4
XP: 105 HP: 4 DP: 3

Robert Howling Feather (Professional)
Profession: Bounty Hunter
Weapons: Tomahawk, Henry Repeater
Skills: Brute Strength, Hearty, Really Tough
Str: 5 Qui: 4 Sta: 3
Int: 3 RC: 3 MC: 4
XP: 82 HP: 3 DP: 2

Deputy Henkel (Henchman)
Weapons: Remington Army Revolver, Bowie Knife
Str: 3 Qui: 3 Sta: 2
Int: 2 RC: 3 MC: 3
XP: 56 HP: 1 DP: 1

Madame Camilla (Henchman)
Weapons: Remington Army Revolver, Throwing Knives
Str: 2 Qui: 4 Sta: 2
Int: 4 RC: 3 MC: 1
XP: 54 HP: 1 DP: 1

One-Tooth Webber (Henchman)
Weapons: Sharps Standard Long Range Rifle, Bowie Knife
Str: 3 Qui: 2 Sta: 2
Int: 2 RC: 4 MC: 3
XP: 57 HP: 1 DP: 1

Dust Hills Desperadoes
Fame: 356
Carlos Sangre (Leader)
Profession: Gunslinger
Weapons: Colt Peacemaker, Small Knife
Skills: Duck & Cover, Run & Gun, Really Tough, Deadeye
Str: 4 Qui: 5 Sta: 4
Int: 4 RC: 6 MC: 4
XP: 107 HP: 4 DP: 4

Pedro Silvera (Professional)
Profession: Gunslinger
Weapons: Cooper Navy Revolver x2, Knuckleduster
Skills: Quickdraw, Strong Arms, Really Tough
Str: 4 Qui: 3 Sta: 4
Int: 3 RC: 4 MC: 4
XP: 85 HP: 3 DP: 2

Jorge Sanchez (Henchman)
Weapons: Parker Short Barrel Shotgun, Small Knife
Str: 3 Qui: 2 Sta: 2
Int: 1 RC: 4 MC: 4
XP: 55 HP: 1 DP: 1

Turncoat Kevin (Henchman)
Weapons: Remington Army Revolver
Str: 2 Qui: 3 Sta: 3
Int: 2 RC: 3 MC: 3
XP: 53 HP: 1 DP: 1

William Wildbeard (Henchman)
Weapons: Remington Rolling Block Rifle
Str: 2 Qui: 2 Sta: 2
Int: 2 RC: 6 MC: 2
XP: 56 HP: 1 DP: 1

I'm really happy with them overall and they feel like characters to me now that I've been able to put together these lists. After I have a few trial runs of the Blackwater Gulch rules you can be sure I'll share my thoughts here.


Brummie said...

They look great I like how you've done them. For a novice they are ideal able to play straight away and can be repainted at a later date if desired.

Obsidian3D said...

They're a little heavily shaded for my tastes, but I'll not likely be repainting them. The significant other said "why's the woman bleeding?" when she first saw the models. I think they're a little glossy, but otherwise they're more than good enough to game with.

Might be able to drum up a game of Blackwater Gulch tonight after playing some Strange Aeons.

Eddie Kataishi said...

EM4 is a fantastic company. They have some of the best molds around for extremely good prices. Their customer support is excellent as well - Combat Zone Chronicles is a great place to send in house rules and scenarios in exchange for store credit! I love them for keeping the old Grenadier Future Wars (Copplestone sculpts) minis in production for way cheaper than most modern metal minis - and Combat Zone, one of my fav wargames.

Obsidian3D said...

I asked my local shop to see if they could get the Asian blades figures that EM4 produces so that I could proxy them in for a few games of Bushido to try out their new rules.

SGR said...

Thinking about using your gangs, and making 'official' looking cards, unless you already have done so?


Obsidian3D said...

I haven't done cards for them so feel free to. I'd love to see them when / if you do!