1892. Repentance Springs. The Colty gang has just rampaged through the town, robbed the bank, killed a bunch of people, and rode off into the sunset. This is the setting for:
Revolver: The Wild West Gunfighting Game is a joint production between White Goblin and Stronghold Games. It’s a two-player card game designed by Mark Chaplin for ages 12 and up, and takes around 45 minutes to play. One player controls the Colty gang, while the other controls Colonel McReady and the posse trying to round them up. It’s a reimplementation of Chaplin’s self-published game Aliens: This Time It’s War. That game, however, would have licensing issues, so it makes sense to retheme it.
Revolver is a card game, with each player controlling a 62 card deck. Other cards included: 16 Bandit cards, 5 Battlefield cards, 1 Derail the Train card, and 1 Mexican Border card. Additionally, there are 14 Mexican Border tokens, 6 True Grit tokens, 6 Power tokens, and a turn marker. Set up involved laying out the Battlefield cards between the fighters (in order: The Bank at Repentance Springs, Whiskey Canyon, Buzzard Point, Rattlesnake Creek, and 3:15 Express from Rattlesnake Station). The 16 Bandits are laid out in front of the Colty player, and each player draws a hand of five cards from their deck.
Revolver is a turn-based game, and the Colty player always goes first. There are four phases to a turn, though a player will only take three of them – advance the turn marker (Colty only), draw two cards, play cards, and attack (McReady only).
ADVANCE THE TURN MARKER – The turn marker will be advancing along the track made by the Battlefield cards. At the start of his turn, the Colty player advances the marker one space.
DRAW TWO CARDS – Do I need to explain this one?
PLAY CARDS – Play as many cards as you want from your hand onto your side of the current Battlefield. You will have to pay the cost of the card, which entails discarding other cards from your hand. There are three types of cards: firepower, which is used in the gunfights after McReady’s turn; row-blocking cards, which are played in your opponent’s area; and one-shot effect cards, which have special instructions before they are discarded. The Colty player has a limit of three cards on his side of the Battlefield, while the McReady player has no such limit. Cards are not moved or removed from a Battlefield unless you discard it, your opponent takes it out, or you play a card that allows you to move it.
ATTACK – At the end of his turn, Colonel McReady adds up his firepower and compares it to Colty. If the Colonel’s total is greater than Colty’s, Colty takes a casualty. If not, one token is removed from the Mexican border card.
The game continues until Colonel McReady has killed every member of the Colty gang, until Jack Colty makes it to the fourth space of the 3:15 Express card, or if all 12 tokens are removed from the Mexican border card. Colonel McReady only has one way to win – Colty has two.
That’s pretty much it. Of course, a lot of the game strategies will stem from the play of cards, and it will be impossible to really tell how this game plays without giving it a try. I think the Western theme will be enough to draw people in, and I hope the game play works pretty well. This is advertised as a non-collectible game, though it seems to play like a CCG. Everything you need is in the box, and the two decks are said to be balanced. That remains to be seen.
This seems like it will be a good confrontational card game, though a lot will depend on the cards you draw. There’s some good hand management here, particularly as you’ll need to sacrifice cards from your hand to pay for other cards from your hand (a la Race for the Galaxy or Summoner Wars). More than anything, this game seems to have a really good narrative behind it. I’m thinking particularly of classic Westerns like 3:10 to Yuma, where the story is all about a journey while being pursued. That movie would probably be a good companion to this one in a movie/game theme night. I look forward to seeing how it all works. Thanks for reading!