In 2014, Gamelyn Games and Scott Almes brought us Tiny Epic Kingdoms, a 4X game in a small package (and really a 3X game since there was not really any Exploration). This marked the beginning of a Tiny Epic Series – Tiny Epic Defenders (a cooperative fantasy game) and Tiny Epic Galaxies (a space exploration game) both came out in 2015. Now Gamelyn is Kickstarting the fourth in the series:
Tiny Epic Western is a 2-4 player game that plays in 30-45 minutes. The idea behind the game is that it is a mix of worker placement and poker, with players trying to stake their claim on the Old West. The game is currently well overfunded on Kickstarter (over $250K raised as of this writing), and still has over two weeks left in the campaign.
As of right now, the game comes with a Town Hall, a Sheriff’s Office, 4 Location mats, 4 Boss mats, 24 Building cards, 20 Poker cards, 12 Posse members (meeples), 2 Gunslinger dice, a first player token, 4 law cubes, 4 money cubes, 4 force cubes, 1 mine token, 1 rail token, and 1 wagon token. Each player begins with one money, one law, and one force (tracked on their Boss mat). Each player also gets three Posse members. The Town Hall, Sheriff’s Office, and Location mats are placed in a circle with the Town Hall at the top and Sheriff’s Office at the bottom. A face up building is dealt to each Location.
A game is played over six rounds. In each round, you’ll follow the same sequence:
SHUFFLE AND DEAL: Deal one face-up poker card between each location board, beginning at the Town Hall and moving clockwise. Then deal one face-down poker card to the rival space on the Town Hall. Each player gets two face-down poker cards, from which each player will discard one.
POSSE PLACEMENT: Players will take turns placing one of their posse members and taking the associated action. This could gain you influence, allow you to use or buy buildings, add a +/-1 modifier to the card in your hand, alter your suit rank, or gain a good. If anyone is in the space you want, there’s a duel.
RESOLUTION: Reveal your poker cards, as well as the card in the rival slot. Beginning at the Town Hall and moving clockwise, resolve each Location mat. Players who have placed a Posse member there compare their hands, consisting of their own card plus the two adjacent to the Location mat. This is three-card poker – Straight Flush is best, followed by Three of a Kind, Straight, Flush, Pair, and High Card. The winner of each hand (which could be the rival) get’s the indicated influence.
BUY: Player’s compare their hands with the Town Hall board. The player with the best hand gets first crack at buying a building (all will get a chance). The best hand can also choose an industry whose stock will advance.
After the sixth round, players total their points from buildings and industry rankings. The player with the most points wins.
Of the Tiny Epic series, I’ve only played the original Tiny Epic Kingdoms. It was fun, but I think the series has improved since then. It’s not really a shared universe, just a small style of game. And I think it’s cool that Gamelyn and Scott Almes are trying to bring out big games in small portable packages. This one has some really interesting ideas – I never would have thought to combine poker and worker placement, but there you go. The game has a good look to it, and seems like it will be fun to play. I have a little bit of a checkered past with Western games – there really have only been two that I have played and liked (Dice Town and Colt Express). However, I definitely would be interested to play this one. If you want to see the game in action, check out Rahdo’s Runthrough. Thanks for reading!