After months of speculation and a week of suspense, Rockstar Games finally confirmed the existence of a sequel to its hall-of-fame open world western Red Dead Redemption. For anyone who didn’t see the trailer drop on October 20th (or wants to see it again), take a gander.
The only disappointing thing about the trailer is the date at the end. Fall 2017 is a year away, and even if you decided to pre-order the game the second the trailer finished playing, that’s a lot of time to spend dreaming about the lone prairie. Westerns as a genre may not be as popular as they were in films and television but they are flourishing in the board game arena. Here are some excellent board games to help get in the mood for Rockstar’s next epic console experience.
It seems fitting that one of the games that busted open the board game frontier to westerns came from Italy, much like the “spaghetti westerns” that revitalized the film genre in the 60’s and from which the Red Dead series takes much of its inspiration. Bang! features role deduction, a traitor mechanic, and fast gameplay that hooks folks into playing more than a few rounds in a sitting. Card games not your style? Then check out the dice version and the iOS app.
Another Italian import with a clever take on the genre is Colt Express. This game, which won the 2015 Spiel des Jahres award, has players taking on a fast and furious train heist while trying to avoid the Marshal. It all takes place on a gorgeous 3D-train where players use meeples to show their location each turn. An expansion adds a stagecoach and horses to the mix and a second expansion was just recently added, allowing one of the players to pin on a tin star and become the Marshal.
Meeples and Westerns seem to go together like a Peacemaker in each hand. Flick’Em’Up is a recent entry in the dexterity game genre, where players have a shoot out in the middle of town by flicking small discs at each other’s pieces with their finger, blending skill and strategy. That means the players can pull off impressive trick shots rather than their characters! Two expansions add in more ways to flick across the board like horses and tomahawks, and there’s even a plastic version that’s more inexpensive for cowpokes on a budget.
While most Westerns are set out in the wild frontier, a handful of them touch upon the encroachment of civilization upon wild spaces. There are few games that better capture the drama of building a frontier town than Carson City. This worker placement game requires players to keep a balance between building important town buildings, taking roles in the town to influence the available actions on each turn, and throwing down with other players in good, old-fashioned showdowns when the need arises.
For those fans of Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare DLC, this card game set in the Deadlands universe should hit the spot. Players build up the strange town of Gomorra, warring over the eerie ghost rock mined there with everything from automated steampunk lawmen to killer clowns that don’t stay dead. Shootouts are handled by a poker mechanic that lets players cheat their way to victory so long as nobody has a card in hand that punishes the cheating player for trying to win a hand with five aces. AEG recently announced the last expansion of this expandable card game which wraps up the storyline of the game with—dare we say it—a bang?
What’s your favorite way to play cowboys? Tell us in the comments, pardner!
Featured image: Rockstar Games
Image credit: dV Giochi, Asmodee, Pretzel Games, Eagle Games, AEG