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Grab Your Ten-Gallon Hat and Win the West in WESTERN LEGENDS

Grab Your Ten-Gallon Hat and Win the West in WESTERN LEGENDS

You squint your eyes in the harsh light of the gaming store, stalling for time. Your opponent adjusts his cards with itchy trigger  drawing fingers. You can almost see a tumbleweed roll across the table, and you’re almost certain you can hear the whistle to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly somewhere in the distance. In your hand are a couple of poker cards – a Jack, a 10, maybe a King – and you’re stalling because you’ve got an important decision to make. Your opponent’s got a pile of cash, a few gold nuggets,  and you want it all. You’ve got the Johnny-Law reputation of a Marshall and now you’ve got a choice: throw that reputation to the wind and rob your opponent? Or move on, content to deliver your cattle to the Rail Station and collect your money honorably.

This is Western Legends from Kolossal Games, and it’s full of cinematic moments like this.

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Western Legends is a sandbox-style adventure game, set in the rootin’-tootin’ wild west. Players take on familiar Western Heroes like Billy the Kid or Annie Oakley, and set off to become legends. As the name implies, the goal of the game is not merely to survive or thrive in dusty Darkrock, but to become a legend and Western Legend provides you ample opportunity to do so. “Legendary Points” (LPs) can be earned in a number of different ways. There’s gold in them hills, and it’s possible to go prospecting and become a legend by mining for ore that you sell back in town. If you prefer a more traditionally minded brand of capitalism, you can wrangle cattle on behalf of local farmers. Money talked in the west as much as it talks now.

More adventurous buckaroos may decide to clean out the local bandit gangs. NPC bandits populate the outskirts of the two cities, making life tough for the good folks of Darkrock and Red Falls. Loading up a 6-shooter and taking them out is a great way to etch your name into the history books. In fact, facing down bandits will earn you Marshall Points. Players who walk a lawful path can advance along the Marshall Track. This track provides steady cash and LP as you perform good deeds. Bandit hunting is a great way to accomplish this, but more fun is to hunt down and arrest Wanted Players. Yes, life was tough in the in the American West and sometimes it was easier to let your shotgun do the work.

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Some character choices, like Billy the Kid, begin the game Wanted but most have to make the choice to turn to a life of crime. There’s a bank in town just asking to be heisted, and you can always deliver cattle to a different farmer rather than make the legal delivery. Even other players aren’t safe. If Ms. Oakley is sitting on a stack of cash from her mining business, you can always mosey on over and tell her to stick ’em up. Like the Marshall Track, a Wanted Track keeps count of your illicit deeds and provides bonuses for those who aim to be infamous.

While Western Legends‘ red-sandbox is broad and offers lots of options, it never goes off the rails. Rules are simple, and nothing is too complex. Bank heists are not all that different from fighting a bandit, which is not all that different from fighting off a sheriff. Turning in cash to earn LPs through revelry differs from turning in gold nuggets only in how you obtained your valuables. While it does make various systems feel samey, it does make some of the richer systems stand out. Western Legends comes with a deck of 52-poker cards. These cards could be used to play any standard card game, but they also have bonuses printed on them that provide options while you play. They’re also used for combat, where you’ll play a single card face-down in battle hoping to have a higher card than your opponent. You can even play a modified form of Texas Hold Em against other players or the dealer.

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In short, Western Legends provides a wild wild west adventure by letting you live out scenes familiar from any western. You can hop on your horse and ride across the desert in search of gold, or you can chase bandits and outlaws. No matter what you do, the simple systems ensure you’re working to build your own Legend. They also allow ample room for expansions. Western Legends does not feel incomplete and you can come back to this box over and over. However, it also feels imminently expandable and we’re looking forward to adding new options for our cowboys and cowgirls.

You can see the full game in action on Game the Game:

Learn more about Western Legends on the Kolossal Games site, and ride over to your local sasparilla-slinging gaming store to pick it up.

Image Credits: Kolossal Games, Raf Cordero

In addition to Geek & Sundry, Raf Cordero co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. Chat with him on Twitter @captainraffi.

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