When I got a copy of Colt Express, from Asmodee, it took me almost no time at all to open the box and put together the train. Who doesn’t like trains!? After much choo chooing and yeehaws, to the point I started to grate on my fellow workers, I went looking for wannabe Bandits to play our first PHD game.
Meet the Gang
Having set up the train and plopped our meeples in the appropriate starting car, it’s Benny Hill meets the Keystone Cops western style as the game began.
The object of the game is to rob the train and it’s passengers by getting “loot” from the railroad cars. Each car has differing types and random, undisclosed loot bags ($250-450), gems ($500) or the ultimate prize, the strong box ($1000). There is no limit of how much you can get or carry, just a limited number of turns to grab as much as you can, dictated by the number of players. So think fast, plan ahead and be prepared for chaos. In the end the Bandit with the most loot wins. Oh and avoid the Sheriff or bad things happen.
How do you move around the train?
Each player has a set number of cards. Cards that allow you to move up or down, from or to, the roof of the train (2 total). Move horizontally through the train (2 total). Shoot (2 total) or Punch (1 total) attack cards, pick up loot cards (2 total) and a move the Sheriff card (1). Each round you randomly draw a hand of six cards from those I described. Unless you’re Doc where you get to draw 7. This can be really useful later in the game as Mike was to discover. Then you plan your movement, all the while trying to outsmart your fellow Bandits and avoid that pesky Sheriff. You may think this sounds a bit like a deck building game and you’d be right. It feels more like that as you shoot and get shot too, but more about that later.
How you play your cards is dictated by the Round card and your abilities. In my case, Ghost has the ability to ALWAYS play his first card face down. “Nobody sees the Ghost coming”.
All cards are placed in one stack and all cards are placed before any movement is resolved. Once all cards are placed on the stack, it’s flipped over and cards are resolved in played order.
How do you attack?
I’m glad you asked. You didn’t? Nevermind I’m going to tell you anyway. Targets for shooting are either a Bandit in the next car or the closest on top of the train that’s not on your car. If no targets are available the attack resolves with no effect. You can only punch a character that is in the same car or roof top as you. As you can appreciate, you need to watch what others are playing and try to anticipate their actions, then make an appropriate play. The great thing about Belle, hammed up magnificently by Matt, is her ability to use her beauty to force a player to target another character if she and they are both possible targets. So hanging out with Belle doesn’t save you, in fact it helps her, since she’ll force other players to target you!
As you can imagine, as we played you’d get moved around against your plans and the rest of your move becomes comical, with you now reacted to unplanned moves of others.
Enter the Sheriff
If you enter a car occupied by the Sheriff or he enters your car by being moved by a player, he immediately shoots you and you are forced onto the roof of that car. Further clogging your deck with a bullet card and putting you where you don’t necessarily want to be. One hilarious moment was when Andrew “Djando” shot a hapless Doc, who staggered backwards into a car occupied by the Sheriff, who also shot him and ejected him to the roof.
If you haven’t tried this game yet, I recommend you do. It’s fast, fun and hilarious. Particularly if you encourage people to get into their actions and characters. It’s a total win as a demo game, since the train is three dimensional and with all the whooping and hollering it’ll attract folks to check things out and see what is going on. A big, BIG WIN!
The only negative is there is no official Organized Play for this game. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t do Organized Play. I could certainly see a League of Bandits where you track end-of-game loot gained totals, over a number of games and the Bandit who steals the most wins. Or giving players a placing total such as 1st gets 3 points, 2nd gets 2 points everyone else 1 point to decide who’s the meanest yet most successful Bandit over a season. The goal here is to bring the players in multiple times allowing for them to increase sales via snack and drinks plus impulse purchases. Exposure to your promotions of other games and developing loyalty with your players.
For a truly epic night of fun encourage people to come dressed as their Character and award prizes for the best costumes. Turn it into a great evening of entertainment within your store and not just another game on game night. Use pictures taken on that night as advertising for your store. Get them on your Social Media pages, website and up in the store. Promote your store as the most fun place to be and if you don’t come to our next game night you’re missing out. I have many more ideas and I’m sure you have some too. If you want help with ideas or discuss ideas on how you can grow your business via Organized Play or Demos then give me a call at the Orlando location and ask for Ian!