It is 1899 and the Union Pacific Express is headed to the Nice Valley Coal Company to deliver their payroll and 47 passengers. Suddenly the train is attacked by thievin’ bandits! Will the outlaws keep their cool or will Marshal Samuel Ford save the day and prevent the robbery?
Colt Express is a programmable card game for 2-6 players, you play as a wily bandit robbing a train, your goal is to become the richest outlaw of the Old West. The game consists of five rounds, and each round has two phases:
The Schemin’ phase - This is where you plan out your moves ahead of time. Each player plays 2-5 action cards on a common pile, with the cards being face up or face down depending on the type of the round. Instead of playing a card, a player can draw three cards from her deck.
The Stealin’ phase - This is where your big plan comes to fruition, The action cards are carried out in the order they were played, with a player’s best laid plans possibly not panning out due to mistakes and oversights!
There is a fair amount of dependancy on what the other players choose as their actions in this game, and while some are able to be telegraphed, the tunnels and player abilities present in the game can cause a well thought out plan to go awry. There is also the added randomness that is apparent in any deck builder-esque games. (which this game does include! Re: Bullet cards)
This game is all about strategy, and while lightweight, without a well thought out plan, you may find yourself at the bottom of this ladder made for misfits. While the impact that facedown cards has on the game, there is always an opportunity for a well educated guess to pay off.
Colt Express is a very simple, light hearted game. While the components and mechanics may intimidate some at first, but the core of the game centres around 2 very simple steps: Play cards, take their associated actions. This game is perfect for intorducing non gamers to something with a bit more bite that Ticket To Ride or Catan.
This game fits nicely into the 30 minute play slot where one game may just not be enough, but you can still bring a game night together around it. I Find that it sits somewhere in the company of Splendor or Lanterns, yet accommodating a larger game group.
I don't know what it is about the western genre, but their board games all seem to have an amazing emphasis on the components and Colt Express is no exception. The game doesn't come with a board, but rather a 3 punch out train taht you need to assemble to serve as the play area. It also comes with some adorable scenery that is entirely cosmetic. A minor gripe I will say though is if you have larger hands you may find it difficult to manuever the insides on the train cars.
Some gmes can be quite simple in there mechanics, yet hard to explain without going through the entire rulebook (Or playing through a whole game first). That is not the case here, the game is quite intuative and as long as one player has a proper understanding of what each action entails then the game flows quite comfortably.
The theme is a train robbery and that is not lost on the players, you really feel like you are trying to outmaneuver a bunch of other bandits, trying to grab as much loot as possible before the train reaches its stop. While its not necessary at all to play the game, I cannot recommend more highly the use of the cosmetic features that come with the box, it all adds to the flavour of a game that wants you to get lost in it.
The game comfortably scales between 2-6 players, however, as with many games not designed specifically for 2 players, a one on one duel really fails to fit the bill here. The game is at its very best with 4-5 players, yet 3 or 6 is not a tax on the enjoyment at all! The new 2016 expansion Marshal & Prisoners let the fun expand up to 8 players, however it does add a bit more complexity to the game.
Colt Express is a wonderful game, well deserving of the 2015 spiel des jahres. The focus on strong mechanics, loving crafted components and a rich, engaging theme really sets this one above the pack. Be sure to pick this one up if you haven't already!
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