Friday, January 10, 2014

Tommy's Take on Revolver 1.1, 1.2 and By The Gun They Died

So I recently reviewed the card game Revolver...so now I thought I'd shed a little light on three of the expansions for the game!

Revolver 1.1: Ambush on Gunshot Trail

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Ambush on Gunshot Trail is not required to play Revolver...however, Revolver 1.2 and By The Gun They Died both assume that you are also using Ambush on Gunshot Trail. This small card expansion runs for about $15 retail, and includes cards for both Colonel McReady and Jack Colty, as well as introducing 2 new bandits for Colty (one being Sister Sarah and her Mule), as well as a new mechanic: Ambushes. With Ambushes, McReady was planning ahead, and an Ambush is dealt to each battlefield, sometimes giving McReady more firepower, sometimes killing one of Colty's men, but occasionally it's a false alarm and the Colty gang beats them to the punch. Other new Colty cards include the Cherokee Freedmen and Dragged Behind The Horse (which forcibly moves a Law Dog back one battlefield), while McReady gains Pinkerton Agents, a new Bounty Hunter and even a card that can derail (pun intended) Colty's desperation tactic aboard the train. The new cards are intended to be swapped out of the existing decks, providing a deck tuning mechanic.

WHAT WORKS: More backstory for the new characters (including two that are actually in the promo pack). The Ambush Mechanic adds a new dimension to gameplay without speeding up gameplay, and Colty gains more cannon fodder.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The price might be a tad high if you can't get a discount somewhere. The gratuitous cleavage from the bounty hunter is, well, gratuitous. I'm not a fan of the deck tuning mechanic, as it slows down an otherwise quick set-up and quick moving game.

CONCLUSION: My son and I have just been integrating the cards into the decks, as all it does is increase the random element, which proves to be more of an equalizer for the two of us. The set exudes a ton of personality, with unique, named characters who are all heroes of their own story. Strong recommendation for this expansion if you're digging Revolver.

Revolver 1.2: Hunt the Man Down

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: This expansion follows on the back of 1.1, going so far as to include an additional ambush card (and a violent one), as well as a new, optional battlefield holding the sadistic Santiago, a prisoner with a mad-on for Colonel McReady. It also introduces a new winning condition for McReady, in the form of bullet tokens Colty can gain over the course of the game. McReady gains more Pinkertons (who now actually draw the fire when on the field), while Colty gains more cards that can circumvent the 3 row limit, if only temporarily. More references to classic westerns abound, and an undertaker is added who can put the newly deceases to rest AND score you more cards.

WHAT WORKS: Impressively, the prison raid adds almost no time to the game, even with Ambushes from 1.1 in full effect, while also adding an additional strategic element, as the Colty player decides if Santiago is worth risking his men over.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Price is still going to be an issue for some, and 1.1 being required for fans wanting to pick this up is going to be annoying for some.

CONCLUSION: So far, so good. The truth about McReady gets a little seedier with each set, while the lines just get greyer and greyer. Major props to the designers for creating a whole new battlefield that adds to the game, but never really slows it down. The continued shout outs to classic westerns is also cool, going above and beyond just abusing common western tropes.

REVOLVER: BY THE GUN THEY DIED

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: This one is completely playable without 1.1 or 1.2, though there are some icons you aren't going to understand at first. Also, this set includes Elias Hooker and Brady Logan, two promo characters released for the game. Again, this set assumes you are going to be deck building/tuning, giving McReady options like Apache Warriors, a Pinkerton Sharpshooter who is made for Whiskey Canyon (the nastiest battlefield for the Colty gang to hide in) and the very thuggish Wriggler Hooley and the Swain Boys. Colty isn't left short handed, adding in the multiplying Bandidos, as well as an alternate version of Bullet (much meaner, as he will take someone with him now), and Turkey Joe (who also pops up in Revolve 2), as well as a card that implies a much deeper relationship was going on between Poppy McReady and Colty.

WHAT WORKS: No new mechanics to learn (aside from the deck tuning), and more cards with personality, both people and events.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The price, again, seems high, especially since it's not wrapped in any kind of real packaging, either. That said, there are some viable options in this set for fans of the game who like to build decks, as well as some cool cards for guys like me who don't mind piling them all on. Get 1.1 if you can only get one expansion, but the others are worth it if you like the game.