A few months ago K-Pasa Man found out it was coming back in the Expandable Card Game (ECG) format. We instantly planned to pick it up and start playing it as fond memories rushed to the fore.
As soon as we had the release date we set aside the first available day to crack it open and play again. Friday, Sep 12 2014 was the day.
After some nonsense where the game store I pre-ordered it at went through ownership change, I went in and reconfirmed the order with the new guy, he then did not order it (despite the other people allegedly not placing orders was the reason for the split :-( )so I was gameless.
Worse, my second choice store was sold out, my third choice did not have it in yet and when they did get it in only got enough for pre-orders, and a fourth had never heard of it. Fortunately, Rainy Day Games got a second shipment in, I picked up their last two boxes Wednesday after work and sleeved the cards that same night.
So Friday I headed straight to St Helens, loaded up on pretzels, Cheetos, Mt Dew, we ordered a couple pizzas and settled in.
While waiting for Fullur to read the rules, Fixed Dice and K-Pasa Man to get off work and arrive and CrisAsUsual to arrive, I started tweaking the Law Dogs deck I elected to start with. I went with an Ace through 6 model trying for straights, full houses and maybe the odd four of a kind and feel like there were some holes in the deck but it would be good for a start. Hard to tweak a deck for a game you have not played in 15 years...you need some experience.
While waiting I built a Morgan Cattle Company (MCC or Morgan) Deck at the other end of the spectrum...9s and higher, lots of deeds out of town and a good variety of dudes.
Then while Fullur was doing the play-through, I fiddled around with a stupid joke-deck, the Sloan Gang on a "dudes and deeds" concept where everything was either a dude or a deed...no actions, no gadgets or weapons or hexes.
K-Pasa Man arrived, ready to play so I broke out the Law Dogs against his MCC. He made a key error, adding Steven Wiles. He is cheap, but that upkeep is murder, so he started out with a wasted Ghost Rock, a ghosted posse slot and never really caught up. Neither of us left ourselves much Ghost Rock so the first few turns were building some up. I got out a deed, he did not contest. I got out a second deed, he did not contest...and suddenly I had more dudes, more deeds and could contest everything he put on the board, leading to him being forced to accept a disadvantageous shootout which I won pretty handily.
Too bad I called him out at home...
Second game I picked up my Sloan Gang. I knew the way I built it had major holes so figured he would win. However, i had learned the lesson of holding back some ghost rock and not sure he had picked that up. So by turn three I was able to put Sloan on the table herself due to all the deeds I had. He had several dudes but no deeds yet and every time he twitched I would call him out, gun him down and soon he was all but dead. Again I called him out in his home, slaughtered his last guy and "won".
Then I read the rulebook again while he played one of the other guys...you cannot call somone out in their home.
Next up I pulled MCC against his Fourth Ring. Now he held back some ghost rock. Unfortunately, he could not pull a deed to save his game life, and while he had about 7 dudes out, I had about 6 deeds AND seven dudes out as my production simply obliterated him. Using the MCC ability and the Pharmacy to keep unbooted dudes everywhere I needed them I was able to and won a couple smaller shootouts, forcing him into an attempt to take some of my control points. With better shooters and a tighter deck construction (he was using one of the pre-constructed with maybe a couple modifications of his own) I won the shootout handily.
Sloan v. 4th Ring was a slaughter. He got a couple deeds out, I got a couple deeds out but was adding control point in the Town Square every turn, with stronger shooters to protect my dude while he was limited somewhat. Finally he had to make a move, I called him out knowing I could move Sloan and several dudes unbooted, if he did not do MAJOR damage in the shootout it was still over.
Had I been cheating he would have won a couple rounds, but I consistently drew non-cheating flushes as the deck is designed to do and finished him with a timely four of a kind. Had I been cheating on either of the first two rounds I believe he would have won the game.
One more game Law Dogs v 4th Ring. Ultimately on the key turn I played Sheriff Dave Montreal just before the key shootout, turning his perceived advantage into an advantage for me. Again, my legal 5 of a kind hand was the difference as his cheating cards could not hurt me. Furthermore, knowing the anti-cheating abilities I had, he could not afford to cheat and it put him between a rock and a hard place.
The key in each game was I was able to build and early economy lead, back it up with solid shooters. I believe I only lost one shootout round and that was a tie...with superior production in every game, plenty of dudes to cover the town it made it real tough for him to get going.
Then Fullur took on playing my MCC against the Fourth Ring as played by K-Pasa Man. What an epic game. Early on the Ring was popping dudes out left and right, but MCC was deeding up. Then MCC started popping out dudes while the Ring started developing their own deeds. MCC started moving around, denying control to the Ring, slowing their production...the Ring was in decent position but behind. Passed. Had Fullur passed he won...three consecutive actions he took. Thinking the game was over, I pointed that out. He took one more action...
K-Pasa Man moved to the center. Fullur reacted. A shootout developed. Mistakes were made. Bad luck happened...a 10 card hand was beaten by 5+2 redraws. 9 card hand can only beat 5+2 by one. then with just The Ghostly Gun, K-Pasa Man used his ability to make his hand better, but that removed his last dude, ending the shootout and making his hand rank irrelevant...but Fullur had nothing left to do.
So despite having 3 booted dudes on the table, he could not contest any control points. He had 6 influence and 6 control points. K-Pasa Man had zero influence, zero dudes, 9 control points...and a huge, epic, awesome come-back win.
So much fun. Love this game, cannot wait to play more.