The Wild West, home of cowboys and native Indians, lawmen and outlaws, the gangs and the gunfighters and most importantly, the Western Legends.
Kolossal’s first game, Western Legends, designed by Hervé Lemaître and illustrated by Roland MacDonald, combines intuitive and diverse gameplay in a world filled with powerful historical figures.
During the game, players will travel across the Wild West, playing poker, robbing banks, and avoiding the sheriff. Taking on the role of historical figures from the wild west, you’ll gain Legendary points throughout the game in various ways, which I’ll go through in a little bit more detail later on.
Some players will become Outlaws, and if that’s you, you’ll collect Wanted points for robbing a bank, rustling cattle, and stealing from other players.
Other players will follow the path of the Law, gaining Marshal points. You’ll get these for wrangling cattle, arresting Wanted players and fighting off bandits. Sounds fun, right?
The open world game design enables you to take a deep dive into the old west and feel fully immersed in the game; there are so many paths to victory and so many stories to choose.
Each character in Western Legends is unique and has different elements which may help guide how they will play the game. Each character has a different set of starting bonuses; they could be things such as additional items, money, or poker cards as well as Marshall or Wanted points. All super handy to have at the beginning of the game.
The character also has a starting location which will determine where they are situated at the beginning of the game and an unlockable Legendary ability.
Legendary abilities are special; they are unique advantages that the character may use once they have unlocked, which happens after gaining 5 Legendary points on the score track. This is noted by a star on the score track as a reminder.
So, that’s a brief overview of how the character’s are setup.
Now, I’d like to talk a little bit about the actual characters themselves. I first of all love that Kolossal and Hervé have represented a lot of different characters across the board, whilst this isn’t a historical game, they have stayed true to the origins of the figures they had included and have really thought about who to add in the game.
During the game, players will compete to secure their legendary status and the player with the most Legendary points at the end of the game wins. As mentioned earlier on, there are various ways you can gain points during the game. The primary way to get points is through completing acts on the board such as fighting with other characters, driving cattle and completing story cards.
Something I quite liked about the game is that there are different lengths of gameplay, which is handy if you’re playing a quick game after work or up for something a little bit longer at the weekend.
There’s the Short game with the first player getting 15 Legendary points triggering end game; the Average game goes to 20 points or the Long game at 25 points.
When a player has gained Legendary points equal to or greater than the amount set for the game length, they announce this to the table. Each player then gets one more turn. THEN a winner is determined. Something I quickly learned is that just because you got enough Legendary points to end the game, does NOT mean you will win. There are other factors to include in the end score, too.
Once all players have taken their final turn, it’s time to count final scores. You’’ll also gain 1LP for every $60 you still have, however, you will lose 1LP for each wound you have so don’t forget to heal those.
So, I bet you’re thinking, how does the game actually play? Well, here you go.
On your turn, you’re going to first of all check for any start of turn effects; then you’ll get to Draw 2 poker cards, gain $20 or draw 1 poker cards and gain $10.
Poker cards are valuable, because you’ll need them to play you know, poker. On top of that though, they are also used to fight and have various actions too.
Then, there’s the Action Phase in which you will take three actions. You can move across the board, use an action from one of your poker cards, take action in a location you’re currently in, or Fight.
Finally, you’re going to End your Turn. You’ll resolve any Story cards you might have triggered, discard down to your maximum hand, if you’re Wanted, you’ll gain LP based on which row you’re on, and then you’’ll pass turn to the player on your left.
That’s a very brief overview of how the game plays, there’s rules and exceptions and all of that, but in a nutshell, there you have it.
Something that I love about this game though is that there’s one Golden rule. Most cards in the game, such as character abilities, items, and poker cards will bend or break the rules from the rulebook in different ways. The text from the card you’re playing always overrides any rules. THAT to me is pretty exciting. It really gives true meaning to the sandbox design, creating your own world to play in and be a part of.
To me, Western Legends truly feels like a video game or a virtual reality game, I found myself thinking ahhh, this is awesome at so many points throughout the game, being able to choose your own path, and there are various paths to choose from, helps to create a captivating experience. It’s easy enough to say that a game is immersive, but for me, this game really was. I completely felt like a part of the Wild West, and got super invested in my characters. I’d even go as far to say that this is Red Dead Redemption in tabletop form and that’s a compliment well earned.
The Wild West isn’t a theme that I’m usually drawn to when it comes to games, but Western Legends has got me second guessing that.
Is this game for you? It’s a medium weight game, with super cool characters, accessible gameplay and loads of different ways to win. I think it’s the perfect game to keep you engaged.
Something that really impressed me is being able to play actual characters from the old American Wild West, people that maybe didn’t get the limelight they should have because there weren’t any movies or TV shows made about them or people that just aren’t really talked about. I also love, love, love the representation in this game, Kolossal definitely did not shy away from including women, people of colour, and Native Americans in the game and that’s super important.
I appreciate the effort that has gone into making the game, in an industry that’s forever growing, Kolossal has dared to be different, and it’s paid off.
Western Legends is coming to Kickstarter on the 9th January, and I recommend checking this one out, I know I’ll be backing it.
Thanks for reading!
Here’s some useful links for you.
BGG: Western Legends
FB Event page: Western Legends Kickstarter launch