Showdown! Cowboys vs. Outlaws using Legends of the Old West

(click on the photos for enlargements)

Well I got in my first game of LotOW today. My friend Jeff who also has the rules and was eager to try them out came over and we pitted the figures shown in an earlier posting against each other.

In this photo (which is unusual in that it is a gaming photo with me in it!) you can see the basic set up we used. It consists of a simple town layout with some high walls that had a few breaks in them. We don’t have much in the way of scenery yet so its not very impressive but it was good enough to do a duel between posses in the street. We did manage to make as much use of the cover provided by the corners and the hole in the wall so this ended up being a good thing.

This picture was taken about 5 turns into the game so one of the outlaws has already been dismounted and is behind the wall. What we learned is that having a horse is incredibly useful. Mainly because of the “In The Way” rule which allows for bullets to hit things other than your intended target. A shot at a mounted figure has a 50% chance of hitting the mount. All of my initial shots at riders ended up hitting horse flesh instead (and usually not causing damage but causing a control check by the rider.) So having a horse is a very good thing which explains why they are so expensive.

My Cowboys did manage to knock down the enemy to 50% and they did manage to fail their “Head for the Hills” test at that point which won the game but I have to wonder if I made a mistake in putting the posses together. I say this because there is a rating called infamy that is a measure of the skill of the figures and their number. You add up all of the accumulated experience of the posse, multiply the number of figures by five and add the infamy of any hired guns. In my case I had hired “The Unknown Fighter.” This put my infamy at 69. The Outlaw band had an infamy of 43. You get $200 to hire and equip your posse. So it is possible that I overspent on the Cowboys. I’ll redo the math and see what it comes out to.

Jeff had the worst luck during the game. He won initiative (known here as “The Drop”) once the entire game. He did use a heroic action to quickdraw on my guys but again his bad luck prevailed and he didn’t do enough damage to make a difference. My leader was wounded but not removed from the game. I lost two figures total by the end of the game.

It would have been worse had I gotten my “Uknown Gun Fighter” into the battle sooner. He has the abilty to be more accurate with fanning his pistol. I did get to use his ability to be cold and ruthless when an enemy engaged a friendly. Normally the rules don’t allow you to shoot when there are friendlies in the way but to the “Unknown Gun Fighter” life is cheap! He managed to hit the bad guy and avoided hitting the good guy using a point of fame.

The game system is pretty cool and definitely fun. The use of Heroes with Fame and Fortune points allows you to strategically change the game. These limited points allow you to change the result of die by one pip or avoid a wound. They also allow you to call for “Heroic Actions” which amount to allow the disadvantage player to go first in specified phases of the turn. It is something you have to plan for which makes the game very challenging. I can see how it would take some time to develop the skill to be good in this game.

Well next up will be a write up of my experience with the game Tannhäuser. It is one of the wierder ones I’ve tried in years!

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