IntroductionTime for another game of The Rules with No Name at my local club, this week. Once again I was struggling to think of a decent scenario (Tuesday evenings come round frighteningly fast!), at least until my older son mentioned something. I can't even remember what he said now, but it led down the classic Western route of a small band of heroes against huge numbers of bad guys. So, how shall we do this?
The small settlement of Los Lobos has been overrun by banditos. However, all is not lost: a small band of mercenary Americanos have been engaged to take on the bandits. It's a matter of honour to them not to accept defeat, so they must succeed in destroying all the bad guys and freeing the town!
In this game, each player would take one of the Americanos. As umpire, I controlled all the banditos.
Because they're attacking the town, the Americanos may deploy on any edge of the board. They must cover all sides of the settlement (i.e. they're not allowed to just walk down main street in one large mob!). I told the players that the banditos would win instantly if even a single bandito managed to run off any edge of the table and escape. This wasn't actually their victory condition, but it did encourage the players to spread their forces about.
The banditos were all Gunman or Citizen class. I was planning to have their Legend leader arrive late, but we ran out of time before this happened. Oh, well.
Initially there would be 4 banditos on the board. Each time the Bystander card was drawn from the Fate deck, another bandito would arrive as a reinforcement. Since there were 6 buildings on the table (excluding small sheds, privies, tents and the like), a dice would be rolled and the bandito would emerge from that building. If an Americano had "searched" the indicated building by spending an action to look through the door then the dice would be re-rolled. Dead banditos would be recycled as reinforcements when necessary, thus providing a potentially endless supply of bad guys; this would only be limited by the available playing time!
Because of the "all or nothing" nature of the game and the potentially large number of figures, we wouldn't use Nerve tests. The Americanos are simply reckoned to pass, always. Bandito Citizens will faint or run away after a single wound (assuming it doesn't kill them anyway!), whereas Bandito Gunmen will automatically be out of action if they take any 2 wounds (or a single Dead, of course).
Victory ConditionsFor the banditos, this was simple: kill all of the Americanos!
I didn't really think too clearly about the victory conditions for the attackers. Obviously I couldn't make it "Survive until the game ends", as this would have led to all the heroes just hiding! Possibly it could be "kill at least 10/20/30 banditos"? Or maybe it should have been "Search every building" (thus preventing any more enemy reinforcements)? On the evening, none of the players actually asked what they needed to do in order to win, so I guess it doesn't really matter.
One thing that is important: they all win or lose together. Even players whose characters are dead can still claim a win if the group is successful!
Our GameAs might be expected, there was no coherent flow to this game. Rather, it developed from very early on into a series of small encounters and vignettes. Here are some of the more memorable moments:
ConclusionThe final casualty list was as follows:
- Sheriff Roberts: DEAD
- Preacher Adams: DEAD
- Blondie: DEAD
- Black Bart: a single, serious head wound
- Deputy Rex: badly wounded and unconscious
- Jesse (replacement): 4 (!) flesh wounds, but still going
- Emmett (replacement): uninjured
I think if I was running this again, there would have to be some changes. In essence, the heroes' moves were too unpredictable. This was especially a problem for 2 players (Black Bart and Preacher Adams/Jesse), who didn't get to do very much as their character cards just weren't drawn. I think that either a player should have more than 1 model to control (thus multiplying their chances of having something to do), or extra activation cards need to be added to the deck for the Americanos. If the former route is chosen then it restricts the number of players on the "good" side to 3 or maybe 4. On the other hand, I've always been wary of altering the balance too heavily in favour of already-powerful characters by allowing them more chances to take actions. Perhaps this could be justified on the grounds that the banditos are taken by surprise and are therefore confused, unprepared and slow to react?
So, did the seven win? I don't know - you'll have to decide for yourself!