Monday 17th saw the Trailblazers Tour hit Norwich, and I popped down to Athena Games to get some hands on time with the proposed version 2 rule set of Wild West Exodus.
Every body who attends one of these trailblazer events will receive a free model, the Legendary Captain Nimue, which in itself is a great reason to attend, but getting down and dirty with the sci-fi western game of Wild West Exodus, is the main aim here, now truth be told I never really got my head around version one, but then I haven’t really had much chance to get it out on the table so maybe that’s where the stumbling point came as I couldn’t really visualise the rules very well.
So going into the demo with open eyes and a fair amount of anticipation, I was ready to have a good time and to be honest WWX doesn’t disappoint, it is in a very simple term ‘brutal’ there are ways of prolonging a models life if it all goes really bad, but although easy its very much a gamble, and one that in my demo didn’t work out very well for the demoer in my game but more on that shortly, at its basics it very much an I Go, You Go game with players, normally, activating one unit at a time, before passing the turn over to the opposition. Each turn you draw a card to find out how many ‘action points’ that you can use for each activation, again there are ways of generating a bit more by burning adventure cards but this might not always work especially as you can gain victory points off these cards or gain extra bonuses.
So the brutality started pretty much from the get go, but for a change I was rolling hot dice which is unusual for me (or the guys hand out loaded dice) and I managed to save pretty much all of the guys that got shot at except one, with my return fire using a template weapon pretty much obliterated everything in sight, which was rather nice, firing on my opponents Hands was a bit more tricky as for one they are a bit hardier than normal grunts and they also have special rules which in a way act as a save (but -1 to all stats until they recover) also the Boss, and some other models, can use Fortune to force rerolls but this is a very limited currency and can only be regenerated at the end of his next activation, so you can use it all early to save someone but you could potentially be leaving yourself in a worse situation. For example my hands unit fired at his Face unit and he was forced to use some of this fortune to keep him alive which worked out really well, until I started shooting at his boss and then charged into close combat with my boss, which left him in a very bad situation of being dead as he had no fortune to keep him alive and fighting.
I think all in a larger game really wouldn’t take to long to play and from what the guys were saying is they are designing the game to be brutal and fast so you can get a few games in on an average club opening times (so a few hours) whilst still being reasonably tactical and enjoyable, the tactics I cant really say much about as we just threw caution to the wind to get on with the fun bits, but the enjoyable and brutal I can attest to even the tactics whilst mainly missing from a demo game where still there in a rather large fashion in so much as what do I activate first to force my opponent to do what I want him to not what he wants to do.
I must highlight at this point that we were playing with the Beta rules which although seem very tight at the moment are subject to change, as are the cards and formats but I think on the whole it is probably the most enjoyable demo I have took part in and well worth a look, even if you’re not a fan of wild west games, as this is very refreshing and although a lot of unique ways of doing things the whole system seems quite comfortable and familiar at the same time.