Sunday, March 14, 2010

Iguanodon Juan and the Fracas at Pistachio Flats

The bustling cowtown of Pistachio Flats

Gutshot! made the rounds the other night and we were able to squeeze in two games (and still finished up early). The more and more I play this game, the more and more I like it. It's fast to learn and just plain fun to play. It's not complicated, but it lends itself enough to create memorable, cinematic shootouts every game.

Chrispy (Flounder of Minions infamy) has been pretty serious about getting into the wild west genre. He had more figs painted this time around, and had even picked up some great, new buildings. Well, new to him anyway. Back in the 90's, the Ertl company put out some toy sets as part of the "cowtown" line. These sets are now the "holy grail" of 28mm cowboy gamers, and as you can see, they look great on the table and painting is optional.

The cowtown buildings are very cool. They have multiple hinged portals, from double wide barn doors, to regular doors. Doors are everywhere too, with multiple entry points on any given building. Staircases and other nice touches are also there and if you get a complete set like Chrispy did, you get lots of cool extra accessories, like pianos, desks, stools, and the like. There's also other nifty things like a stagecoach, livestock, and fences.

The rooftops are removable and some have interior balconies

Iguanodon Juan demonstrates that the scale is dead on

There's a reason it's called a "cowtown"

Horse stables and corral

Better than poker chips...

In the rules, technically, it says to draw your initiative chits from a hat. Well, Chrispy one-upped the chits and put numbers on empty .45 Long Colt shell casings! Remember my one-time cowboy escapades? Well I dug my "official" cowboy hat out from the closet and voila, we had a really cool initiative system. Gimmicky, sure, but that's what makes it so fun!

A busty Texas Ranger stands beside some of the initiative 'chits'

Too far a shot for a pistol? Yeah, probably...

Gutshot! is pretty cool in that you can have a quality game with just one figure per player. Of course a game of this size doesn't take very long, so you can rack 'em up and play a second game in no time. We did just that, played a first game with everyone randomly rolling what type of character they had. Sure, some characters seem higher powered than others, but in this first game it was the total rookie greenhorn who won. Feeling comfortable enough with the rules (and we also had a first-time player at the table tonight) the second time around we played with two characters apiece in the same type of "shoot 'em up" scenario.

I played Iguanodo Juan in both games, this fig is just too cool to pass up...and he was painted nicely to boot! Here we've got the outlaw coming through a door on the second floor to leap to the ground floor inside the saloon from the interior balcony, bottle in hand.

"Take cover!"

The middle of the town's main street was bullet-filled no-man's land

Twitch McGuffin, severely wounded, hides inside the stagecoach

Iguanodon Juan, taking cover behind a cow, shoots at Lady Sunset

Someone's running out the side door of the building...

The shots fly from doorway to doorway

The Greenhorn strikes again, and wins two games in a row!

In a pistol vs. rifle fight at range...the one with the rifle doesn't need cover!

Dead-eye Jenkins hightails it out of town on a hijacked stagecoach

Another text-light battle report tonight troops. Needless to say the two battles we fought were fun, and had a lot of cool moments go down (like the above stagecoach pic). Iguanodon Juan was severely wounded, he only had one hit point left and it was a nail biter to see if he would make it to the stagecoach in time or not. He did, and since Dead-eye Jenkins had the reins, they took off and headed out of town. No, it wasn't part of the scenario.

Iguanodon Juan at one point during the battle rolled snake-eyes, which meant he rolled damage against himself as the gun blew up in his hands! Rolling double ones, as you can see, is very bad for one's health, but rolling double sixes is bad for your opponent's health! In the same battle where Iguanodon Juan lost a few fingers, Dead-eye Jenkins rolled boxcars against the Texas Ranger, and further rolled mega on the damage shot felling her in one blow.

I can say with confidence that I'm sold on Gutshot! at this point. It's more intuitive than PKowboys, just as cinematic, easier to learn the rules, faster to jump in with both feet, and a thousand times more accessible. We're going to test the waters on some Warhammer Wild West pretty soon too, so I should have a good snapshot of a few of the more popular (as well as lesser known) rulesets out there. I may just buy me some cowboys too...


  1. Excellent looking game and no worries on a battle report of few words.

    Waiting to receive my copy of Gutshot! in the mail as we speak. I have heard many good things about it and hope to begin spinning the tales of Dustswallow,NM.

    Your first picture looks like the farmer has a good six head of rabbits to his name :)

  2. Bloody brilliant! I've always wanted to do a wild west game. The Great Rail Wars, the Deadlands minis game has been in the back of my mind for some time now (If I can find it on ebay).

    The town looks great and the pics give a great treatment to how easy the set up looks. Although I think a desert mat might look a bit more accurate than green.

    Gutshot huh? I'll be checking that out!

    (the desperado on the balcony... is he dipped?:)

  3. I have been looking to get into the Wild West. Played a demo game a couple years back and had a blast. A friend of mine has some stuff and we may have to check out Gutshot

  4. @Eli: Good call on ordering the rules, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Plus, they're working on a zombie supplement which looks fun. And yeah, they *do* look like rabbits, haha.

    @25mmW: The great thing about Gutshot! is that you can play a game with as little as one figure per side! Well, the game report here was with just two figs per side. I didn't paint Iguanodon Juan, but I'm pretty sure Chrispy did use the Army Painted dip on him.

    @Jmezz: For all the reasons I just stated, it's worth at least just checking out. It's a good one to keep on the backburner at the very least.

  5. Dude! Where did Chrispy get the ERTL cowtown? That is indeed the holy grail of Old West terrain. My buddy Mike had two complete sets, along with a few other buildings, so he can really do a nice honking town... Nice looking game...


  6. ...and the whole time i'm reading this, I'm thinking...

    "I'm going down to Cowtown
    The cow's a friend to me
    Lives beneath the ocean and that's where I will be
    Beneath the waves, the waves
    And that's where I will be
    I'm gonna see the cow beneath the sea"


    Looks cool, looks like fun, Mik. I particularly like the .45 initiative counters. Nice & thematic. :)