Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Shootout at Sundown Ridge
It has been a while since we played Gutshot around these parts, but it seems Cowboy gamin' is on the upswing right now. There's a locally organized gaming con coming up next month and I've volunteered to run Gutshot there, so to get some practice for that we broke out the terrain and since I don't have any painted cowboys at the moment so I opted for some Lego figs (of course). There will be a Lego Thursday at one point detailing the figs themselves.
An unseen native scout observes the townsfolk below
In Gutshot you can pretty much play with just one character per player, which is one of the main draws to running it as a con game, you can play up to ten people with no problems. Combat isn't so deadly where you're going to die off too quickly, and there's plenty of detail on your character sheet to keep you focused and with your head in the game.
Surreal normally wouldn't be the proper term normally, but in a gaming sense, yeah it was a bit surreal. The Legos were a sharp contrast to the tabletop terrain and made for a neat overall setting. It was super-populated, with tons of NPCs and lots of random horse, even some livestock. We treated the bystanders as "portable cover", which was helped along by Gutshot's rule of near misses.
If you miss your intended target, and there's someone within an inch of said target, well, collateral damage occurs. I've been watching a lot of western movies (mostly old but some new) lately and this almost rarely happens so it's interesting to see in Gutshot.
The player characters are mounted on larger, display type bases but the bystanders were equipped differently. Originally I had envisioned a bunch of random actions of the civilians and what-not running around. It was quickly determined that this would only bog the game down quite a bit, so the random NPC movement got canned.
NPCs on yellow bases are, well, yellow. Each turn when their activation would've come up they would have randomly moved for cover, or a marshal, or the like. Those on black bases were just regular folk, they'd just move regular I guess. Ahem, as you can see I didn't fully flesh out the random NPC movement thingie. Last are those on red bases (red for danger!) and their activations would center around making attacks, usually ranged, on those PCs that are closest to them. Even writing all of this sounds complicated!
Never bring a knife to a shovel fight!
Here the "Thug" (high ground with the poncho and the knife) dukes it out with the "Sodbuster" character, who was given the shovel as an afterthought. I really like melee in Gutshot, the shooting and what-not are solid but nothing spectacular, but it's the fisticuffs that stand out for me. Instead of just making an attack you choose what kind of attack you want to do, whether it's a jab punch, a long punch, a backhand, what-have-you.
Each type of attack comes with its own target number, and each attack deals specific damage. So a backhand might be easy to perform, so it has a low target number. The catch is it's just a backhand, so it is going to do little damage. A kick on the other hand is going to do a lot of damage to your target, but it's going to be the hardest type of attack to pull off.
"Marshal! You've got to protect me, not use me for cover!"
Homesteaders...can't live with them, can't live without 'em
The dual-wielding Texas Ranger stalks his target across the pen...
...and brings the Gambler down
It was a fun game for sure, and although the rules are easy to pick up on the fly we still had to some learning on the fly as well. If you're looking for a good skirmish game set in the wild west, I'd strongly suggest Gutshot. It's good for pick up games, spontaneous games, and the like. Not to mention the book itself is quite an enjoyable read with lots of side text and other fun nuggets about six-gun life west of the mighty Mississippi.