Author: unknown

Publisher: Warfrog 2000

Awards: none



Way Out West is - like you might have guessed by its title - a game about life in the Wild West. In the game the players try to score points by owning essential buildings (Hotels, Jails etc.) and Trains and Stagecoaches and also cattle in major towns. The most important part of each player´s equipment however are his Cowboys, by which a player can protect his own goods but which he also can use to try to steal some goods owned by another player: Robbing his Bank, stealing his cattle or killing his Farmer.

Basically, each player can spend two action points each turn, and these he can use in a number of ways: he can place new Cowboys or move old ones, he can build new Hotels, Jails or Banks, he can place or move Cattle, he place a Farmer or he can initiate a Gunfight. However, there is a limit on how often each action may be performed each turn, so that actually not all players will have the possibility to pursue their most preferred actions. But since the starting player changes every round, all players will have an equal chance to be the first one who chose their desired actions. The most essential action is however the initiation of a gunfight. These usually will start when two players have several Cowboys in one town, and the person starting such a fight usually aims at stealing some property of the other player. Basically, each Cowboy of each player gets a shot, and every dice-roll of 5 or higher means a kill. The shooting is continued until one side loses all its Cowboys or withdraws from the fight. If the attacker is victorious, he will get what he desired.

However, a special role in this game is assigned to the different kinds of buildings which a player may erect. Not only do some buildings count for additional firepower in case of a gunfight (for example the jail), but they also have a major impact on each player´s income. Whether these buildings will create income essentially depends on the availability of Cattle in each town. For each unit of Cattle in a town the owner will receive money during the income phase, but further income is created through buildings. So a store will provide additional income for its owner for Cattle owned by other players, while a Train will actually double the income created by each unit of Cattle.

When a fixed amount of turns is over, the winner will be found by making a final calculation. Here the player owning most money will not necessarily turn out to be the winner, although he will be awarded quite a few victory points for having hoarded the biggest fortune. However, further points are awarded for buildings and cattle and also for Wanted-Markers (which can be earned by winning gunfights). In the end, the player with most Victory points wins the game.

To my mind Way Out West offers some quite clever playing mechanisms. It is true that it is a relatively easy and not very complex game, and the author was definately correct in comparing its complexity to the complexity of Settlers of Catan. However, due to the options open to the players and the scoring mechanisms involved, the game actually succeeds in creating a quite dense and authentic atmosphere. Many elements known from classical Wild West Films are included in the game, and this largely adds to its attractiveness.

The game contains ENGLISH and GERMAN rules !

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany