Stampede has come and gone for another year but that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep the yahooing going for the rest of the summer. There are some fantastic western and cowboy themed games that don’t require you to limit your love of all things wild west to one week a year.
Pioneer Days is a newer release that we played on our livestream last month. In this game you collect goods in your wagons, mine for gold nuggets, raise cattle, recruit townsfolk and work to gain the favours of the towns you travel through to collect points. Played over 4 weeks, at the beginning of each week, you roll a set of dice that you will take turns drafting to trigger various actions over 5 days (turns). At the end of the day, the leftover die goes on the matching coloured disaster track. When a disaster triggers you have to be prepared with the proper goods or you risk losing your cattle, townsfolk or damaging your wagon.
The town you are traveling to that week will reward favours (points) for specific goods or combinations of goods, giving a nice variety of goals throughout the game. You play with a character that grants you a unique ability that if used properly can give you edge. The townsfolk have a wide range of abilities as well, giving you almost endless possibilities for creating interesting combinations. This 2-4 player game plays within an hour.
BANG! is probably the most popular western themed game in the last decade – hard to believe it is already over 15 years old! In this hidden role game, each player is assigned a role, each with its own win condition. The Sheriff and The Deputies win if all the Outlaws and The Renegade are killed. The Outlaws win if the Sheriff is killed. Finally, the Renegade wins if they are the last player standing. Players are also given character cards that give them special abilities in the game. During the game, players take turns playing cards that allow them to change their weapon, play a bang card to shoot other players, or do other actions like heal. Can you accomplish your goal without revealing it to the others?
This is such a fun game to play with a group of friends. It has rules for playing with 3-4 players but really shines with 5-7 players. A fun game to take out when you have friends or family over and small enough that you can easily take it with you when going to a BBQ or gathering. For a quicker version of the game, try Bang: The Dice Game. Same idea but instead of playing cards you roll a set of dice. It has become such a popular game that there are now many expansions as well as a Walking Dead themed version. Bang has a play time of 20-40 minutes and Bang: The Dice Game is about 15-20 minutes.
Great Western Trail is a very highly rated game from 2016 and remains in the Board Game Geek Top 10. A heavier game, this 2-4 player game takes over an hour and can last up to 2 and a half hours. Players spend the game repeatedly herding their cattle from Texas to Kansas City to be shipped off by train for money and points. Each time their cowboy travels along the trail, they will deal with hazards, stop at buildings, and hire employees.
As they ship off their cattle they will unlock additional actions on their player board allowing them more control and options each time they make the journey. Their cattle are represented by cards and at the start of the game they have a weak deck. Throughout the game they will buy stronger cattle to power-up their deck allowing them to ship off increasingly valuable cattle. Cowboys will travel along the trail on the board about 5-7 times, each time changing the trail, attempting to increase their opportunities and hinder their opponents.
Tiny Epic Western is a clever little game that feels bigger than it’s box. It includes a fun 3 card poker component by placing cards between the town’s locations which players will combine with their own card to determine the highest hand and ultimately control of that location. Playing in the old west, players take on the role of bosses and take turns placing their posse members on locations in the town to gain immediate rewards, alter their card’s value and gain rewards for locations they control. If players choose to place their posse members in locations already occupied by other players’ posse members, a duel breaks out. Players roll bullet shaped dice, spending their hard earned influence in Law, Money and Force to buy re-rolls until a player is declared victorious.
Over the rounds of the game, players will have the chance to buy buildings, increase their abilities and invest in the three industries. Player with the highest score once all industries have been developed wins the game. This game 2- 4 player game is best played with 4 players, but includes rules for a solo game. With a 30-45 minute play time, you can pull this out almost anytime for a quick round. And with its tiny box size, you can take it with you anywhere.
If you are a fan of the Munchkin series, we are happy to let you know that there is a wild west themed version called The Good, The Bad, and The Munchkin.
We even have a Unlock game with a western theme: Tombstone Express. This escape room experience in a box has you solving an adventure while riding a train. Can you solve the puzzles before you reach the end of the line?
And in case that isn’t enough for the wild west fan in you, we have several more games that will scratch that itch:
Come down to Sentry Box to pick up one, two, or more of these Wild West games and keep the frontier spirit alive year round.