Top 10 Western Games

Top 10 Western Games

hey everybody today righto run serve his
top ten Western games which is a request that came from Ed gas doll yet I hope
you enjoy this run-through he’s one of my Kickstarter backers at
the director level he didn’t want to see one game covered by me you wanna hear me
talk about ten games that’s what I’m going to do American West which is a
cool cool topic and I’m very very pleased that there I was able to very
easily find ten games the Djinn I really enjoyed because you might think that oh
if it’s an American West it’s just going to be a bunch of rootin tootin shootout
to the OK Corral or something like that and while it’s true there is a little
bit of gunplay in a few of these games for the most part there are a lot of
games on the market that aren’t about shooting and killing and destroying but
instead of about building something because of course it’s kind of what the
American mythos is is you know manifest destiny and go west young man and build
something and that’s what we’re doing in almost all of these games so let’s start
with number 10 where we definitely build a lot of stuff area 1851 and
unfortunately do not have a final retail copy of this game although man I would
love to get one I only did a run-through of the prototype I had which is why it’s
coming in at number 10 if I ever get a chance to play the final retail version
I wouldn’t be surprised if it bumps up a couple of notches but you know I’m
pretty confident would but as it is we’ll just leave it here at the number
10 spot and this is a really really cool game of Old West inventions we are all
every player is an inventor trying to score points by making the coolest
inventions in this Old West town and what’s interesting is the 1851 the 51
area 51 comes from the fact that aliens have landed and have integrated
peacefully with society how is that for a nice yellow flipping the script but
anyway so we are inventing things and the thing is our inventions can be a
kind of mishmash combination of pioneer technology alien technology and Native
American technology and the stuff you end up creating can be very very funny
there’s also a kind of a cool a kind of work replacement esque
element because each player has two alien assistance that they can deploy to
different buildings in town to give you special actions and whatnot it’s a
really cool game Jen I definitely enjoyed it and like I said I would love
to get my hands on the final version some
down the road but uh you know that’s number 10 at this point anyway area 1851
now let’s move on to the game is actually own number 9 would be dice town
and this is a very charming I’m going to call it a party game I don’t know that
everybody would but I have actually had really great experiences bringing this
game to party I’ve had a great time playing this with Jen’s parents who are
not board game aficionados and you know first-time gamers young children Oreo
and full-on adults it really works well the core of the game is every round
you’re kind of it’s kind of a Yahtzee is kind of thing but the dice were rolling
are poker dice what are they they’ve got a 9/10 king or not a 9 of 10 ace Jack
King and Queen on them and we’re trying to roll every round to come up with the
best poker hand because depending on how well you do in different categories that
gives you access to different buildings in town that will let you visit the
saloon or go to the general store or go mining for gold or become the new
sheriff or whatever it might be it’s fast it’s charming and the thing is
every round in terms of these cool little plastic cups so you shake up your
dice and slam them onto the table so it’s like this really cool kinetic um
tactile element to the game but then everybody Peaks under their cup and just
picks one guy that they rolled while paying attention what everybody else has
rolled on previous rounds because there’s this kind of there’s this really
wonderful tension of July go for 9th I can see you’ve already got a couple of
nines oh my gosh I just rolled three nines because you only get to set one
aside but if you spend your very limited cash you can set multiples aside there’s
a surprising amount going on and the expansion for this really um ups the
game’s ante unfortunately I would say it doesn’t go higher for me because this is
pups Oh No all right all right the dogs are going crazy at the window something
anyway um it doesn’t work that great as a two-player game it’s okay Jen I
haven’t played it and enjoys a two-player game but really for this game
to beat its best you want to have a whole bunch of people around the table
everybody you know shaking shaking and slamming and and picking dice and you
know I mean particularly cuz whoever is the sheriff gets to break ties and other
players get to bribe the sheriff too ties in their favor is it’s it’s it’s a
black eye and there’s a new camp expansion coming up for it this year as
well Daisy what is it oh yes I’m just driving her nuts many way that’s my
number 9 dice town then on to number 8 another Old West town hang town which is
actually a real western town in California Gold Rush town no famous for
all the hangings that went on there in this game everybody is competing to
develop the best version of hang town we all have a deck of cards that represent
real historical buildings and businesses from the original hang town and on top
of that there is a market of cards that we can all be competing to grab and
almost kind of a race for the galaxy kind of vibe this game has set in the
American West we are trying to build the best tableau of cards to give us the
most victory points out it’s a race to be the first to trigger the into the
game by building 12 buildings but on the central element that drives it which is
very very cool is every round everybody’s going to pick one pick an
action to do of five potential actions you know build buildings recruit more
Cowboys and know about various and sundry things and the thing is what
everybody chooses in secret and reveals at the same time and what you want to do
if possible is figure out what everybody else is going to do and not do that if
you can be the only person in a given round who initiates a given action you
get the boom version of that action it gets a really big payout on the flip
side if you do the same thing everybody else did everybody who went to that
action is going to get the bust version so a big part of the game is getting
into the heads of your opponents and trying to zag while everybody else is
digging it’s really really sharp unfortunately like dice town again this
works better with more than two which is why doesn’t rank higher I mean I like it
a lot I’ve actually played this at the full 6 player count and it’s amazing how
fast it goes okay you’re considering it’s a fairly deep game with a lot of
really interesting decisions the card you’re collecting to build up your hang
town can combo in really really cool ways you’ll mix with a kind of a worker
placement element to is you place your cowboys on to the buildings that you
have previously built so that you can you know
the benefits of those it’s a sharp sharp gain hasn’t really found a very big
audience which is a shame because I really do think I mean again if you like
race for the galaxy and you like the Old West it’s definitely something you might
want to check out hang town which is my number eight now moving on to number
seven Dark Horse which is a delightful dice
worker placement game in fact me if you like worker placement you like the
American West you got to check this game out every round
everybody has their dice they roll it and you’re depending on what they roll
there are certain restrictions about how you can place dice but you place them to
do actions all with the goal of settling a big settling a state basically if you
were to look at the game you might actually get kind of a Settlers of Catan
vibe because it definitely feels that way you’re playing out in this big
colorful hex board and building roads to connect different settlements on those
settlements grow up to big cities but you know so it’s got that territory
acquisition and network building element crossed with a really really sharp dice
worker placement game along the lines of Kingsburg or alien frontiers or
something like that and it works really nicely tons of cool special powers lots
of cards that you know give you all give you all kinds of special checks receive
incredibly thematic everything you think about when you think of you know you
know the standard mythic American West with the different kinds of adventures
you can get all that stuff happens here and the game has got an expansion as
well this really bumps it up a notch and you know introduces there’s just a ton
of stuff I’ve actually done a few run throughs for this because I’ve covered
it and its expansions it’s really really sharp we liked it quite a bit not
surprising since it’s on this list at number ten nine eight seven dark horse
then on to number six I think some people might be surprised this isn’t
higher but I mean there’s just a surprising amount of really good um
western style games out there I was surprised but anyway at number six we
got Carson City which is actually this is another worker place again if you
love worker placement games and you love the American West you got to check this
out players are like hang town before this is actually a real
world um you know historical frontier town that was built up and unlike hang
town where everybody’s building their own version in the town and this one
everybody’s contributing to the same city and trying to piggyback off what
everybody else has done um you know as the town gets bigger you really want to
leverage that by being the first to build a saloon so you can get a lot of
income off of all the other buildings that are there as roads stretch out you
can build further and further away from town now you can build mines up at the
by the mountains you can build ranches out on the Prairie
and the interesting thing about this game I think will catch a lot of
people’s eye is yes it’s a work of placing your workers or Cowboys and you
can place them on spaces to either grab lands you’ll be able to build later or
grab buildings to be able to build buildings on that land that you
previously claimed but um you can also place your workers on other player stuff
if somebody’s got the saloon in town and is making a ton of money every round and
is running away with it you might want to consider sending some of your workers
over to basically get kitted out with a bunch of guns and then send another
worker to your opponent’s saloon so that you can rob the saloon or rob the bank
um and but then that player they might actually deploy some of their Cowboys to
defend their territory I’m heck even if you’re just trying to be worker
placement to grab a building you want to build somebody else could try to grab it
as well and whenever two opposing Cowboys on the same space you’re going
to have a shootout you’re going to have an Old West duel and you can do it
either by rolling dice if you like the random drama of that or there’s kind of
a procedural mo where everybody has a certain number of chips they can deploy
and secret and reveal the same time it’s a really really sharp game it’s
interesting Jen and I we never play it aggressively even though that’s
obviously a big part of the game is watching what your opponent’s doing and
if they’re doing particularly well well um just move in on their territory if
that’s how you want to focus but the game is deep and rich enough but you
don’t need to do that if you don’t want to a lot of times if a game has you know
kind of a cutthroat element woven in you kind of have to do that or you’ll end up
playing sub-optimally we have found that’s not the case Carson City has so
much variety so many paths to victory you can still feel like you’re playing
to full effect even without attacking your
opponents in Jedi we absolutely adored it’s a phenomenal game number six Carson
City okay now on to number five I would say this is evolve them this is probably
the most abstract game Gold west which is a game where we are building up
mining settlements and trying to pull the most valuable resources we can out
of these mines that we’re generating over the course of the game and you know
using the resources we get from that to build our settlements upgrade or order
to send our resources back east to score victory points it’s a it’s a handsome
production and the game is equally divided amongst this you know hex base
spreading out on the board trying to build either multiple small settlements
or one really big settlement up all over the place to grab the right bits of land
so that you can harvest what you need to continue building your engine but the
most interesting thing about this is when you actually do mind when you pull
stuff out of the earth you have a choice you can I guess thematically it’s you
can mind really deep and pull a lot of stuff out of the mind your your heart
you’re leveraging you’re harvesting from but that means you won’t get access to
those goods for several rounds because it takes you a long time to get them but
when you when that payout comes I mean it’ll keep you going for quite a while
on the flip side you can just go for really quick fast mining operations
it’ll just pull stuff pretty much right off the surface but you won’t get very
much and that’s really at the heart of the decision making this game fast
immediate returns or long-term planning that won’t pay out for a while but when
it does it’ll really put you over the top it’s a really sharp game Jen I enjoy
a lot number five Gold West then on to number four Lewis and Clark the
expedition this is a race game they’ve kind of reimagines American history to
suggest that the American government actually didn’t just contract Lewis and
Clark to go out you know chart the the continent and you’ll make it all the
less code you know that the famous Lewis and Clark expedition was actually split
among several different expeditions and everybody is racing to be the first to
get to the west coast the this game at its heart is a card game where over the
course game you were recruiting more and more real historical people
from the time period the actual explorers and you know members of Lewis
and Clark’s expedition lots of other people besides to build up a hand that
gives you access to lots of different special powers and and your in your
playing those cards to travel by River to travel across mountains to collect
resources you need to prepare for these journeys that you make you also air
players have access to little is a worker placement to little Native
American tokens that can either be deployed onto your cards that you play
to pump up their actions or can be deployed to the board central to
basically represent you cooperating with the Native American peoples and and you
know finding advantages that way it’s a sharp game it’s a beautiful game it is
definitely the most gorgeous game of everyone I’m talking about here bright
and vibrant and colorful the card hand management is absolutely phenomenal kind
of reminds me of Concordia in a lot of ways and it’s just as very very sharp
game with the central element up do you spend a lot of time building up you know
your resources for occasional really big gigantic moves or are you going fast
fast and furious for lots of short fast baby step moves there’s a lot of
strategy a lot of replayability because there’s such a huge amount of cards
actually the last few pages of the manual are devoted to little biographies
of all of the historical personages who are in this game and the beautiful thing
is the powers they got are caught in game the game effects they do are based
on who they really were and what they really did it’s a sharp sharp game
number for Lewis and Clark the expedition and now number three I once
again have to pull back out the laptop which has of course gone to sleep wake
up laptop and of course I’ve got oh come on are you going to wake up it just
refuses of course it does uh-uh okay well your laptops do that
they just go to sleep and will not wake back up until you reboot them but anyway
it was worth the wait because my number three homesteaders is phenomenal and now
um full disclosure I do not have a copy of the game I did have it I’ve done a
run for it actually I’ve done a run-through for every single game I’m
talking about today homesteaders Skype is still waking up from the reboot is a
phenomenal game it’s my number three gen I absolutely adored this game which is
about building up your homestead every round is in Oxon where you are trying to
grab parcels of land to be able to build buildings on to give you access to a
huge raft of really cool special powers the game is a phenomenal production has
really really cool components represent all the different resources you are
collecting and harvesting I mean particularly cooler the little cow
meeples but um one things I love most about it is it’s an auction game but it
as a two-player auction game they introduced a third dummy player system
which is absolutely phenomenal all auction games should copy this system it
works so well um and the amount of variety you get from all the different
types of buildings you can build all the combinations all the special powers is
absolutely phenomenal I’ll tell you why we didn’t keep it
though there’s one thing that bugged me about the design of the game which won’t
bother a lot of people that is really kind of a sore spot for me and gin
there’s no set of variability at all every time you play the you have access
to the exact same buildings and well that’s fine for a higher player account
Jen I find as when we only play games with each other and we kind of get to
know what each other is capable of and what we’re always shooting for games can
get a little bit samey without that extra a little bit of startup
variability so that’s why we didn’t keep home stairs even though I think it’s
phenomenal it’s the third best Western game in my opinion in spite of that what
I’m so excited about is this year my understanding is they are going to be
releasing an expansion that finally introduces that variability so I got to
get another copy of this game and now it will stay on my shelf you know earning
that number three spot it’s phenomenal I cannot recommend it highly enough my
number three homesteaders now on to number two
Great Western trail I’m sure a lot of people thinking wait a minute why isn’t
this number one for a lot of people this is the best game of last year and um is
my number eleven remember my number twelve if I recall correctly it’s a
great great game that is a fairly I think it might be the heaviest of all
these games I mean maybe Carson City gives it a run for and maybe Hangtown
give it a run for its money but it’s certainly in the top three for overall
game weight and depth and complexity it is a game about driving cattle from
Texas to Kansas City and the board itself is basically a gigantic rondelle
branching rondelle where we you know do our cattle drive the cattle itself is a
deck of cards and there is a deck building element to this game that over
the course the game because you will make many many drives you’ll drive
cattle several times um and you want to try to fill your deck up with the right
type of cattle based on what kind of overall strategy you’re going for and
you’ll clean your deck out or you might ignore that altogether because there are
so many options for Wow to move forward in this game how to you
know pursue points that where you actually ship your cattle off to once
you get them to Kansas City is a big consideration also on the cattle trail
itself you can build buildings that become like waypoints for you as you
drive cattle up north um and at the same time they could also potentially become
opportunities for you to you know collect money from other players who
have to stop at your spot as they zip by it’s incredibly sharp incredibly rich we
really like so I mean I guess I’m for a lot of people this was the absolute
number one game of 2016 and with good reason
and it’s my number two Great Western trail but one game beat it uh homme and
what would that be well it’s basically Little House on the Prairie the board
game also known as welcome to Walnut Grove this is a phenomenal game from
designer to co2 kaalia who’s more famous for eclipsed stenciling this actually
came out the same year as Eclipse and well I mean oh that game went on to have
a huge influence on the industry at CoA it’s a Forex pace offer a slice of the
Euro I played it I liked it I mean it’s neat but man this game is so much better
it’s so much more in gems in my wheelhouse there’s two halves to this
game has a Carcassonne tile laying element
where everybody is building up their own homestead again by pulling tiles from a
bag and adding them to expand their their fields that let the give them
actually different resources like fishing and raising livestock and you
know raising crops and whatnot so half the game is drawing from a bag and
building up and tile laying and harvesting from this this homestead
you’re building by employing ranch hands who of course have to be fed and taken
care of and paid and all that the other half of the game is it’s another
rondelle like Great Western trail is a the entire trails around l.v nearby town
of Walnut Grove is a rondelle every round you will go to town and rondelle
style move a certain number of spaces to go to another action based on what you
what you can do in one turn is based on what you did in previous turns and you
go to town to collect resources hire more folks get special powers all kinds
of stuff and at the end of every round the most important thing is winter comes
and it can be this can be a very demanding game you know it really puts
the screws to you every winter comes and you’ve got to take care of everybody who
you’ve hired take care of yourself you know hit certain milestones and
objectives and if you don’t I mean the game will punish you but you know Jen I
love that you know the sweet sweet agony of all the interesting decisions it’s
it’s very satisfying to see your homestead build up it’s bright and
colorful and charming collect all those resources and then deal with the
thumbscrews as winter approaches and you got to keep everybody warm it’s just a
wonderful wonderful game welcome to all New Groove mine grow my number one
Western and that’s it folks thanks for watching on and thanks again to edy for
suggesting the topic had a great time these are all great games done run
throughs for every single loan so you could go learn more and that’s it
thanks for watching and any questions comments concerns always please let me
know otherwise have a very very nice day talk to later y’all so long goodbye

34 comments / Add your comment below

  1. If Gunslinger by Avalon Hill is not on this list I will eat my hat. I bet it won't be but I bet Carson City is defo on this list.

  2. Not exactly a western, but have you tried the game Oregon, Richard? Its a charming light lil game I'm glad I can play at

  3. Playing 1v1 be like: "This game aint big enough for the two of us", too bad no tiny epic western 🙁

  4. My top 3 are Revolver 2, Walnut Grove and Oregon. Quite a few on your list I've been pining after for a while, but they'll keep…

  5. Area 1851 actually finally delivered on its second kickstarter attempt and the usual Game Salute delays.

    Another great Western game I have that I expected to be too combaty for you to include is Spurs, the "Western Sandbox". But one that I was surprised wasn't was the two-player Mancala-style Longhorn. Too light?

  6. Good News Rahdo : D
    The new expansion for HOMESTEADERS will have Variable set up along with a fifth player.

  7. Yup I was wondering why Great Western Trail wasn't number one, thought that was going to be a given as you went through your list. Never heard of Walnut Grove, but you had me at "Little House on the Prairie" the board game! Thanks for another interesting video. Love learning about great games I've never heard of.

  8. I've played four of these, and those plus Bang are probably the only five 'American West' games I've played. Gold West and Lewis & Clark are two of my favorite games ever. Solid picks.

    Carson City really didn't do anything for me, and I thought GWT was painfully mediocre. I really don't get the love for that game. It's possible my expectations were too high since Mombasa is brilliant and safely in my top 10, but GWT just isn't even close. I feel like a crazy person whenever people start singing its praises.

  9. Thank you for that top ten! Wild West is one of my favorite genres. If any of you also like Wild West in tabletop rpgs, there is currently one on Kickstarter:

  10. I'm bummed because I want to try/play Great Western Trail, but I have no idea who would actually play it with me(mostly due to its theme -"CATTLE-RANCHERS!" Blasphemy!"), but otherwise great list,

  11. I don't get why people say Gold West is abstract. The theme links are all over the game to me. The only part I have trouble linking directly is what you talked about. It's almost like the player is developing a little bit of backstory with how hard their people are working the mines. I've also thought about it with the mancala as sort of processing the earth and different materials filtering out at different times.

    Have you played Lost Valley? I haven't yet, but I've heard good things.

  12. I'm honored to see Hangtown up there!

    I already own 9 out of the 10 games listed (I don't have Area 1851). All great games.
    Gold West, GWT, L&C, and Walnut Grove are 9s and 10s on my BGG ratings.

    I'd extend the list to include:
    Longhorn (great two-player game)
    Discoveries (Lewis and Clark dice game spinoff)
    El Paso

    Lighter and sillier, but still fun:
    Flick 'Em Up
    Boomtown Bandits
    Colt Express
    Bang the Dice Game

    I have yet to try Saloon Tycoon, Western Town, Deadwood, Spurs, though I own them.

  13. This was a great list for us. hubby loves the western theme, but we have very few. We do have Carson City, and it is a fav of this theme. Now we have some others to check out. TY Might have to go down to the local game store library to try some of these out.

  14. How about Deadwood Studios – in it's new version? 🙂
    I know it's not for two players but it's really fun.

  15. Revolver is an interesting asymmetrical card game thick with flavor. Coolstuff was selling all the expansions deep discount.

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