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"Dead Man's Hand review" Topic

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Showdown at Prairie Butte

Almost two dozen desperate gunslingers were arrayed on the outskirts of town, armed with sixguns, rifles, scatterguns and a bloodthirsty desire to kill!

2,658 hits since 15 Aug 2013
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Dexter Ward16 Aug 2013 1:40 a.m. PST

We played this game for the second time last night. Last time was really just a 'getting to know the system' game.
This time we played a full set of three scenes in order; we used the 'Judge Barker must die' plot from the website.
For those not familiar with the game, it uses a deck of (small) playing cards, which determine move order, and can also be held in hand, as each card has a special effect. The number cards 2..10 are common to everyone. The honours (A,J,Q,K) are unique for each gang, and there's also a red and black joker.
Good guys can be Lawmen (hearts) or Cowboys (Diamonds). Bad guys can be Outlaws (spades) or Desperadoes (clubs).
As well as the special court cards, each gang type also has special abilities Lawmen get to remove under fire markers, Outlaws can swap cards in hand with those on the table, and so on.

The game comes with the cards; it's also a good idea to get the markers as they look nice and speed the game up too.
This is definitely a 'Hollywood' version of the Old West hence the description of the scenarios as 'scenes'.
The scenes come in sets of three which link together and all use the same table layout (set); the opening scene is generally a quick game, the second one a bit longer, and the final scene a big free for all.

It's a nice system, and the linking gives a good narrative. We played three scenes in two hours, which gives you an idea of how fast the game is.
It's a lot of fun; the cards give lots of decision points, and the way actions have to be predeclared makes you think. We were initially worried that shotguns might be super-weapons, but their very short range and low rate of fire makes them not that great.

So if you are looking for a cinematic Old West, I recommend this highly. If you want super realism, another set might be better.

richarDISNEY16 Aug 2013 6:07 a.m. PST

Nice, fast review.
You sold me.
I'm putting this on my "to buy' list…

Personal logo ajbartman Supporting Member of TMP16 Aug 2013 8:57 a.m. PST

Same here. Will have to pick this one up.

Tabletopndice24 Sep 2017 9:44 a.m. PST

Played for the 1st time yesterday..enjoyed it..Will be playing again.

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