Monday, August 1, 2011

Fistful of Lead, a playtest

Well, I ran my first game of Fistful of lead. The scenario was pretty simple: two gangs shooting it out. Clint and the Airedale Gang going up against Duke and the Scruffy Bunch. It was not intended as an equal fight. Clint's boys numbered five against the Scruffy four, and they also had an advantage in long arms: a shotgun and a rifle against a shotgun. To cap it off, on the first turn, they drew really well with their movement cards, enabling them to take up defensive positions. Clint himself stayed in a building as insurance. Turned out to the be most decisive move of the battle.

one of Clint's gangs went up to the rooftops, but he was rapidly gunned down when he exposed himself to the fire of pretty much all of the Scruffy Bunch. First shot of the game resulted in a kill. Dang, I said to myself. These rules are lethal.

I did not use my house rule for overwatch. I wanted to test the system as written. That pretty much meant that once the Airedales had moved, the Scruffy bunch could move into the street and start blasting away. Some lucky shots had the Airedales diving for cover. Could they pull off an upset?

Not bloody likely. Clint and his buddy with the rifle both had full cover for most of the game as a result of their initial moves. That enabled them to blaze away without fear of reprisal. Insurance pays, apparently, and it would have been even more deadly with overwatch rules in place, as the the Airedales who ran into the street would have been sitting ducks. Anyhow, the Scruffy Bunch's advantage did not last long, as the Airedales who hit the dirt all popped up on the same turn and, with some lucky shots, took out two Scruffy boys. Another was wounded, and from that point on, the weight of numbers took their toll. Duke himself took four wounds before being dropped, and a valiant last shot wined one of his enemies. His story ended, though, face down in a dusty Western town.
From De nerdibus

From De nerdibus

This set of rules was as fun as I thought they would be. I played out this scenario in under 40 minutes from start to finish. The playing chard movement mechanism presented some interesting choices. There are enough special cards that the order in which one activates units makes a difference. Do you move units for maximum combat advantage, or do you use that Queen to remove a wounded condition on one of your fallen gunslingers? The simplicity of the rules might deter some. I have seen Gutshot, and I think it is an excellent simulation, but if what you're looking for is some fast furious action, FoL is a blast. Simple and elegant mean that rules lawyers might actually have to shut up and enjoy themselves.