Gunslingers & Gamblers

By on 23 February 2008

This is a copy of a review I wrote for RPGNow.com. I’ve copied it here because, well, I like to share 😉

Over the last year, or so, I’ve picked up almost every, in-print, Wild West/Cowboy roleplaying game. Each one had something I was looking for, but not the whole package. Until I bought Gunslingers and Gamblers that is. This is the first one that has everything I’m looking for. So? What is it I was looking for?

* An interesting, but ultimately simple, rules system.
* Captures the feel of the Wild West.
* Excellent background information.

Gunslingers and Gamblers gets big ticks for each aspect.

* The use of poker dice is a masterstroke. Yes, if you look deeply enough there’s a feel of Yahtzee to the main game mechanic, but tying it in with poker dice means that it feels just right. Basically, the idea is that you try to get the best hand you can with 5 poker dice. Depending on the level of your ability (called a trait here), you might get the chance to re-roll some, or all, of the dice (much like discarding and gaining new cards in a real poker game).

* The artwork used throughout the PDF is appropriate without being over-used, while each chapter header includes a real-world quote from the time. Additionally, throughout the rules, the feel of the Wild West oozes out.

* Not only is there a wide listing of the different stereotypical people in the West, but a large portion of the download is devoted to providing excellent background information for both the novice and experienced Western GM.

This is, without a doubt, the best Western/Cowboy roleplaying game I’ve purchased (and, as I’ve already said, I’ve got nearly all of the ones currently in print!) I would whole-heartedly, and unreservedly, recommend it to anyone looking to run their own game or campaign.

LIKED: The rules. Some people might be put off by the Yahtzee comparison I’ve made above, but don’t be. Combining it with poker dice means that it really works in this game and, in fact, actually adds to the general flavour.

The, premade, Harris County. Perfect for a GM that is either new to Western/Cowboy roleplaying games, or the GM who’s a little stuck for time and needs a county in a hurry.

DISLIKED: Honestly? Nothing.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied

RATING: 5 of 5 Stars!

About Dave McAlister

Dave has been roleplaying for over 30 years, having played and/or run most mainstream systems with the espionage genre being an early favourite. So much so that, in 1999, he started Modus Operandi. That same year he joined the Sarbreenar "Living" campaign team as their plotline controller before moving across to the Living Spycraft campaign team (as UK Regional Branch Director) in 2003. 2003 also saw the birth of UK Role Players as well as Dave's first freelance writing appointment (co-writing World Militaries and consulting on both US Militaries and Battlegrounds, all for Spycraft). Since then, Dave has concentrated on supporting the UK gaming scene. He has organised and run several small, one-day, events and was the RPG Area Manager for Gen Con UK in 2004. His current favourite systems are Dungeons & Dragons (specifically 5th Edition), Savage Worlds and Cinematic Unisystem. He has a (currently neglected) blog at dave.mcalister.org.uk and runs a D&D 5e SRD website at DnD5e.info.

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