Colt Express is a Wild West adventure game that takes place on the Union Pacific express train as it travels through the New Mexico desert. Set in 1899, players will play as bandits robbing a train for gold and jewels while avoiding a marshal who is hot on their tails. The most prized possession is a briefcase full of money held in the front car of the train, which is guarded by the marshal himself. Since the players are plotting against each other to steal the most loot, this certainly isn’t a co-operative board game.
Of course, the goal of the Colt Express is to steal the most loot and become the most feared bandit of the West. The game has five rounds, each one of them with different rules. Each round has two phases:
1. Scheming: Each player will play 2-5 action cards in a pile. These can be cards like loot, shoot, or move. Each player will play cards based on what actions they want to occur,but won’t know the other plays actions.
2. Action: The action cards are carried out in the order that they were played. Even with the best laid plans, the players’ actions might be disoriented by the actions of the other players.
The best part about the game is that it all happens on a three-dimensional train. As the bandits, players can move from one car to another, move to the roof, punch the other bandits, shoot across train cars, or move the marshal. The train has as many cars as the number of players, and each car is seeded with gems, bags of loot or suitcases at the start of the game. Each character has a special power like drawing more cards or looting more money, which makes game play even more surprising.
Colt Express includes has these detailed pieces:
- 6 Train Cars
- 1 Locomotive
- 10 Terrain elements
- 17 Round Cards
- 1 Marshal pawn
- 13 Neutral Bullet cards
- 6 Character card
- 60 Action cards
- 36 Bullet cards
- 6 Bandit pawn
This game seems hard to play at first, since each player plays an action card one at a time. If you play an action card out of order, the action phase can be jarred. After the first round, however, players have a better sense of understanding the game. Though each round is different, the game provides an easy to follow repetitiveness. This does lend itself to becoming boring after playing too many rounds, but it’s always a fun game to come back to with new people.
Colt Express is fun because of the level of strategy needed to play. Players need to see the train and where other characters are positioned so that they can pick their action cards based on thelocation and proximity of other players. Action cards need to be planned 3-4 cards in advance for anything to be accomplished in the action phase. Knowing the other plays can be an advantage too, because contemplating other players’ actions can give you a leg up to choose your own action cards accordingly.
This game is surprisingly fun for how simple it is. The different stages and events mean that the game is always different. The rules of the game are clear and precise, meaning there is more time for game play instead of arguing about rules. Also, as a bonus the art in Colt Express is really beautiful and you get to build your own model train.