Monday, December 23, 2013

A fistful of western clichés

The premise of Z-Man Games' B-movie card game series is relatively simple: each player attempts to put together a movie using cards representing characters, props and locations. Players then attack each others' movies using creature cards (representing villains). Special Effect cards can be played at any time to affect the game in various ways. The game ends when a player plays one of the two Roll the Credits cards in the 120 card deck, at which time players total up the points on their cards in play to see who won.


For an added bit of fun, the bottom of each card is printed with a keyword. At the start of the game the top six cards are drawn, from which the players as a group create a movie title. Those cards are then shuffled back into the deck, and at the end of the game, they are worth five extra points each if they are in a player's hand or in their movie on the table.

Our movie title was Shane Colt: Renegade Sheriff in Colorado Justice!

Z-Man published 10 of these games between 2001 and 2009, with each one focusing on a particular movie genre. Bushwhakin' Varmints Out of Sergio's Butte was the eighth to be published, and as you might imagine, it covers westerns, particularly the low-budget American westerns of the 1950s and the Italian spaghetti westerns of the 1960s and '70s.

At its core this is a battle game, with a structure that of most collectible card games such as Magic: the Gathering, albeit in a simplified and more fast-paced form. Players establish defenses via characters, props and locations, attack other players' cards with creatures and villains, and interrupt play using special effect cards that provide unforeseen twists. The real fun of the game is in the humorous quotes on the cards, depicting real and imagined lines from movies that poke fun at the genre and its common tropes.

Rating: 3 (out of 5) The game play doesn't really fit the theme, but it's still a good fast paced game, and the humor makes up for a lot of its shortcomings.

Unfortunately, it appears that the only B-movie game that Z-Man still has in print is Berserker Halflings.


Date played: December 1, 2013

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