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Out of the Box Impressions

by Pat Dolan

After opening, reading & cataloging my first four boxes of Range Wars, I thought I'd share my initial thoughts with everyone.

Each box has four fixed flats. Two of these flats are Dudes, two are full of counters, the Town Well & your outfit's Home. The bullet counters are slightly smaller than spell disks from DiskWars, and the Jokers are slightly larger. The "playing cards" are rectangular and about the same rough size as spell disks from DiskWars. You get three Jokers, 7 brass bullets & 4 Silver bullets.

Remaining flats are random, and can include Deeds, Dudes and/or Spells. Dudes range from 1.75" to 3.5" from what I've seen so far. Basic layout is pretty much the same as DiskWars. Per flat you get either five 1.75" dudes, four 2" dudes, two 2.5" dudes (with two spells), or one 3.5" dude (with two spells).

Deeds, available in two sizes (and the Town Well, which is a small disk), either 2.25 by 4" rectangular, or 2 by 2.25" squarish. So far, it seems you either get one big deed with five spells, or one big deed & one small deed with two spells.

It seems that you get an okay assortment of stuff. Out of four boxes, I've got 10 Deeds (6 non-home), 71 Dudes, 20 Hexes, 11 Miracles & 11 Spirits. One nice touch is that, out of four boxes, I've only found one fixed Dude on a random flat, much better than I've seen with DiskWars. On the other hand, out of four boxes, I've barely got enough Deeds to play a basic two player game, meaning sealed box games might be a bit tricky.

As for the mechanics and spells...

I haven't played yet, so I can't really say much about how well they work. However, every Dude has, at the very least, a special trait. Most (over 95%, I'd guess) also have a special ability/limitation of some sort. This should make the game pretty chaotic.

Add this to the fact that combat in the game is now entirely random, resulting in less predictability, and the fact that nobody has toughness, meaning that any disk can be worn down through repeated attacks by a lone weak disk using missile combat, and I think it'll wind up playing quite a bit different than DiskWars.

Spells are interesting as well. To cast a Hex, you only need 1 card from your hand. Miracles, 2. Spirits, 3. Hexes' ease of casting is offset by the fact that you have to toss Jokers equal to your Hucksters ability to see if he's KO'ed (if they all come up "dead", he's out), while Miracles & Spirits go off with no risk. I assume that the Spirits are more powerful than the Miracles, thus their increased cost.

Overall, the spells seem pretty simple, and (hopefully) less able to be used in abusive ways. They basically do things like increase Shootin' of one dude by 3, make a Dude immune to Shootin' attacks for a turn, move the Spellcaster 12", do a couple points of non-cumulative damage to a Dude, etc. They've all got ranges (most 6"), and require significant expenditure of resources to use.

Dudes...

The Color/Suit technique of mixing & matching dudes for your gang is interesting (you can only have dudes that match either the color or suit of your outfit), preventing some unlikely alliances (BlackJacks can't work with Law Dogs, for instance), but allowing others (Sweetrock Dudes & BlackJack Dudes can work together...). And in a nice touch, Sweetrock is represented by a black heart....:)

I've only seen two Dudes with Silver Bullets so far. Ones a Sweetrock dude with a couple Silver Bullets, the others a Drifter with one. If there aren't more Dudes with silver bullets out there it could give the Whatelys an edge, as they have two fixed dudes that are Unearthly (can't be brawled by anyone but other Unearthly or Arcane Dudes), and immune to Shootin' except from Silver Bullets. Add this to the fact that Unearthly Dudes can remove one bullet (even Silver) from themselves at the end of the turn, and I can see them being a big problem...

Oh, and I haven't seen a single Arcane Dude yet. Even the Demon Hunter promo Dude you get for pre-ordering isn't Arcane. Heck, he doesn't even have Silver Bullets! I'm not sure he's really prepared himself for this line of work...

Here's a rough rundown on the four outfits I got
and a quick look at some of the more interesting Dudes found on random flats:
 The Wretched: Two average Dudes with the Lucky Shot ability, two average Dudes with flamethrowers that, when they hit the target, automatically hit all other Dudes within 6" for the same damage, Three Unearthly Dudes that can burrow (and they immobilize anyone pinning them) and two Dudes that can, as a special ability, ace any Dude they are pinning if their target has already taken at least one bullet.  The Whateleys: Two werewolf gals (cool artwork!) that have 6 Brawling & 6 Vigor if unready (gotta get 'em before they move) and the "fleet-footed" ability, two Sneaky Dudes with 4 bullet/Pistol, two Sniper Dudes with 3 bullet/Rifle who gets +3 shootin' when firing at Unearthly Dudes or Spellcasters (and he has a 5 Brawling), two Walkin' Dead Unearthly Dudes who are immune to shootin' with non-silver bullets.
 Morgan Cattle Company: Three basic Dudes, two Dudes with 5 Pace & Vigor, who are also fleet-footed, two Dudes 1 bullet/Rifles with Lucky Shot, who can give Workers +3 Pace, two 3 bullet/Pistol Dudes who can fire twice if he doesn't move. Plus, almost all these dudes are Workers, meaning they can get the +3 Pace, can be recruited in any building you control, and can be recruited onto a Foreman (found on random flats), wherever he is on the table.  Law Dogs: Two US Marshals with 3 bullet/Rifles who can, as a special ability, force up to two other Marshals to move their full Pace, without them becoming booted. Two dudes who can move, then ace one wanted Dude with 3 Vigor or less, in the same building, two dudes with a pistol, but no bullets(!), they gain +3 Shootin' if within 6" of a Government Building. And most of these Dudes are Lawmen, meaning they can increase their Gangs Production by acing Wanted Dudes.
 Highwayman: A Blackjack on a steam-powered motorcycle. Gadget (4), Fleet Footed. Capable of moving 17.5 inches in a single turn, and instantly aces any Dude he's pinning who has a Vigor of 3 or less!  Werewolf: A 2.5" Fleet-footed Drifter with a Pace of 4 (20" possible movement!), Brawl of 9 and Vigor of 4. Can us a special ability to remove up to three non-silver bullets, then move.
 Ghost Rock Express: A 3.5" Collegium vehicle with a Pace of 3, Brawl of 9 and Vigor of 9, 4 bullet/pistol that is allowed to brawl Unearthly Dudes.  

I'm slightly disappointed in the fact that, out of four boxes, I got exactly 1 Huckster & 1 Shaman (both on the same flat, no less), yet I have a ton of spells. Worse, the Huckster is a Unique Morgan Cattle Company Dude, so I can't even use him with my Whateley gang.... Whateley's without Hucksters, what is the world coming to? Hopefully a Drifter or Whateley Huckster will show up in one of the next couple boxes I'm waiting for.

 

Pat Dolan
Rockford, IL