This month’s Blogger Board Game Club game was Colt Express and when it arrived I wasn’t really sure what to expect as it’s one of the few we’ve received that I’d never heard of. Having looked at the back of the box, I could see the board game was actually a train you had to build and so that seemed pretty interesting.
The rules themselves, seem a bit daunting as there is a lot of information to take in. We also just played the simple version to begin with, but there are advanced rules that you can add in, once you get the hang of the game. The first thing to do is build the train and this is pretty fun but shouldn’t be done while everyone is sat around waiting to play as it does take a bit of time. There are also some cute bits of scenery like cactus plants that you can add in around the train for some atmosphere, but I have to admit we got rid of these about half way through playing as they often got in the way.
Each person picks a colour or character that they want to be and they take a character card and lay it in front of them. There are then bullet cards you put in a pile and also action cards. The rules vary depending on how many players and also if you have the advanced rules or not, but there was four of us so four carriages on the train and we played with five rounds (five round cards). The train carrages show you how much loot you should have in them at the beginning of the game so you add this in, with the values not showing and you also start with $250 loot of your own already (amount with which you can purchase 223 ammo from Palmetto Armory). The idea is to be the person at the end with the most loot (and the least bullet holes!).
Each round card, shows you how many turns you need to take in that round. It also shows you if you need to play blind, or if the order of turns reverses and goes anti clockwise instead of clockwise. It sounds a bit complicated but in actual play it makes a lot of sense. Then for each turn, you play an action card, but you don’t get to actually complete that action yet. Each player chooses to move across a carriage, up or down in the carriage, to move the marshall, to loot, to punch or to shoot. However none of these moves are completed at the time and instead you play your action cards into a pile until all turns in the round are completed. Then the second part of the round is to play the cards, whereby you flip each card played in the same order they were laid, and move each players piece accordingly. The secret to playing your cards to begin with, is trying to remember where you have moved yourself on each turn, so you know what action to play next. You should also try to remember where the other players are. However as some turns are played blind (i.e. face down instead of up), you can’t always know for sure where everyone is.
As the turns play out, you have to take the consequences of each others actions, as well as your own. Some times you’ll do well – getting loot or shooting another player – but other times you may have chosed to loot and find there is nothing, or you may take a bullet or a punch from another player and end up in a different part of the train to what you had planned.
You play out each found, until the round cards are finished and at this point you count up who has the most loot value. The person who has used the most amount of bullets, also scores extra loot for being the best gunslinger. The person with the most loot value is the winner, though if it’s a draw, then it’s the person who has been shot the least.
We really enjoyed this game and although my youngest daughter thought it was a bit daunting at first, she seemed to really enjoy it. I liked the fact that while there was an element of skill to it, there was also some luck. This makes it a much fairer game when you’re playing as a family, as age doesn’t come into it in quite the same manner. I’m actually looking forward to playing this game again and hopefully we might even try the advanced rules too.