Wild West Exodus was a miniatures game I backed on Kickstarter some time ago, and has been languishing in the cupboard for most of the time since due to a few issues we had with the rules (and having plenty of other games to get on with). Since being taken over by Warcradle/Wayland Games there’s been some new model releases, and the beta version of the second edition rules were recently released (you can get them here). I’ve only had a chance to get one test game in so far, however thought I’d share a few thoughts on the new system.
Jesse James’ Outlaws ride again.
New Card Decks
The first thing to note, the new edition has included two decks of cards, adventure and action cards, with the former able to be used as “Glory” to generate additional victory points or “Guts” to provide in game benefits to units. The action cards are used to determined initiative, as well as generate how many action points you have for a unit each activation.
The glory side seemed to push me ahead slightly in our game, without feeling overwhelming. It’s not something that you necessarily need to play around, as an extra one victory point for the situations specified generally pales with the victory points generated from the adventure itself. Some objectives weren’t achievable given composition of forces so the ability to use guts bonuses was handy. The additional benefits from guts are quite situational, and over the game we didn’t see an interrupt played, one restore was used, but the ability to generate additional action points was great and came in very handy at times.
These add an interesting layer of complexity to activation order for your army with a random number of action points. One thing I like is that you generate the action points before choosing who to activate, which contributed to me not feeling salty about any one draw. The one time I drew a one action point card I decided to activate Jesse James and use his Gambler special rule to redraw, so maybe my army deals with it better than others.
Initial Thoughts – famous spaghetti western style (and noting I’ve had one game of a beta ruleset!)
- Terrain rules are very elegant, and strike a nice balance between letting you play on what’s available and not bringing too many rules into play for different types of terrain
- The mechanics of the game encourage a diverse unit choice, and seem to have made hired hands (your basic plebs) have some value. They’ve also streamlined hired hands to always operate as units, rather than as individual models
- When we first read the rules, we thought it was going to be a bloody and brutal game, with all models only having one wound and plenty of ways to knock down armour saves. When we played, it didn’t seem this way at all, with terrain granting significant bonuses to units (both making them harder to hit and improving their grit save)
- Army list building is very interesting, with six slots for each boss and requirements to be filled for slots. Again, it seems to encourage certain choices which previously didn’t see play (like hands units)
- Certain special rules seemed to slightly overpowered in the game we played – decapitate and shred specifically.
- The cavalry units we looked at (Outlaws and Warrior Nation) seemed to be massively undercosted relative to other units. That said, my Frontier Outriders didn’t have a massive impact on the game, as their key turn of shooting at Raging Bear saw them kill one brave and not land a single point of damage on the boss himself.
- The game doesn’t feel like it will scale well past something like the 1,000 point level. We played at 500 points and had about 13 models each on the table. With shooting done model-by-model, and models often having multiples shots, it was somewhat time consuming shooting large units at others. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, as it works well as a skirmish game, but the designers seem to be targeting the 1,500-2000 mark as a standard game size.
- Close combat felt very underwhelming relative to shooting, as there was spending action points to move into combat as well action points to attack, which may then leave you unengaged if you kill too many models (we’ve since worked out that we played combat wrong, so it’s possible that it isn’t as lacklustre as we originally thought)
- There were some changes made to weapons which have made it a lot less clear how their profiles and shooting works, specifically what a weapon being ‘paired’ means for it’s rate of fire
- Army list building felt complex when initially reading through it, but I think it’s possibly just trying to make sense of Outlaws who work slightly differently to other factions. The second time I built a list it felt a lot easier, so it was possibly just working out how all the cards and faction book fit together.
I had a lot of fun getting these models out and back to the table. The new ruleset, despite a few teething issues, seems a lot clearer than the previous edition and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops. I’ve provided feedback to the development team, so hopefully my questions get addressed before the rules are finalised, and we’ve already scheduled another game. The models and background for this game are great, so a solid accompanying ruleset would be welcome.