This is the first set of rules I purchased when I began the search for a rule set for my town of Calamity. I added it to an order of western miniatures during one of Foundry's periodic sales. Its the only hardcover wild west rulebook that I own at this point. In fact I'm not sure if there are any other rules published in hardback for the wild west (okay Aces and Eights but that's I consider that much more of an RPG for Wild West rather than a set of miniature rules). Probably because most of Wild West rules are pretty short and it would be hard to justify a hardback book for them. However, as you can see from the page count below, and like Legends in the Old West, this is another big book of rules and more! I'll do my best to distill this one down a bit. While the rulebook is big the basic rules to get you going are only about 14 pages long which is pretty close to some of the other rule sets I have taken a look at and should have you diving into your first game right away.
The Rules with No Name or "A Fistful of Dice"
Large Format (A4+?), Hardcover, 133 pages
Original Price £25
Movement: Like many of the other western rules this one is based on characters taking actions when their turn (when their card is drawn from the fate deck) comes. In TRwNN how fast your character moves when they use a move action is random. A character simply moving gets to roll 3D6 for their movement. A character moving and shooting gets to roll 2D6 for their movement. Pretty straight forward with the possibility of you not quite getting to cover.
Combat: In the basic rules the only combat is shooting. Characters need a six to hit their target and potentially cause a wound. You get to roll multiple dice to get that six, it depends on the type of weapon and the range to the target. For example a character with pistol at close range (between 2" and 6") gets to roll 3D6. Modifiers are applied as well but instead of a + or - to the roll you add or subtract dice. If you are firing at at target in cover you are -1D6. You still need a six to hit you just have fewer dice to use.
Hand to Hand fighting is actually an optional rule. The attacker rolls dice based on his weapon as indicated on the fighting chart (a Fist is 3D6 a pistol is 2D6). The defender also gets to roll a number of D6 based on his weapon (A fist in defense is 4D6 while a pistol is still 2D6). Which ever side rolls the most sixes gets to roll for an "effect" (or wound) based on the weapon they were using. Again modifiers are applied just like for shooting and adjust the number of dice that are thrown.
Wounds: For shooting the player rolls 1D6 for the location and then another 1D6 for the Effect. Wounds will run from a graze to dead! Fighting has its own chart as mentioned above. This game is not quite a bloody as some of the others but the use of a D6 does keep the range of possible results quite low and deadly. There are modifiers to a character's ability to take actions based on the type of wound they have taken
Weapon List: The weapon list, again is very short, just pistols and rifles in the basic rules and shotguns and hand to hand weapons in the optional rules
Campaign rules: There really isn't a set of campaign rules for TRwNN but there is a section for improving a characters class and adding skills. There is definitely an RPG component here there is even a gamemaster section in the back that allows someone to run a game and really customize the citizens (NPCs) and create a town with personalities that could be the ongoing location for all a gaming group's wild west interests.
Rules Bling: This is a pretty heavy bling book. Its hardback with lots of excellent pictures (featuring Wargames Foundry miniatures of course) and some nice drawings (that I think are basically clip art or old drawings that are no longer under copyright). Its in a two column format with pictures, drawings and charts/tables spreading across the page as needed. The table of contents is extensive and it includes and an index & reference page which is good because I don't find the book particularly well organized. I found the use of basic rules and then everything else being optional a little perplexing. Going with an advanced set of rules to ease players into some of the new stuff would have made more sense to me. There is an extensive section in the back that gives you everything you need to create your own fate deck (I would suggest scanning these cards) along with some extras that would let you skip the dice like; shooting chits, skill chits and even event cards for bystanders (event cards are part of the fate deck normally). And in the very back are the quick reference sheets!
Unique: These rules have a couple of unique aspects to them. As you can tell from the shooting and fighting section the number of dice based on the weapon approach is definitely unusual and I like that. I find it quick and fun to deal with.
And then their is the fate deck. It has some similarities to a couple of other games (notably Fistful of Lead) as it uses cards to determine when character gets to take an action. The difference here is that there are also "Fate" or action cards in the deck along with a joker. If the card turned over is a character then that character takes its action. If an action card is drawn it will be placed face up next to the deck. It will have a level on it and only a character with a level equal to or higher than the one listed is flipped over the player can pick up and use the action card. When the joker is drawn then all the cards in the discard pile are shuffled back in. Action cards have to be played or discarded to the deck when this happens as well. In other words the joker really resets the entire deck. Makes for some nerve racking terms and really adds tension to the game.
My Thoughts: Don't be overwhelmed by the size of the rule book. While its extensive as far as rules go there are a lot of sections that some people may never use. While I have a problem with how the optional rules are presented you aren't in anyway required to use them. I still would have preferred and advanced rule section as some of those rules, like hand to hand, I don't really consider optional. There are rules for challenges and horses and dynamite in there so take some time and read through them and see what tickles your fancy. There is a painting section by Dallimore that I would view as required reading as well as a whole section on building your own buildings along with signage to go along with them. For those with a more military pent you will find sections for both Soldiers and Indians. This book really does cover a lot of material and even if you don't decide to use it for your rules its a wonderful reference for your library.
Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)