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)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wild West Rules - Shoot N' Skedaddle - Turnstyle Games

How can I pass up a game that uses cards for just about everything, especially when the rules themselves are free? Shoot N' Skedaddle let's you read the rules first and then decided if you want to buy the rest of it. Something I can appreciate in these days of the $30+ rulebooks that are only about 40 pages long. It really helps that this is a good game on top of that. And if you don't like the game the campaign rules are well worth reading and solve a lot of problems that I have encountered in other wild west campaigns. It takes a little work and someone willing to play referee but I think they are worth the effort.

Shoot N' Skedaddle
Turnstyle Games
Rules In Print
Card Decks Out of Print (being revised)
8 1/2 x 11, PDF, pages 
Original Price: Rules Free, Card Decks $30

Movement: Like most wild west games when a character is activated one or more of the actions available is or includes moving. In SnS movement rates are set and found on the character cards. Most characters move 6" a couple are a bit speedier and move 8". Rates for animals can be found on an animal movement chart.

Combat: SnS is built around the concept of the test. So shooting and hand to hand fighting use a test to see if your character succeeds in hitting. A test requires a 5+ to succeed (or hit in this case). This is when the various character traits and weapons come into play. A shooting test is based on the marksmanship trait. A soldier's marksmanship trait uses a D12, so he rolls a D12 needing a 5+ to hit. If he is using a carbine then he only gets 1D12 if he was using a sixgun then he would roll 2D12s. The marksmanship of the priest character is a D6 and he still needs a 5+ to hit. Modifiers adjust the die rolled if the soldier is shooting at a target in cover then he is -1 and rolls a D8 for marksmanship instead of a D12 (D10s are not used in this game. The same concept works for hand to hand fighting except the scrap trait is used for the test.

Wounds:  If a character is successfully hit then he receives a wound if the wound check is successful (again that's a 5+). The die roll for a wound check is based on the weapon. A sawed off shotgun only rolls a D6 (but it allowed the character 5 "shots"), while a heavy sixgun uses a D12 (but only gets 1 shot). There is no hit location or severity to go along with it. A wound reduces a characters traits so they are less effective. A character is incapacitated if a second wound is received.

Weapon List: The weapon list in SnS is fairly extensive! It even includes a weapon card for a lasso. My only knock against it is there is still no difference between a single action or a double action pistol.

Campaign rules: The campaign rules are extensive and quite well thought out. Since the rules are free anyway I recommend that you just download them and read them for yourself. They include how to set up the campaign and characters gaining or losing dice for traits as they progress through the campaign.

Rules Bling: This is a step up from the plane jane rules. Since they are only available as a pdf the author didn't need to worry costs. Its in a single column format with the main rules in black and white and colored boxes for examples and commentary. There are pictures but no drawings (probably not a bad thing). There is a nice table of contents and the layout is quite clean. This is really my preferred formatting for a set of miniature rules.

Unique: S
omewhat in a different vein from other wild west rules SnS's unique characteristics has nothing to do with the card deck although it does have something to do with cards. Each character in the game is drawn from the character deck, the deck will consist of lawmen, bad guys and neutrals. The first player to draw a lawman or a bad guy takes that side in game. Neutrals can be on either side and make up the majority of the deck. A scenario will state how big a posse will be for the game and players take turns keep drawing till their posse's are full. The card contains all the traits for that character. You will find the equipment he starts with, any special rules that pertain to him and then his traits defined by the type of die that is rolled to make the appropriate "test". For instance "the Drifter" gets to draw two weapon cards, gets to add a joker to the activation deck and activates when the joker is drawn in addition to his normal activation card (King of Clubs in this case). His move is 6", Str D12, Agility D8, Scrap D12, Marksmanship D20 and his Guts is also a D20. A pretty nasty individual. In a campaign situation he could be added to your posse for 75 gold. Each character also tells you what player card the character will activate on. Use two identical decks and pull out the necessary cards to make the activation deck. With the drifter in play you need to start with the King of Clubs (x2), a soldier activates on the Six of Clubs (x2) and the Priest on the Ten of Clubs (x2). So every character in a posse will activate twice during a turn with the drifter getting three activations because he gets to add the joker. So, by design, you are likely playing with unbalanced posse's and a varied mix of weaponry. Remaining neutral characters might enter the game based on the special activation cards (add 0-4 aces to the deck if desired).

My Thoughts:  I enjoy the random aspect of posse creation in SnS. You can play the same scenario at a convention or at home a number of times in a day and have it always be different because of the random nature of the posse's. Using different dice to reflect the character's traits is also fun and reminds me of playing the Deadlands RPG. At first glance it appears quite complex but all you really need to remember is that every test in the game requires a 5+. If you keep that in mind then everything really does fall into place. Its nice that the rules are free, you have a chance to read them before laying out any money for the card decks. I do see that the card decks are no long appearing on thegamecrafter.com. I believe that there are some revisions being made to the decks (like adding pictures of painted miniatures to them) and he didn't want anyone to purchase old decks. If you contact the author directly through his web page he might be willing to send out templates so you can get started. This is another fast and furious game!

Since the rules are PDF and don't really feature a cover I thought I would take a picture of the box cover for the card decks. These were produced on demand from thegamecrafter.com.

Now that's a weapon deck!

Here you can see some of the weapon cards, showing the range, the number of dice to roll (i.e. shots) and the die type needed to wound, along with any special rules and, of course, the cost of the weapon in a campaign

The "special" decks. You only draw from here when an ace comes up in the activation deck

The character cards, there aren't to many good guys or bad guys but there are a whole bunch of neutral guys. You can populate an entire town with these!

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