I’m half way through a game of Six Gun Saga, a Western themed strategy game from the developer of Armageddon Empires and Solium Infernum. I’m playing as El Indio, an outlaw who can’t hire any lawmen, but whose dudes get a combat bonus for every lawman in an enemy posse. My opponent is the gunfighter Lucien Maxwell. On turn 12, I’ve got 25 victory points to his 11 victory points. The game ends at either 30 victory points or 25 turns. So I should have this in the bag, right?
After the jump, that varmint Maxwell has me pinned
I’ve earned most of my victory points by getting a medicine man to handle an Apache raid. The medicine man was eventually gunned down by Doc Holiday and the Hunchback, who used an action card called Hard Day’s Ride to bum rush him. But then I brought in John Wesley Hardin, a loner with a mean combat ability who also enjoyed an ungodly combat bonus when I played a card on him called The Edge. I also played a king and queen on him, and therefore drew a straight during the poker-based shootout, handily gunning down Holiday and the Hunchback. This scored me a hefty victory point boost.
Hardin has since teamed up with The Man With No Name. In a strategy game, this is what you would call a killer stack. And in a game like Six Gun Saga with action cards that can have sudden dramatic effects to bring a man low, it’s also what you would call “putting all your eggs in one basket”.
The problem is that Lucien Maxwell has managed to cripple me financially. My only source of income is Goodtime Sally, a townfolk who makes me a dollar every turn. You don’t want to know what she has to do for that dollar. Use your imagination. But she doesn’t bring in enough to pay my dudes’ upkeep, so I’m having to burn cards every turn just to balance the books.
Meanwhile, Lucien Maxwell has got a mining office, a railway station, and a telegraph clerk earning him money (I used to have a saloon that also boosted Goodtime Sally’s income, but I had to discard it when Maxwell played Suspicious Fire). What’s more, Maxwell has a bank and Horace Green letting him draw and hold additional cards, which is more valuable than money. Actually, it’s just as valuable as money, since cards in Six Gun Saga are money, dudes, locations, special actions, and combat tweaks. Drawing an extra card every turn is about the best bonus a fella could hope for.
So where do we go from here? Right now, the only options to earn victory points, which is what also leads to gunfights which further score victory points, are the following three story cards in play: Wanted Dead or Alive, Texas Rangers, and Routine Patrol. You score points by moving a posse onto the card, passing through an area where the other player can lay ambushes. But story cards have a prerequisite before you can “activate” them. The first two story cards, Wanted Dead or Alive and Texas Rangers, require lawmen. The last one requires a military dude. Neither of us has any of those types of dudes in our employ. What’s more, I’m not even allowed to hire lawmen, since I’m the outlaw El Indio.
The problem is that Lucien Maxwell is flush with cash and cards, so he’s more likely to get the necessary dude out. All I can do is bide my time, trying to build up some infrastructure before hopefully swooping down on his men with John Wesley Hardin and The Man With No Name. Hopefully, I can find some way to steal or burn down that bank he’s got. But he keeps hitting me with the Disgraceful Behavior action, knocking down my victory point total. This one’s going to be close.
Six Gun Saga is available for preorder here for $12, which will let you play the beta now.