It’s no secret that my eight year old son loves his steam trains so I knew he’d enjoy the concept of Colt Express, the latest board game for us to look at for Asmodee UK as part of their Board Game Club.
Colt Express is aimed at those aged 10 years and over and can be played with 2-6 players. Obviously my son is a couple of years under the recommended age for this game but he managed quite well with most aspects of the game play.
The game comes with 6 cardboard Train Cars, 1 cardboard Locomotive, 7 wooden coloured playing pieces (Bandits and Marshall), 6 Character sheets, 132 playing cards (including action cards, bullets cards and neutral bullet cards), 32 Loot tokens (purses, jewels and strong boxes) and instructions.
The aim of the game is to become the richest bandit in the Wild West. You need to outwit the other bandits without getting shot too many times. There’s also a prize for the best shooter. There are 5 rounds to each game, with each round having two phases – schemin’ and stealin’.
There is a bit of assembly required before you can play Colt Express for the first time. As the train carriages, locomotive and terrain elements need to be slotted together.
This is easy to do and the pieces are made of sturdy cardboard. It’s also worth noting that this is a one-off construction, when you’ve finished playing the game, the carriages and loco fit neatly back into the storage box.
Once you’ve completed the one-off build you place the loco and a train carriage for each player together in the centre of the table.
Each player is given a $250 purse as a starting point then loot tokens are placed in the carriages as indicated on their floors (each carriage is different). The Marshall (the yellow wooden playing piece) starts the game in the Locomotive, along with one of the strong boxes.
The 13 neutral bullet cards are placed next to the loco. These denote the injuries that the Marshall might inflict on the ruthless bandits as the game progresses.
Then players need to decide on their character for the game, each one comes with its own character sheet and colour coded action cards. These action cards are shuffled and placed face down on each players character sheet. Then you place the 6 bullet cards in ascending order of number of bullets face up on the sheet. You start the game with a full round of ammunition in the barrel of each gun.
You put the relevant coloured bandit in each carriage depending on the order the bandits will be played. The first player will place their bandit in the first carriage behind the loco and so on.
To start the game the Schemin’! begins, the first player places the top card from the round deck face up so that all players can see it. The card shows the number and type of turns for the round. Players then play out the round by moving, shooting or changing floors (your bandits can walk on the roofs of the carriages, much to my son’s delight) depending on the cards you play. There are 4 types of turns available to play and these are depicted on the round card. you might get to play action cards face up, go through a tunnel with action cards played face down, switch the order of play or speed up as each player takes two turns at once.
When all turns have been taken you move onto the Stealing! part of the game as players move and react to each other. It really is a game you have to play to really get to grips with it. You can move between carriages and walk along the roof from one carriage to the next. You can shoot other bandits depending on where your bandit is placed at the time. You might even get to steal some loot and move the Marshall, making any bandits in the same carriage move onto the roof. Perhaps you might even get to punch one of your opponents and steal some of his loot.
There’s so much to take in with this game and I feel to make the most of Colt Express you need more than two players, although two players can play a double bandit game, which definitely helps with game play.
It’s worth knowing that each bandit has different powers and my son ‘s go to character is Tuco as he can shoot through the roof of the carriages.
Colt Express is a game that my son will grow into in the next couple of years. We can then look into the Advanced Rules for extra game play and there are expansion kits, making this game a great investment for the future.
I’ve included my Amazon Affiliate links below for your future reference in case you fancy trying your hand as a bandit too!
disclosure: we were sent this item as part of the Asmodee Blogger Board Game club, in exchange for an honest review