by Globus the Elder
“Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” Stephen King
I don’t have a review this week. It’s actually been a couple weeks since I wrote anything, what with the Easter holiday and real life concerns, but I had planned on getting something on your screens this week. That was supposed to be Endstream, but something unfortunate happened to it in the mail, and I haven’t received the second copy yet. Very responsive people though, it bodes well for their future, if they can also produce a good game. But, I digress.
I have an extensive trade list on BGG, and every so often I get someone with an interest. I have the fortunate position to not really have space issues, so I am not particularly motivated to trade, but I would rather games fulfill their purpose and be played.
This time, the interest was in Avalon Hill’s Gunslinger (1983). I acquired it on the cheap, and It seemed like an interesting game. I do believe I overrate AH’s games, as that was where I got started, but wargamers were very tolerant of extensive rules. When I got it, I made a meager effort to get it on the table with my crew, and then it retired to a shelf space next to Gladiator (1981), another AH game that had experienced a similar experience in its incorporation into my collection.
Because it was missing a couple counters, and had a bit of musty smell, the trade fell through, but because I had announced its departure, it popped back on the radar. The rules teach you the game in stages. To play the first couple of Showdowns, you only have to read the first few pages of rules (this is followed by a section on Brawling, then Special Weapons and Skills, then it goes into a role playing aspect, and campaigns, as well as bots, non-player characters controlled by the game).
It was very thematic and engaging. We had a team of two, Butler as Doc Holliday, and myself as Buckskin Leslie, vs. Spider as Johnny Ringo and Billy Claiborne. Quick shots were let off, while we learned how the game played, followed by more well aimed shots as we learned the value of aiming. There’s a natural tension, as you decide whether to shoot sooner to throw off your opponent, or aim your shot to try and do the most damage.
Johnny Ringo hit Buckskin first, which led to me trying to hold it together and not die, while at the same time trying to get back in the game. Holliday put Ringo down. Claiborne put down Holliday, and tried to scoop up the fallen Ringo’s Colt, with one round left in it. Buckskin was able to clip Claiborne, knocking him away and down, but not out. Buckskin’s last round went wild, and he finally passed out.
The thing that stuck with me was how well this game could be produced now. A little component upgrade here, a little tweak there, a bit of chrome on top, and this game would be fantastic.
In America right now, we live in the time of remake/reboot. You can’t throw a rock without hitting something redone for the modern era. TV and movies are the on the main stage, but even gaming, with remakes like Fireball Island, and reskins like Letters from Whitechapel, we experience this mixture of nostalgia and shiny.
What makes a good remake? So many crash and burn, sometimes being too different from the original as to not rope in the same audience, some suffer from not being as good as we thought they were when we were younger. Some miss the boat on content saturation (not everything needs zombies).
I don’t have any expectations on a remake of Gunslinger. No one is asking for Wild West content, though maybe a license from HBO could bring a Westworld game, but that should really be about robots.
I also can’t recommend that you buy it, as it hovers around $100 for a copy, and unless you really want the OK Corral, your dollars could go a lot farther.
I may just have to do up a copy for myself. We’re going to try Gladiator next week, and if we like it, we have the nifty Spartacus board and miniatures to use.
Pic via https://ekzotik.deviantart.com/art/everything-old-is-new-again-262655103
Gunslinger box art:
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