|The front cover of the new version.|
The first thing I noticed about the new version was that it was a lot slimmer - a page count of 60 compared to 108 for Blaze of Glory. That's almost half as many pages. Hmm, not a promising start. However, it is the content that really matters and that's what I'll concentrate on. The new rules share a lot in common with both the old rules and the recently released supplement, High Moon (minus the Weird West stuff, of course).
Characters can be one of three Classes - Cowboy, Gunman or Townsfolk. Each Class comes with its own Attribute. This is a new rule now and one that I approve of. For Cowboy it is Brawler. (Counts a +1d6 bonus when rolling on the Melee Table). For Gunman it is Marksman. (Can roll twice when rolling on the Ranged Combat Table, counting the best result, but only when firing one shot). For Townsfolk it is Slow to React. (Counts a -1d6 penalty when taking the In Sight and Draw! Tests).
Each Class is furthered defined by one of seven professions. You get to choose from the lists. Cowboys can be a Buffalo Hunter, a Cowboy (obviously!), a Deputy, a Gambler, a Homesteader, a Mountain Man or a Prospector. Gunmen can be a Bounty Hunter, a Gunslinger, a Marshal, an Outlaw, a Ranger, a Sheriff or a Warrior. Townsfolk can be a Citizen, a Greenhorn, a Merchant, a Preacher, a Saloon Staff, a Trades Person or a Villager. I noticed there wasn't a profession for the 7th Cavalry but you can easily class them as Rangers, who function very similarly.
Stars are allowed to have three Attributes - their Class Attribute and two others (choose one and roll for the other) and Grunts may have their Class Attribute and one more Attribute (randomly chosen). Reputation (Rep) defines a character by means of experience, morale and motivation and is rated from 3 to 6+, with 3 being the lowest permitted. Characters can advance beyond Rep:6 but they are extremely rare. Rep is the stat that is used the most often. It is recommended that Stars start at Rep:5.
The actual game rules in SGS are pretty much the same as in other current THW supplements, meaning they are simple and quick to play once you understand how the reaction system works. THW games are not normal IGOUGO games. Reactions play a major part in deciding who does what and when. The Quick Reference Tables have been drastically cut down and kept to a minimum. It was very noticeable to me that the new rules have been greatly simplified from the original game. One thing that Blaze of Glory did differently to any other THW product was provide very detailed rules for combat. Ranged Combat featured Hit Location Charts for shooting various parts of the body. Cover also played a more important role in deciding what body parts could be hit. There were even Hit Location Charts for horses. In short, the original rules were highly detailed and I loved that extra detail. I can understand why version 2.0 has dropped them, to speed up game play, but they were a big reason why I loved the original rules so much. I will probably still use the original Hit Location rules in future games of Six Gun Sound.
Gone too are the Skills like Sand (coolness under fire), Toughness (both physical and mental), Riding (aka horsemanship) and Driving (specifically wagons). Now Rep (Reputation) covers them all, which is kind of boring but much quicker. Once again, I'd prefer to keep the old Skills.
Moving on, the latter half of the book covers individual scenarios, called Encounters, and campaign rules. There are five Encounters listed - Carousing, Confrontation, Raid/Rescue, Riding the Trail and Robbery. Carousing can not occur out of town and Riding the Trail cannot occur in town. An optional Encounter that can only be played if the circumstances dictate it is the Jail Break. A campaign can take place anywhere in North America in the 19th Century and need not be tied to just one location, although that is also an option. Once again, I look back at the campaign rules in Blaze of Glory and they were far more detailed. They were split into six types based on profession - Cowboy, Gunfighter, Marshal, Outlaw, Ranger and Sheriff with the Cowboy campaign being by far the most detailed and hardest. To be fair, THW seem to have realised this and the first new supplement for the updated version of Six Gun Sound will be Range War, due out later this year. Hopefully, this will cover much of the missing Cowboy Campaign rules from Blaze of Glory. They really were very good!
One rule which has been discarded from the original rules was how to place enemy figures on the board. Incredibly, this used a deck of playing cards to determine who went where. I'm glad it has been dropped.
|A true blast from the past!|
However, I am not going to criticise the new version of SGS for being too simple. As I said, I fully understand why Ed has made the changes in the new book. Many gamers want simpler rules and faster game play. There's nothing wrong with that and in that respect the new version deserves the highest praise. Just because I like extra detail in my games does not make the book inherently at fault. It has a specific audience and it surely caters to them extremely well. I'm only too pleased that I own both versions so that I can cherry pick the best parts from both books to suit my own style of play.
Six Gun Sound can be ordered from the THW webstore for $20 for a PDF version or for $22 for a printed version. Order the print version and you get the PDF version for free. In addition, you can download a set of Wild West building floor plans for free from the same webstore. They measure 11" by 17" and feature over 10 different buildings. I prefer 3D model buildings but free is free so I downloaded them anyway.
I have big plans ahead of me for Wild West and Weird West gaming. It'll take time. These things always do. But I have made a start and I'm committed to making it happen. I have the rules I need - Six Gun Sound, High Moon and Shadows of Brimstone. I need to build up my collection of figures although I have enough already to make a good start. But most of all I need 3D scenery. Lots of it! At present I only have one 28mm scale Wild West building - a Stoelzel's Structure barn that I reviewed on my blog here
My future options are -
- Make lots of card and/or foam-board models. Carl Stoelzel's Final Frontier set is the perfect place to start. I already own it and lots of other Wild West card models on my computer but they need printing out and making.
- Buy pre-painted MDF models and make them. 4Ground are the number one company for pre-painted buildings and scenery but they are very expensive. Some of their bigger buildings cost over £100!
- Buy unpainted MDF models, make them and paint them myself. Both Sarissa and TTCombat have a good range of Wild West buildings and scenery at reasonable prices.
- Go for a combination of the above - mix and match.
Please note that my Weird West and Wild West posts now have their own Page links which you can access from the top of my blog.