Review: Colt Express

A game with a 3D train you say? A game where I can punch and shoot other players while robbing that said train? Those are the things that first brought my attention to Colt Express last year before Essen. The idea of it being a pre-programmed movement game didn’t do much for me, simply, because I had never played a game like that before. The pictures of the components were enough to get me to pre-order the game and hope that I could get people to play it as easily as I thought I would.

Colt Express train
Just look at how awesome it looks and all of that loot just waiting to be picked up! – Courtesy of BGG

 

Like I mentioned, Colt Express is a programmed movement game for 2-6 players wherein you play a character (with special player powers) who is attempting to steal the most loot from the train by the end of the game. Each round consists of a different number of turns (randomly assigned by drawing round cards) and each turn consisting of a face up card, a face-down card (in a tunnel), two cards played in a row or a round played in reverse. Each player draws their hand of 6 cards and “attempts” to plan out their optimal moves for that round. Their deck of cards initially starts with shooting, punching, grabbing loot, horizontal movement, vertical movement and a marshal card. Throughout the game their deck could get clogged by bullet cards either from other players or the marshal. To counteract that, players are allowed to forgo playing a card on their turn to pick up 3 more cards.

The reason I said “attempts to plan out their optimal moves” is because that is exactly what you have to do. Some rounds will consist of all face-up cards and it is then that you can actually plan out most of your moves, but still not all of them. Let me explain the different actions which will hopefully better show what I mean. The vertical movement card is the most straight forward card. If you are in the train, you go on top; if you are on top, you go inside. The horizontal movement card will  allow you to move one car forward or back if you are in a train car and up to three forward or back if you are on top. The punch action allows you to punch someone in/on the same car as you and force them to drop loot. They also get moved to an adjacent car because of your ridiculously powerful punch! The shoot action allows you to shoot someone in an adjacent car or on any other car (if you are also on top). If you shoot someone you then give them one of your bullet cards and the player with the fewest bullet cards remaining at the end of the game receives a $1000 bonus. The marshal card allows you to move the marshal one car (never on top) and if they are ever in the same car as a bandit then the marshal gives them a bullet card and the bandit goes to the roof. The loot action allows you to pick up loot from the car you are in/on, if there is any.

Colt Express sherrif
You can see how a Marshal action moving the marshal (yellow) underneath 3 players could mess up their plans! – Courtesy of BGG

What’s Good?

  • The game is very easy to pick up and start playing because there are only so many actions possible and since almost every round has face up cards you can walk through a round to demonstrate what would happen.
  • Just look at it…it looks awesome and very eye-catching. The first time I pulled out the game everyone, all of a sudden, didn’t mind learning a new game.
  • It is a great opener or closer to game night since it is relatively light and short, especially when everyone knows how to play.
  • It’s just plain fun!

What’s Not So Good?

  • My fat fingers…ok, that isn’t the fault of Ludonaute, but the trains are a little short and can become full of bandits causing difficulties when I try to grab one of the Meeples.
  • It is a little chaotic and for strategic players that can frustrate them causing them to ruin the mood of the game. If it is played for what it is, a fun, watch how your plans get screwed up type of game then this can be alleviated.

What’s the Best Part?

  • My favorite part of this game is watching your plans fall apart. Again, this could cause some people to dislike the game, but I love watching myself, or others grab loot that is not there, shoot at literally nothing, punch the air or move down from the roof of the car only to be knocked back up because the marshal was waiting for me. It cracks me up every time!

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