May 28, 2014 by crew
Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and Jesse James, all names that conjure great adventures and gun battles in the American Old West. This era holds a special place in my heart, since I was very young and I had lived in Kansas and Colorado I got to walk in the same places that some of the greatest western heroes had walked. I have been to Dodge City and I am such a fan that my two sons are named after William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) and Jesse James. I tried to name my kids Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil but I was told in no uncertain terms no way. With all this love for the Old West I was thrilled when Wild West Exodus appeared.
Wild West Exodus is a 35mm “semi-skirmish” game publish by Outlaw Miniatures, who had a very successful Kickstarter campaign in March of 2013. For whatever reason I did not get in on this Kickstarter (might have been that I was trying to finish nursing school) but wish I had. When I was researching what game system to write about next, I went to my FLGS and inquired to the owners (Dan and Homer) what was the hottest up and coming game I should look into and why? They both stated unequivocally Wild West Exodus and when I asked why they both said that it seems to be well supported by Outlaw Miniatures and the replay factor is good and there is so many options available to suit every kind of player.
So I went over to the Wild West Exodus section in the store and looked around and there indeed did seem quite a bit to choose from. But of course I settled on the two player starter box. The price at first caught me off guard as it seemed higher than that of other starter boxes I have purchased in the past. But in the name of research and to inform all of the Beasts of War readers out there I took the plunge.
What Do You Get?
I got the box home and opened it up and can I say that I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of items contained within. I know the outside on the back of box states what comes with it, but until you actually open the box and see the contents for yourself you just cannot appreciate what you are getting for this price. Within this box you get two factions: Outlaws and Lawman, you’ll never guess which one I am drawn to? For each faction you get a boss (Jesse James or Wyatt Earp), an underboss (Frank James or Doc Holiday (I’m your Huckleberry)) and then 10 hired hands (5 long range and 5 close combat), a heavy weapons figure and finally a light support vehicle for each faction. That is a total of 14 figures for each side. The boss and underboss along with the vehicles are done in resin and the rest are in plastic. Along with this you also get a mini-rulebook with the very basic backgrounds of the first five factions and the rules all printed in black and white. There is also a clear plastic template set and a plastic token set along with 4 ten-sided dice and stat cards for each figure. Quite a bargain for what you are receiving!
The figures themselves are wonderful sculpts and have some very nice detail. Now for me I had to understand that this is an alternate universe version of the Old West. With this in mind you see many new kinds of armour on the miniatures and some technology that would be incorporated within the miniatures. For an example, Jesse James has some kind of vision goggles system. There is other tech associated with the characters within this universe and that is where this game has some unique twists to their universe. If you want to get deep into the background of these characters you will need to invest in the hardcover version of the rulebook as the first 206 pages is the background story (fluff) and it is really good reading. There are also several paperback novels available on the Jesse James Archives from our friends at Winged Hussar Publishing so you really can get into the flavour of this alternate universe.
The unique weapons and technology are a result of a new energy source (RJ-1027) discovered by DR Carpathian who is the leader of the Enlightened faction. The Outlaws led by Jesse James steal and use this for their own lawless reasons. You have the Warrior Nation (Native Americans) led by Sitting Bull fighting against this technology and the Union Army led by Abraham Lincoln (yes you can play Honest Abe) fighting to unite territories into a nation after crushing the Confederates in the Civil War. Finally you have the Lawman led by Wyatt Earp trying desperately to maintain some law and order in the West even if that means bending some rules to do so. There are other factions being released by Outlaw Miniatures on a regular basis to include: the Holy Order and Mercenaries. You know there is also going to be some Confederates being released in the future. This universe is going to be constantly expanding and will provide players with many options. So no matter what you favour, close combat, ranged combat, vehicles or even some light magic, it is in this game. Also, throughout the reading there are hints of some greater evil to come, so it will be interesting to see what the future brings!
So, you may be asking is “why should I invest in another game system? I already have plenty.” Believe me I understand where you are coming from, however I think Wild West Exodus hits a niche between a skirmish game and a larger scale game. So depending on what mood you are in you can play a small quick game or go all out with a large game between multiple players. I think you will find something for every different taste out there. Did I mention there is also animated undead and werewolves?
Where You Heading Pardner?
In the second part we will cover the assembly of the miniatures and the game play mechanics. We will also be covering a demo game. So strap on your six shooters, grab your trusty Winchester, and put the spur to your steed. Lets ride!
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