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This is a fast paced, fast play, quickdraw game of life and/or death in the Olde Wilde West.

There are 6 sets of cards, colour and picture coded, that feature the most prominent folk of America back in the late 1800's
Cowboy, Desperado, Drifter, Madam. Kid and Sherriff,  (have you notice what a peculiar word Sheriff is? The game spells it as 'Sherriff' I spell it as 'Sheriff' I have seen it as 'Sherrif'  'Sherif' and the easiest of them all 'Marshall' ). Players get one of these character card sets and the matching die (of the same colour).

Each die has slightly different faces that can be rolled which account for the skills and abilities of their owning characters.

Cards are referred to as 'Bullets' and each player begins with Six, selected from their personal set. These are looked at by the player, making sure no other players see what they have chosen, and laid face down in front of the owning player in a space where all players can reach them - this means every player can reach every other player's cards.

Although it's for six players gunfights are usually like Duels between 2 players, facing each other at high noon (or high tea) 20 paces away with only a dusty main street between them. The first player to flip over one of their cards goes first and then it is the opponent's turn. When certain cards are drawn they may go off immediately.

If a Red 'Draw' card is flipped over it signifies a shot at the opponent and both players now attempt to be the first to affect the non-firing player's bullets (cards). The opponent has to try and turn over one of their own cards whereas the firer has to just be the first to touch an opponent's face-down card. Like any old Saturday-night-gunfight in the Wild West (or Manchester) the quickest to draw is the fastest to fire.

It all gets a bit slappy and messy, but that's a major part of the fun in 'grab games', well that and dodging getting fingernails clawing you.

There is also a Memory game within the speed play as it is up to the players to remember which cards they have played face down in front of them and the position they are in.

Revealing different cards offers different options and actions. These are often activated with dice rolls and other cards. It's quite crazy and frustrating and possibly the most manic 10 minutes of gaming you will play this year.

SIX GUN SHOWDOWN has a lot of support, having reached its Kickstarter Goal in a fairly short time, and with the enthusiasm of the designer, Tom Lovewell (as seen on display at UKGE this June), this is a nifty game in a small card deck box that should see a lot of playing over the next year - there are a hell of a lot of 10 minutesies in 12 months. 

No matter how many players there are, Gunfights should take place between only 2 of them at a time; this is a Quickdraw gundown not a skirmish war. Though having said that we did try emulating the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, though with less characters than who really took part - it was an hilarious error on our part, stupidly chaotic with hardly anyone knowing what we were doing or who we were shooting at - hands, arms and bullets (cards) flying everywhere at once, it was amazing that none of us got hurt to be honest.

There are elements of 'Snap' and several 'Grab Games' and players with good imaginations can 'see' the whites in their opponents eyes and the droplets of sweat perspiring on their foreheads as the each do anything they can to get the upper hand and come out of the gunfight unscathed. There are many different options than just the Draw card - Focus (for accuracy) Reach (for speed) Distract (to put off an opponent) Flinch (chance of improving Speed and Accuracy) Bluff (modifies an opponent's Speed or Accuracy) Double-Bluff (similar to the Bluff card but twice over)  Resolve (helps ignore distractions) and Re-Roll (as it says, dice can be rerolled).

SIX GUN SHOWDOWN is nicely produced with some excellent artwork on the cards and an eye-catching western scene on the box. The box itself could do with being a little stronger considering the battering it is going to take being pulled out and stuffed into pockets daily, but the cards themselves are good for some hard play.

At £16.00 the cost is obvious in the hi-impact dice, the art and the cards, but I know a lot of folk will baulk at paying that for a 10 minute card game, not unless they have played it first.

Congratulations are in order though to Redwell Games for going it alone on Kickstarter without the backing of a publishing company behind them.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015