Games Gazette Logo


A BLUE ORANGE/COILEDSPRING GAMES 3-5 Player Game (8+) 40 minutes - 60 minutes  Designed by Jérémy Pinget with Illustrations and Art by Sylvain Aublin


There is a Wild West flavour to the game with its themed 3D models of the Steam Train and the Riverboat and the main building on the map being Pappy's old Ranch House.

PAPPY WINCHESTER is a strategic Bidding and Building Game with Plots of Pappy's Land (19 in total) coming under the Auctioneer's Hammer randomly, their Plot number being drawn from the mixed face down Plot Tokens.


The Boat and Train are cleverly designed and, although they are simply markers per se, they look impressive and give a very pleasant visual feel to the set-up. With the board being split diagonally by a bright blue river, into a sandy desert-like triangle and a lush green triangle, the Riverboat and Train are run up and down the respective River and Rail Track by the players; the plots of land they are adjacent to each round gain advantages for the players who have bought and claimed them.

As each player has 2 Objective cards specific to them (dealt randomly and secretly at the start of each game) and there are other Objectives which pay out cash, in ever increasing amounts, players are generally looking to buy specific Plots when available by auction, either to work towards completing their Objectives (or a Cash Objective) or to prevent opponents from linking land Plots by ownership.

Bidding at auction is by player order until all players have passed - passing in a round means you cannot jump in again later in the round. The highest bidder, who has to have the amount bid immediately available, places one of their markers on the space just bought and gains the Bonus Token on that Plot. They then have to pay out the money they bid, equally to the other players. This is neat as it provides the other players with an additional income of money. Any odd money that cannot be split equally - all money is in $1000 notes - is placed on the Saloon space. This money comes into play during the game when a Bonus Token (Saloon) is found on a bought Plot - you need to read the rules carefully on this as there is a slight twist (page 3 of the UK rulesbook, second column highlighted in brown). 

When there is an auction that gets down to just two players bidding one of them may challenge the other to a Duel (only one Duel Token per Duel). They do this by using the Duel Token given to them at the beginning of the game - once declared, a Duel Token is returned to the box out of play. To complete the Duel one of the players not involved takes the two Duel cards and secretly shuffles them placing them face down on the table. The player who called the Duel has first choice and takes one without looking at it, the opponent takes the other. They turn them over simultaneously - one card shows a 'BANG' the other a White Flag. The player with the 'BANG' wins the auction, pays the necessary amount to the bank and buys the Plot they were bidding on. The losing player dodges the bullet, but in doing so loses the Duel and thus the auction; at least they keep their Duel token - if they hadn't used it previously. The fact that each player can only initiate a Duel once takes away the opportunity of players turning the game into a Duel Challenge every turn just because they can. There are games where the Token idea hasn't been thought of or initiated and players can just call out every round - these games usually begin as a bit of fun and end up being a bit of a yawn - PAPPY WINCHESTER is not a game you will find yourself yawning at when playing.

There are similarities between PAPPY WINCHESTER and a number of other games and most, if not all, of the mechanics have been used before. However it is not any specific mechanic that makes this such an enjoyable game it is the combination of all the 'what you can and cannot do's' that keep this rip-roaring 'find the inheritance race' of a game belting along at a true fun pace.

Thee are just three pages of rules, presented on 9in x 9½in glossy paper. Of these the three pages, the first is about 80% Set-Up and the third is about 70% End of Game Scoring, leaving just a mite over one page of anything like rules.

This truly a game for families with just a hint of strategy & tactics to make core gamers find the secrets hidden within. Thoroughly enjoyable to play, beautiful and colourful to look at, and strong decorative pieces that once assembled have specific spaces in the box to keep them whole - no need to weaken them by disassembling them at the end of each play.

Bidding is fun as you can (as long as you have the money) push the price up and along because you know that when you drop out you will receive some of it (and as long as you drop out before the highest bidder does and leaves you having to spend your cash on a Plot that isn't particularly useful to you. The Plots away from the Rail tracks and River's edge are just as important, if you have the right Objectives. I also like the fact that the first player to complete and claim an open Objective takes all the cash underneath it even though you are mainly swapping higher endgame value for now-game cash.                      

Interesting Note: On the BLUE ORANGE publishers site it clearly states this is a game for 2-5 players whereas the box says a definite 3-5 players. I would suggest that the box rather than the website is correct. Either way this is a really good fun game !

This game is a merry romp and with prices like these found online: Amazon USA has PAPPY WINCHESTER at $22.99 whereas ZATU in the UK has it at £17.61 down from £25.49. On today's boardgame prices the £17.61 is a very fair, very good price. 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021