‘Colt Express’ board game review
By Ed Appleby, Senior Columnist
There is something exciting about the Old West. Even though most of what we think we know comes from the likes of John Ford and Sergio Leone—filmmakers, not historians—we have created a wild and fantastic world that rivals Tolkien. Who wouldn’t like to spend a little time in the world of sagebrush and six-guns?
Colt Express (2014) is a thematic planned-action game for two to six players designed by Christophe Raimbault and published by Asmodee. In the game, players are bandits on board the Union Pacific Express out of Folsom, New Mexico. Players utilize cards in their hands in order to plan the actions they wish to take, but both the environment and other players can interfere with those plans, making everything go awry. The play occurs on a constructed board of train cars with a cabin and a roof that the bandits can utilize, as well as special skills that each character possesses.
Like many programing games there is a lot of psychology and strategy involved, as you attempt to predict how your opponents will move and act. However, unlike other planned-action games, you see some of what the other players are planning, and the injuries you sustain add useless cards to your hand, which adds elements of deck building to the mix.
If I have one criticism of Colt Express, it is that it falls heavily into the stereotypes associated with the Old West genre. This is glaringly evident with Cheyenne, the native woman who has the special skill of “pickpocketing.” She also has a bit of a Tiger Lily look and plays a little too far into the “exotic savage” type. This isn’t too bad with the other character designs, with all other body types and races represented—even Belle, the “pretty one,” isn’t overly sexualized. Points for diversity, with one exception.
I loved this game. I found it fun and fast-paced, with rules that were complex enough to keep things interesting and weren’t so complicated as to bog down play. The strategies for gameplay are diverse and no game runs the same. All player types can find this game enjoying, especially families and groups of casual players. I would definitely recommend that you track this one down.