Reviews: Deadlands

Deadlands: Battle for Slaughter Gulch review

Deadlands: Battle for Slaughter Gulch is just that: a board game based on the Deadlands RPG. You are given a choice of six factions, and are tasked with taking over the titular town and its Ghost Rock supply. To do that, you have to mine for Ghost Rocks, buy or steal equipment, recruit/arrest/kill the townsfolk, and finish a randomly-chosen main objective or three smaller ones to end the game. Come out on top in points, and Slaughter Gulch is yours!

Each player is given a set of Action Disks, a minimap of the town, and a screen to hide their masterful plotting. Each round, they place down disks for each action they want to perform that round, and once everyone is done, they are revealed at once and performed in building order. While most actions are the same across all parties, each has a few unique abilities. The Agency can "Telegraph" to peek at upcoming cards, the Shamans and Hucksters can research spells, the Mad Scientists can invent Gatling Pistols and the like, etc. Your main tasks are to mine or gamble for Ghost Rocks (the game's currency), which you can then use to buy weapons and other items in the store. You can also recruit NPCs, as long as they are of the same Character Alignment or True Neutral. (Only the Blessed and Mad Scientists can recruit opposing alignments.) You then set out finishing Objective Cards, taking over buildings, and killing your way to the top.

While the game is actually pretty fun, it comes with some serious shortcomings. First, the figures are very poorly designed. While great to look at, their bases are way too small, and they'll go flying over at the slightest nudge of the table. Second, some of the Objective Cards are too based on the RNG being generous, especially if it involves Harrowing anyone. And third, the rulebook. Go online, download a fan version, and then burn the bastard. It's ugly, filled with impenetrable walls of text, and barely explains a damn thing; fine in a RPG, not so good in a board game. It also doesn't fill in anything on the Deadlands setting; were it not for this website, I wouldn't even know this was tied into a Pen-and-Paper.

In closing, it's a fun little game, it just needed some more refining before release.