If you haven’t played Western Legends, check my review of this 2018 kickstarter delivery – a very fun and heavily thematic western. However, if you are the deputy sheriff struggling to beat Jesse James and Billy the Kid, then here’s my thoughts on how to make sure you get more than just a fist full of dollars….
During the Game:
Mine – Bank – Cabaret; This is just a very powerful early game set up. Go to the mine, get the gold, drop it at the bank – score legendary points for each gold gained and deposited. Oh also get money – money you can spend at the cabaret to get more legendary points. One good round trip of this, and you have got yourself 6 legendary points. In a game that ends at 20 that’s a lot. The last leg of that could easily be swapped with the store though if you are investing in a slightly longer game!
Cattle – Mine; This is another good hustle. Shifting the cattle down to the railroad (probably get money), pop into the mine, and then start the above chain. Why add this step? Well, it’s all because the cattle step will give you a wanted or marshal points (see below) – just based off whether you take it to the station (good/marshal) or the other ranch (bad/wanted).
NOT Neutrality; Why get points on the Wanted or Marshal tracks… well, these have end game scoring, but more importantly that track would get you a legendary point every turn. Get a chance to rob the bank and you might push this to two a turn! This is unsustainable for other players though and so other players will need to choose marshal to stop the rogues running away with the game. However, you can only arrest a bandit if you are a marshal (from some other cause!). Don’t stay neutral – either you are seeking the points from being bad, or you need to be in the position to stop those players.
Get Moving; The best investment in this game is getting a good horse or upgrading a bad one. Four movement is huge as this will get you from one building to the next in most cases and that will mean you can earn money and use it in a single round – above just saving time this makes you much less likely to be robbed!
Poker – Cabaret; Okay, so the cabaret trick is good, but like the bank you can max out with 4 legendary points from this. How then to get more money – and honestly? – well the best way is to play poker. $50 from the bank for the winning hand is significant. Go in with $10 and walk out with enough for 2 legendary points – good trade! Oh and you can move there and spend it quickly!
Arresting Bandits; Arresting players is good, but when you need the first marshal point, or in the late game you need the extra marshal points to advance on the track, you should start to look at those bandits. They are sometimes more troubling to beat, but they aren’t that difficult – certainly if you are carrying good cards! If you are going to be marshal, use them.
Duelling; If you can beat a player in the last few turns, the two points from a duel is a big end game bonus. Also, look out for story events requiring two legendary points – this might be the time to grab two cheap points by fighting a disarmed opponent if there is one on the map. Okay it won’t make you popular, but it might make you win…
Getting Stories; Why get the stories? Each contributing player gets a bonus and sometimes the other players are punished. Better to be on the side that’s writing history… but don’t go too far out of your way.
Use the Sheriff; The sheriff is vicious and very good at weakening a tough opponent, or even taking out a weak one. If a player is collecting lots of points, the story events or the manhunt cards will move the sheriff and give you a way of stopping (or slowing) that player.
Draw Cards; Early game tactics will push you for money – invest in the character. Very late game, the money might seem attractive. However, I always opt for cards. Early game these cards can score you quick wins in fights or poker which will yield far more cash. Late game you just need to play them through (see below). So at the start of the turn – really ask yourself if that poker card is not worth more than $10 (cause that’s the trade…)!
Overload with Cards; You discard at the end of the round, that means you can always overload with cards and play down during the turn. When a king gives you 2 more actions, the 2 moves you long distances and the 10 can be traded as gold – there are great reasons to get more cards than you can keep, as you will likely be able to play them down.
Heal at the End; Every lost wound at the end of the game is a lost point – for $10 to get 3 points (if you are fully injured) that’s the best trade in the game. If you are injured mid game though – wait for the end unless you are really worried about your hand limit. Too many visits to the doctor will slow you down much more.
Race; Don’t forget, just like Scythe, you need to move quickly and manage the game length. Watch players take it slow and regret the two extra turns they needed at the game end.