Some years ago, I ran a game of The Rules with No Name that was vaguely reminiscent of the film "The Magnificent Seven". If you're interested then the outcome can be seen here. Last week I decided to do something very similar at the Helensburgh games club. This is what happened:
The game setup was very similar to the previous version, but not quite identical, as follows:
We had 3 players, [plus me, running the bad guys], so each player controlled 2 Americanos. There was a 7th Americano figure; this was held in reserve to replace the first hero to be lost [there's always one who gallops in to help his friends after the battle has started, having initially said that he wanted nothing to do with the fight!].
All of the 7 attackers were either Legend or Shootist class ["level 4" or "level 3", for anyone who doesn't know The Rules with No Name]; the banditos were all either Gunman or Citizen ["level 2" or "level 1"].
I decided to keep things simple and not use Nerve tests:
- The Americanos would continue to fight as long as they were alive.
- A Citizen-class bandito would be put out of action by a single wound of any type.
- A Gunman-class bandito would be out of action after 2 wounds - assuming that the first hit wasn't fatal.
To give the Americanos even more of an edge, I included a Bystander card in the event deck. My initial thought had been that this would give a turn to whoever had been the longest without one [i.e the character whose activation card was not drawn for the longest period]. However, after just a couple of turns this was obviously not working well; it was very hard to work out who should get the action. Instead we changed it so that the players could choose between them which of the Americanos should get the action from the Bystander card; this worked much better.
There were 6 buildings in the town:
- A bandit would appear from a random building at the start of every turn - unless the indicated building had been "cleared". If the building had been cleared then no bandito would appear that turn.
- To clear a building, an Americano needed to spend 2 actions at the front door without being involved in a fight.
Obviously, when [if!] all the 6 buildings had been cleared then no more bandits could appear and the game would end. Victory would then be determined thus:
- If more bandits escaped off the board than there were Americanos still alive then the bandits would win. In this case, the banditos could raise another gang and continue their life of crime.
- If fewer bandits escaped than the number of surviving Americanos then the Americanos win. The heroes could hunt down any escaped banditos and bring them to justice, or perhaps to an unmarked grave.
- If the numbers were equal then it would be a draw. Nobody wins...
First blood went to Black Bart. He saw a bandito trying to take cover and ran up the main street after him before shooting him down.
This stirred things up a bit; banditos started to appear from windows and doors all over the town.
Too much happened too quickly for some of the characters. A Mexican rifleman appeared out of a doorway behind Emmett, took aim and shot him in the back. Emmett collapsed in the middle of the street with a serious head wound.
In the centre of the town, Blondie and Black Bart traded shots with a pair of banditos who had appeared from the sheriff's office. Blondie got his man, but Black Bart was shot dead by his opponent!
At about the same time, a couple of banditos appeared out of the saloon. Preacher Adams didn't seem to notice them as he strode up the street, but the bad guys saw him. One pistol shot was all that was needed to fell the Americano, badly wounded and unconscious.
Blondie got revenge on the man with the rifle, but another bandito appeared immediately from the sheriff's office. This new bad guy was singularly inept: he tried to shoot the hero but jammed his gun spectacularly. For several turns thereafter, he tried to fix it while the Americano took deliberate shots at him; all of which missed. I guess that Blondie was laughing too hard to shoot straight!
About this time, a lot of brawling started to take place. First up was Jesse; the big man had approached the Dry Goods store to try to clear it when a bandit appeared from the inside. Now here's the thing: Jesse is a hand-to-hand specialist. It only took a single attack to leave the Mexican sprawled in the dirt, unconscious.
Sheriff Roberts was also trying to clear a building. He unloaded his shotgun rather messily into one bandito and charged into melee with another. Neither could get the upper hand for some while. Even when a second bandit joined in, the best they could do was knock Roberts down, once. Eventually, the Americano triumphed and knocked out both adversaries, but this took much of the rest of the game.
Remember Emmett? He had been shot very early in the game, but finally came around and staggered to his feet. Unfortunately, this was just as Two-Gun Rafael came out of a nearby building. The bandito blazed away and amazingly rolled two '6's and two '1's for each gun. He ran out of ammunition, but scored four hits on the poor Americano to add to the existing head wound. We all held our breath as the damage was resolved; amazingly Emmett was still standing (though he was swaying a bit from blood loss and couldn't really use either arm).
So, this was the situation towards the end of the game:
- Sheriff Roberts was wrestling with 2 banditos, whom he eventually defeated.
- Jesse put paid to Two-Gun Rafael and then cleared the bank.
- Blondie held the middle of the town. Having put a number of banditos out of action near the sheriff's office, he shot one of the gunmen on the saloon balcony. It was decreed that this casualty did the classic "fall off a high place whilst clutching a chest wound" dive to the street below.
- Preacher Adams was still unconscious; he had lain there for most of the game.
- Deputy Rex had been pinned down behind an outhouse by the gunmen on the saloon balcony for most of the game.
- Emmett staggered from one building to another, checking that they were clear of bandits. He was so badly hurt that he couldn't do much else, but still wanted to be useful...
Just as Emmett reached the gun shop, two fresh banditos appeared from within. They must have been scared by the bloodied, corpse-like appearance of the Americano as they failed to hit him in several rounds of melee. Eventually, Sheriff Roberts came to assist and beat up the bad guys, thus allowing Emmett to clear yet another building.
Meanwhile, Blondie still hadn't cleared the sheriff's office. As he was about to attempt it, yet another pair of banditos came out of the door [what is this - a clown car? Just how many bad guys are in there?].
- Blondie was shot by one opponent but used his Hard as Nails skill to ignore the hit; he then killed his attacker.
- Jesse attacked the other Mexican, but astonishingly the bandito felled the big guy and gave him a nasty wound. However, seeing the [finally!] recovered Preacher Adams running up the road screaming about hellfire and damnation, this last bandito took to his heels and ran for it.
The bandit had almost made it out of the town when the Preacher came thundering after him, intending that not even one enemy should escape.
Adams must still have been suffering from his earlier wound, though. In a brief scuffle, Cesar swung his rifle as a club and split the Americano's skull open, before heading off into the desert.
At this point, we called the game. All the buildings had been cleared and although there were several unconscious banditos lying about the town, we were certainly not going to play on just in case any of them ever woke up (and were promptly executed?).
The Americanos won quite handsomely, by the victory conditions laid out before. Five of the seven were still alive, whereas only one bandito escaped. But they weren't unscathed:
- Sheriff Roberts: unhurt
- Deputy Rex: lightly injured (?)
- Emmett: very badly injured indeed: hit multiple times on the head and both arms.
- Preacher Adams: dead.
- Black Bart: dead.
- Blondie: shot, but not bothered by the wound.
- Jesse: badly injured.
Depending on your view of Old West battlefield medicine (i.e. whether you think that the badly-injured characters would survive!), the Americanos lost between 2 and 4 of the original seven.
Note that I didn't document every bandit death in this account; that would just have been tedious. Also note that bandit figures were recycled, so it's not necessarily the same guy in all the pictures.
Putting all the extreme violence aside, it was a fun game, enjoyed (I think) by all the participants!