I don’t own this one so replay of this one maybe a bit tough but I was able to get one good play in and got a good feel for it. This isn’t the first Tiny Epic game that I have played which I feel is good to preface. I have only played Tiny Epic Galaxies which was very good. Let’s dive into a first play review of Tiny Epic Western.
Tiny Epic Western is set in the Wild West as the name would imply. In this one players will be acquiring buildings and commodities like railroads, wagons, and mines. These commodities will reward the player with the most in each commodity with victory points. Whoever has the most victory points at the end of the game wins.
The components for this one are very functional and impressive for the size of the game. The game is modular board with locations that you can place your workers on. Each location has purchasable buildings under them and poker cards in between each location. This in essence will create a wagon wheel look which really pulls the theme in on an unconscious level. The artwork on each card has a cool aesthetic which I can describe as cartoonish. By far my favorite component is the battle die that is rolled when you place a worker on a location with another player. These are six sided dice that are shaped like bullets. It’s definitely a highlight in an already deeply themed game.
During gameplay players will be going through phases that all seem very different. Players begin by taking two poker cards and keeping one. This precedes the worker placement round which players will put their workers on the location cards. Most of these locations will have immediate effects that the player can benefit if placed there or a more powerful effect that will trigger if there worker makes it to the next round. If another player has placed their worker in a location with another player then they have a duel. Each player rolls the bullet die with victory going to the highest roll. Players have the option to add to their roll by spending their resources or by revealing their poker cards value. The losing player is wounded and will miss out on the more powerful locations abilities. The next two rounds will grant players the ability to buy buildings at the locations that workers were placed with the resources they acquired. These buildings will have commodities associated that will provide victory points.
This gameplay is very dense. There is a lot going on that on the first round can be missed. I’m really impressed with the size of the game versus the level of complexity that they were able to attain. The balancing act of acquiring resources and spending them on the buildings and fighting can be quite profound. I also really like the poker hands that come into play when deciding who wins each locations bonus effect. My only complaint is that the gameplay can be difficult to manage on your first play as turn order fluctuates in each round depending on different game factors. It gets slightly confusing.
Overall I would say this game is a great little game to add to your collection. It’s small and dense which will really be appreciated by any heavy gamer with a desire to have a big collection. Some of the components seem novel which will really add to your overall gaming experience. I will say it should belong in a seasoned game group’s collection. You won’t be disappointed.