From Bounty Hunter to Marshall: A Preview of D6 Shooter

D6 Shooter

Are you the roughest, toughest cowboy in the Wild West? Prove it! There are bandits causing havoc in town and you can earn money and power from the townsfolk by bringing them to justice. The more you bring in, the better reputation you’ll gain and the more money you’ll earn to purchase helpful items from the General Store. Gain enough of a reputation to increase your rank to Marshall and you’ll be the most famous cowboy in town!

D6 Shooter, by Epic Scale Games, is a new casual game seeking your support on Kickstarter. But is it worth your hard-earned money? Read on to find out what we think.

Gameplay

To begin the game, each player is given a card that indicates his rank. The starting rank is Bounty Hunter, with additional ranks of Deputy, Sheriff, and Marshall. The first player to reach the Marshall rank wins the game.

The game includes a large deck of game cards, as well as a small deck of General Store cards. At the beginning of the game, 3 General Store cards are placed face up on the table. On each turn, the current player flips over a game card. If the card is an event, the action is carried out and the turn ends. If the card is a bandit, he can roll and re-roll the 6 dice up to 3 times to try to capture the bandit. The bandit is captured if the suits rolled (hearts, diamonds, clubs, or spades) match the pattern of the 2 to 5 suits displayed on the card. Jokers are wild and can fill in for any suit. Skulls, if rolled, render the die unusable.

If a bandit is captured, the player can choose to press his luck by continuing to draw cards and reuse all non-skull dice to roll for more bandits. However, if he ever is unsuccessful in capturing a bandit after 3 rolls (or has insufficient dice to continue due to skulls), all bandits for the turn are lost, even if they were previously captured. If a player decides to end his turn, captured bandits are locked in “jail” in front of the player. Some game cards cause captured or jailed bandits to escape, so continuing to try for more bandits always comes with a risk.

Each bandit has a monetary reward for his capture, as well as 1 to 2 reputation points that are gained when he is put in jail. Money can be traded in for General Store cards, which offer helpful offensive and defensive abilities. Reputation points are traded for higher ranks at the beginning or end of a turn. Higher ranks gain the ability to re-roll a certain number of skulls and lead the player closer to victory.

The game ends as soon as a player reaches the Marshall rank, with this player being crowned the winner.

D6 Shooter Components

Review

There is a lot to love about this simple, press-your-luck dice game. In fact, D6 Shooter has everything that a great casual game should have: exciting theme, nice artwork, quick and accessible gameplay, a clear goal, interesting tactical choices, and (most importantly) it is a lot of fun! The strategic element is light enough to allow for good conversation in parallel with gameplay, which is always a plus in my book.

If you like dice games, you’ll find that this game succeeds admirably in this genre. The “re-roll 3 times” mechanic is obviously familiar, being included in popular games like Yahtzee and King of Tokyo. But the ability to press your luck to capture as many bandits as you can really adds a level of excitement to the game.

As indicated earlier, there is always a risk when you keep drawing cards, even if you still have all 6 dice available. For instance, you might just run into an Escape or Jail Break card to lose much or all of your progress. However, careful planning and spending of reward money can help you put in place some good defense against such cards, or help you hinder the progress of other players. But choose carefully—spending your reward money means sacrificing the benefit of reputation points, which are ultimately needed to win the game.

The prototype we tested was of high quality and seemed quite polished. However, our first play through of the game was affected by some ambiguities in the rulebook, which we addressed with the publisher. Fortunately, it appears that the publisher is committed to making improvements to the game rules prior to publication.

The name, D6 Shooter, is an interesting play on words of "6 Shooter" that most gamers should understand. However, the term "D6" may be meaningless to many casual gamers, who don’t normally need to distinguish between different types of dice. It’s not necessarily a problem, though it may cause some people in the target audience to scratch their heads at first.

After experiencing the game multiple times, I can highly recommend checking out D6 Shooter, now on Kickstarter until September 3, 2015. As far as we're concerned, it is a game that will not disappoint!

Pros: Fun press-your-luck mechanics, exciting theme, interesting tactical choices, nice artwork

Cons: The name may be a little confusing for casual gamers

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.

Nice review! For my two cents, I agree that "D6 Shooter" isn't a great name. For starters, I didn't get the 'six shooter' reference until you mentioned it. And even though I grew up playing D&D, I agree that 'd6' is a weird term to be throwing into a casual game. When I saw 'D6 Shooter', I immediately assumed that it was a single-genre RPG of some sort (cf. "Boot Hill" by TSR).

For me, "Six Shooter" would be a better name. And I bet we could brainstorm some more...