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Finger Guns at High Noon

Will you lasso in some allies, form a posse, blow up your neighbors (and yourself) with a stick of dynamite, or draw on your opponent?

Published by Indie Boards & Cards, Finger Guns at High Noon is a fast and furious game of shootouts, fast draws, backstabbing, and trying to outwit your opponents.

Gameplay

Each player takes a player mat and places their health tracker at twenty. The ally deck is shuffled and one ally card is drawn and placed next to the deck face up.

Every round of the game has two phases. During phase one, players can discuss which action they will choose or guess aloud what they think other players will do. You can make deals, but do not have to follow through on them during the second phase. At any point, any player who does not have the sheriff’s badge can start the countdown and say “three, two, one draw!”. On draw, all players then perform one of the game’s six hand gestures. The player who did the countdown then takes the sheriff’s badge for the next round.

During phase two of the round, each hand gesture is resolved in the following order. First, the posse gesture is resolved: this is a thumbs up. If half or more of the alive players choose this action, than all living players who did not make the gesture lose five health, otherwise there is no effect.

For the saloon hand gesture, you must hold up two, three, or four fingers. If no one else holds up the same number of fingers, then you regain that much health.

If you point a finger gun at someone, that player loses two health. If you are the only player to make a lasso gesture, then you gain the ally card. Some allies have special abilities that trigger at once, while others grant you abilities that stay in play for the rest of the game such as giving you the ability to point finger guns at two players at a time or earning you two health whenever another player is killed. There is no limit to the number of allies a player can have. If there is no face up ally card at the end of the round, a new one is drawn.

If you hold up your index and little finger, this is the dynamite gesture. You lose one health but your two living neighbors each lose three health.

Finally, if your point four fingers directly at a player, this is the powershot. If you did not lose health to a finger gun or dynamite this round, the player you pointed at loses six points of health.

If you reach zero health, you die (you also lose any allies you may have). If you die before it is time for your hand gesture to be resolved, then it does not occur. If you die while that hand gesture is being resolved (say as a result of another player’s use of that gesture) your gesture is still resolved too.

All players who are dead become ghosts next round. Ghosts can only deal damage with the shot action and cannot regain health, but they can perform the lasso and saloon gestures in order to block the still living players.

The ghosts win as a team if they manage to kill all survivors. In a three to four player game, a survivor wins if he is the only player left alive at the end of the round. In a five or more player game, if there are one to two players left alive at the end of the round they win the game together.

Finger Guns at High Noon Components

Review

Finger Guns at High Noon is fast, chaotic, and can make for an excellent time. The phase each round where people can strategize, make deals, and discuss plans is fun and can lead to some excellent opportunities for mind games, and is energized by the fact that at any moment a player can start the countdown for the draw. Choosing when to call the draw is important: you always have to evaluate the game state and who exactly it benefits to have time to discuss.

This is a party game that works quite well at the higher player counts. With more players there are more actions you have to resolve, but the actions do not take very long to resolve, especially once everyone has mastered the rules of the game.

There are some really interesting aspects to the gameplay. The ally cards add a nice variety and can change your strategy based on their abilities. But the semi-cooperative bent to the win conditions also keeps things interesting. Ghosts have to win together but two survivors can win together as well. This all adds lots of layers to each player’s decisions as the game progresses.

The components are, overall, quite nicely designed. The artwork on the ally cards is great, and the player mats present the information for each hand gesture and how they resolve very clearly. The health trackers also fit on these mats nicely without much wear and tear. The only flaw in the component design is the size of the box. The game could easily be packed in a smaller box or come with a travel bag to make it more portable.

Finger Guns at High Noon is an excellent party game, with a perfect length, scales well across all player counts, no player elimination, and doesn’t take up much table space. There are interesting choices presented each round, it’s a ton of fun to try to predict what each player will do, and exciting to see how each showdown resolves in the heat of the moment.

Pros: No player elimination, really fun player interaction, fast rounds

Cons: Could be made more portable, could be overwhelming for more quiet players

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.