Last night my club started a Dead Man’s hand campaign and It was my turn to get stuck in. The game is very fast, violent and extremely cinematic. If you haven’t tried it and like westerns, then get it. It is designed as if each game is a scene in a western movie. Keeping with this idea, I had decided that I would either be lawmen or outlaws, depending on what the campaign was short of. I used characters from one of my two favourite westerns, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean or The Outlaw Josey Wales. Lawmen were required, so Roy Bean and his suspect marshals are on the prowl. Tonight, my gang of lawmen took out a band of renegade Indians. The contest was over three games, or scenes (well, four if you count the bit that set up the feud). One of my minions, Nick the Grub (a character in the film) had a duel with one of the Indians. The Indian shot his ear off, so justice was promised by the judge. In the first act, there was a shoot out between the judge accompanied by two marshals and two Indians. The Indians managed to see off the lawmen forcing them to withdraw.
In the next ‘scene’ the Indians got cocky and started shooting up the town, so Bean decided to put a stop to it, but again the renegades knocked the ragged “lawmen” back. However, there were no injuries this time. So, onto the final scene. This time, the townsfolk got involved. The cause of the problem was holed up in the undertaker’s shop, planning to bushwhack the law from above, but the undertaker shot him and damn near killed him. The undertaker in turn died for his trouble, but it gave the marshals the edge. The Indians attacked rushing the men in the street. Judge Bean was in his saloon watching the proceedings. Lucky Jim the bartender, was outside defending the saloon from a charging Indian, while Nick grappled with the chief. Big Bart Jackson, Bean’s right hand man, was lying in wait upstairs in the newspaper office.
At this point, the Judge pulled a master stroke. Taking the initiative he played a Joker card, which allowed him to swap the initiative cards of some of his gang members with the Indians. This allowed his men to act before any of the Indians. Armed with a shotgun, Lucky Jim stepped away from his assailant and fired both barrels at him. You can imagine the mess. Nick messed up and was badly injured, losing an eye, but the Judge came to his rescue and blew away the Indian chief. Bart kept shooting at the one in the undertaker’s forcing him to keep his head down and the last “brave” tried to sneak up and take pot shots at everyone. Lucky Jim had had enough, reloaded his shotgun and emptied it into this sneaky renegade. The varmint in the undertaker’s high tailed it out of town. As a result of this encounter, my little law enforcement group has a legend amongst their number with some rather mean abilities, Lucky Jim is extremely tough, making him unlikely to die. Nick is a half blind quick draw pugilist and the Judge has shares in a mine, a gunsmiths and he h the town doctor in his pocket, which will come in very useful. The game is played using a d20 for shooting and a d10 for combat. Cards decide initiative for the group and individuals and you have a hand of four cards where the special instructions are used. A particular suit is allied to your group – Lawmen use hearts, which can enhance things. The instructions are just things like allowing you to ignore cover or a free action or something similar. These can be trumped by your opponent if he wants, but the card has to be of the same value or higher. A very good system, not unlike Necromunda, but much better. One fellow in the campaign had two of his gang members killed, which is more the norm, apparently, but not in our games. The three games took about an hour to play. Image of one the official Great Escape Games DMH tie in figure sets.