It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a game with as much commitment to its theme as Colt Express.
A 3D game like this could have been a gimmick but, implemented as it is, the models become an integral part of the game.
Players play a selection of criminals out to hold up a train, with the game fighting back in the form of the Marshal. Who can finish the game with the most ill-gotten gains?
Colt Express has a really interesting mechanic for deciding how players move around the board – in this case the 3D steam-train loaded with valuables. Moves are selected in advance of the round taking place.
To do this, a scenario is produced before each round, telling players how many movements to select and whether movement cards are placed face down or face up on the table.
Players can select from various movements and actions from moving up, down (jumping from the roof of the train to its interior), and forwards and backwards along the length of the train. They can punch, shoot, loot, and move the Marshal.
In this way, a series of actions is selected, one player after another. Players know where their character starts off, and from there decide, for instance, ‘in my first move I’ll need to move back to the previous carriage; then shoot another player before looting the carriage.’
Meanwhile, the other players are doing the same, and all players alternate in their placing of their action cards; player 1 decides, then player 2, back to player 1, etc.
So you might think you know where your character will end up, but thanks to a well-placed punch from another player you weren’t expecting, you end up moving to an empty carriage and looting thin air.
This programming mechanism makes for a tense and often genuinely funny time, as you wait for the moves to be played out at the end of the turn.
Is it good with two players?
It’s certainly not the same game with two players as with three or four. The two player mode is simply doubling up on characters so players control a team instead of individuals, so the dynamic is different.
If you’re happy with this method, a fairly common way of turning a multi-player game into a two-player, you’ll be fine.
Certainly Colt Express is worthy of a place in your collection, even if only for those times when you have a third player in your group. It’s also a great one for kids, the 3D models really bring the theme to life.
The game’s official webpage is here.
Watch the Dice Tower review here.