Colt Express – Review

Colt Express is a Bandit Train game for 2-6 players aged 10+ RRP £27.99. This game is an award-winning board/card game with a bit of a difference.

We first reviewed Colt Express from Esdevium in November 2015. It is still a family favourite and one we have enjoyed revisiting now that we have a Monday night free to play games as a family. Play is fast and exciting and the boy is enjoying punching and shooting us off the train as much as he did before. Have a look and see what you think of this game which would make a great Christmas gift.

The box contains, 6 playing pieces and 6 sets of action cards. Marshal, Locomotive, 6 cartridges, 13 bullet cards, 17 story cards, 18 purses, 6 jewels, 2 strong boxes. Also assembly instructions game rules and 6 player profiles.

colt express

Colt Express sounded just the sort of game that my family would enjoy so I was interested to see what they would think to this different style of board game. The box looks fairly traditional but once you open it you will find that unlike other games it has no board. Instead you have to build the Colt Express train which will act as the playing platform for your pieces. There are 6 carriages, the Locomotive, as well as money, jems and even a few scene setting cacti. When you first set up this game it is worth noting that it will take some time and care freeing the pieces, to build the train cars. We found that if you tried to rush this process there was some damage to the playing pieces. The card is of very good quality, but it was almost impossible to avoid a few tears in the pieces. Assembly instructions are included and this took about half and hour to complete.

colt express board game - Copy

Once you have built the Colt Express Train it is worth having a good read through of the game rules. We decided to have a play through to get a feel for how the game worked and did find that the rules are quite complex. Once you have played a few times the rules become clearer and we found after two games we had worked out where we were going wrong. The basic idea of the game is to move your bandit playing piece around the carriages of the train using action cards, collecting as much money as you can. There is extra bounty to be earn’t for being sharpest shooter, and robbing the Marshal.

colt express game

You start the game buy choosing your bandit, each has a special power that comes into play when you get into the second part the “stealin’ phase” of the game. You set out the locomotive with the marshal and one of the strong boxes. You then need to add a carriage for each player. Each player has a set of 10 action cards, six bullet cards and a purse of $250 to start. Shuffle the 7 round cards and choose 4 to start your story as well as one end story card. Set up the train with the number of loot tokens indicated on each of the carriage floors. Choose a starting player and this person puts their bandit in the last carriage. Even numbered players go in the next carriage along, and odd numbers in the back. Now you are all set to start the first phase, the Schemin’.

colt express bandit game - Copy

Colt Express game play has two phases, Schemin’ and Stealin’ In phase one  you take it turn to lay action cards following the descriptions on the round cards. This is quite tricky to work out the first few times you play. There are additional rules, and this is the part where you have to concentrate on where you opponents end up!  Once all the cards are placed it is time for player one to read through the story in the “Stealin” phase. This is the fun part, as if you have “Schemed” correctly then you will be collecting the loot. Get it wrong and there is plenty of shooting into thin air! There are added events on some of the story cards meaning you need to think about where your bandit ends up at the end of a story too. At the end of the 5 parts to the story the Bandit with the most Loot, including shooting bonuses is declared the winner. In our case this was most often the boy, but I have managed to win back one game.

This is only a brief explanation of the game rules as there are additional play rules for experts, 2 player games and games with more players. Once we had mastered the basic play Colt Express has been a great way to spend a wet cold evening. It is a game that the boy feels he has no disadvantage with his age, with both an element of luck and mastery needed. The added special abilities of the bandits mean you tend to find a favourite player and stick to them. We had fun banning dad from his favourite player Ghost, or playing with players we hadn’t tried before. Colt Express is best played in a group of 3 or more and I can imagine is great fun in a bigger group, the age recommendation is about right as you need to have a good understanding of the complex rules and cause and effect each action card has on a player. There have been plenty of laughs as well with Colt Express as sometimes you have no option but to shoot or punch nothing, or even better being shot by the marshal and not ending up on the part of the train you thought. We even managed to persuade Granny to give it a try, and despite not really understanding fully what was happening, she said she could see it was good fun and something a bit different.

We have reviewed this game as part of the Bloggers Board Game Club #BoardGameClub

Colt Express is already winning awards, and we agree it is a great fun family game. Esdevium distribute this game in the uk, and you can find out more by visiting their Facebook and twitter pages. Colt Express is available to buy now from Waterstones, or Amazon. Have a look at my Amazon affiliate link below