In the Wild West, only the most ruthless of outlaws can pull off a train heist. Can you avoid Marshal Samuel Ford and leave the train with the most money? Watch your back, because everyone on the train is gunning for you.
In Colt Express, players fill the role of bandits aboard the Union Pacific Express filled with bags of cash and precious gems. In the engine of the train is the Marshal who is guarding a suitcase containing $1,000. Each player has the same 10 cards at their disposal at the start of the game. These cards allow the player to move between train cars, climb on top of the train, punch or shoot another player, pick up valuable items or move the Marshal.
Everyone starts a round with a hand of 6 cards. Players take turns playing a card into a single stack according to the round card. Everyone is essentially “programming” an action one after another.
It’s so important to pay attention to what cards are being played by the other players. Some rounds will have you play cards face down as the train goes through a tunnel. This adds a great twist during a round and keeps everyone at the table guessing.
When a player punches another player, they drop cash or jewels and go flying into an adjacent train car. When you shoot another player, you’re adding an unplayable card to their deck that now takes up space. The more times a player is shot, the more likely they are to draw one of these unplayable cards. When you’ve been shot over and over during a game, it can put you in a helpless position. When 4 of your 6 cards are trash, those last rounds can be absolutely pointless. The player that fires the most bullets also earns a $1,000 bonus at the end of the game.
The Best Laid Plans
No matter how well you plan, something is bound to throw a wrench in your plans. This is what makes Colt Express so much fun. You can move into a train car filled with money, but another player punching you into an adjacent car can throw the plan out the window.
When a plan actually comes together perfectly, it can feel so rewarding! A big part of Colt Express is working within the confines of the cards in your hand and your surroundings on the train. This is also the most limiting part of the game at the same time. A bad hand of cards means you might not be able to move, pick up loot or get revenge like you planned.
Playing the Marshal card allows you to move the Marshal one space vertically or horizontally. When the Marshal enters the same car as another player, it forces them to move and take a bullet card that now takes up space in that players deck.
Colt Express really shines when players are stealing from one another and trashing the plans of the other players.
Top Notch Components
Every time we have Colt Express on the table, people stop to watch. The game includes an incredible 3D cardboard train where all the action takes place. You can set up the table with cardboard cacti, rocks and plants that add to the scene. Each aspect of the game from the outlaw meeples to the different player boards are impressive.
When you first open Colt Express, be warned, building the cardboard train will take some time. Punching out each piece, making sure they fit just right and not screwing this up will test your patience. The box is set up so that you’ll never have to break down the train once it’s built.
Colt Express has a rich theme and it’s been a great fit for our family. The kids ask to play the game on a regular basis and it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to finish a game. Teaching the game is pretty simple and it’s definitely one that could be an introduction to modern board games.
I really like how easy it is to adjust the rules depending on the players involved. Each character has a special ability that can be used or ignored. The game scales well between 3 and 6 players and is a ton of fun to play. Colt Express has been a welcomed addition to our game shelf and I’m sure it will be hitting the table for years to come.
Now it’s time to buy some expansions and a new cowboy hat.
You can find Colt Express in your local game shop or by ordering it on Amazon today.
- Great western theme and fantastic components
- Simple to pickup and teach
- Programmable movement works very well
- A bad hand of cards can be very limiting
- Moving meeples is frustrating for people with big hands