WBG Score: 8
Player Count: 3-7
Published by: Ludonaute
Robbing a train takes planning, a tactical mind, a good team, and time. Although, these days it seems that even time is a luxury modern day bandits don’t have anymore. So, to combat that we have Colt Super Express which will give us all of our train robbin’ banditry but in a fraction of the time. Which means that if we’re lucky we can still catch the 10:15 to Southend to spend our freshly robbed money in the arcades!
Every heist needs rules.
Set up by laying out a locomotive card and then behind it enough train cards for each player plus one. Each player takes a bandit and the four cards for that bandit (six if you're using the included expansion cards) Set up the players on the train cards as per the rule book and you’re ready to go.
Each round is played out in two phases. First each player picks three cards and places them in a stack face down in front of them. The order in which you lay them is important. Once done the first player reveals their top card and plays out the action on it. The round then goes round like that until every player has played out all of their three cards.
The actions themselves are pretty straightforward. Flip lets you change the direction you're facing. Move lets you move onto an adjacent car depending on what direction you’re facing. Change floor lets you…change….floor and fire lets you shoot the next bandit in your line of sight and on your floor. Any bandit that gets shot gets pushed to the adjacent train car and knocked down. The next card they play, whatever it is, gets used to stand them up and then your turn ends. Be careful though because if you get shot and you're in the last train car or the locomotive at the front then you fall off the train and you're out of the game.
At the end of the round the last car or caboose gets taken out of the game and the bandit furthest from the locomotive takes that card. Any bandits on the caboose are eliminated from the game. The game ends when either there is one bandit left on the train, in which case they win the game, or once the last train car is unhooked. If there’s more than one bandit on the locomotive then they compare the value on any train cards they have and the player with the most wins.
Super Colt Express
At the time of writing I’ve not played Colt Express (aside from one turn based game of Board game arena which was good, but turn based is not necessarily the way to play that game) If you don’t know, Colt Express is the big sister to this game which boasts a big 3D train and scenery and loot and a Marshall and more. Because I’ve not really played it I'm obviously not going to compare how the two stack up against each other.
What I do know is that Colt Super Express is a ton of fun proving that great things come in small packages. I think it would be all too easy to assume that because you’re removing the visual aspect that Colt Express is so well known for that it would lose some of the appeal. This game proves that the appeal of Colt Express definitely doesn’t lie in a 3D train.
A perfectly programmed robbery.
This is a programming game and I know that those types of games aren’t always for everyone. The opinions being that they are too chaotic and frustrating since whatever you plan very rarely plays out, and I get that. I don’t mind a bit of chaos in the right setting but I can understand how it can get frustrating over a longer game. Colt Super Express plays in about fifteen minutes, so any frustrations you may have with those games never have time to set in here. You only play three cards out of your four, flip them over, play them out then the round is done. The beauty of this of course means that you can embrace the chaos and just let yourself have fun with it and best of all, laugh. It doesn’t matter if you get shot off of the train two rounds in because it won’t be long before you set up and go again and trust me, you will want to reset it.
I love games that give you great moments and for as short as each game is, Colt Super Express gives you just. Watching each round play out is a lot of fun, it’s almost like watching a dance play out as people are manoeuvring about the train jumping up and down and spinning around. Seriously, it's like a western themed Strictly Come Dancing. Honestly though, it’s just really fun watching how each round play out. Especially when your daughter and niece conspire against you and you expertly duck out of the way and one ends up knocking the other off the train. It seems karma does exist?
Colt Super Express is a bit of a strange one. On one hand you're trying to plan your strategy and there is a strategy to plan here. Trying to get in your opponents heads to work out what they may or may not do so you can keep in the game. It’s a really fun puzzle as you’re to predict if they’re trying to play to avoid or to attack. In the case of the above scenario it was certainly to attack. So, you realistically want your plan to work and if it does then it feels great. On the other hand, sometimes it’s more fun when it doesn’t. Again this game can be all about the chaos and watching that chaos play out and just laughing, in a short game like this that can arguably be more fun.
In the box you'll also find two expansions. Each one is simply an extra card that you can add to each player's deck.
One is the Reflex card. When played, if you're laying down then you immediately get back up and shoot the next bandit in sight. If however you play it and you're standing up, then you fall down. I imagine it like the Three Stooges do a western train robbery.
The other one is the Horse card. When you play this you immediately move to the front of the train and face forwards. The best part of this card though is if you play this card immediately after being ejected from the train, your noble steed saves you and puts you back on the front of the train. It’s all very back to the future three.
Here's my advice: Never. Play. Without. These. They’re so much fun, easy to teach and add no real complexity when it comes to choosing cards. But given that they’re just two cards they add so much. The reflex card takes some of the sting out of being knocked down by being able to get up and retaliate. If you’ve got conspiring kids playing against you and you're pretty sure you're getting shot soon it’s fun to predict your vengeance. The horse is another great addition and again, if you predict mutiny (can you use that word in a western game?) and you deploy that card at the right time it can be a thing of glorious joy.
We have a small games bag which also comes with us when we go camping each year and there are some firm favourites that come out when we want something quick to play. I already know that this is going to be one of the first of those that are picked out. It plays great at all player counts and the higher player counts never lengthen the game by much and only add to the amount of fun you have while playing.