Dungeons and Dragons styled combat in an Old West themed board game.
|Designer(s)||Dwight Cenac II||Artist(s)||Mikel Cañizares, Giovanni Spadaro||Publisher||
White Label Games
Back in high school, a friend came up with a game where players use themed weapons with the goal to defeat your opponents or reach a set number of points/kills. We would take turns traveling across the maps and hunt each other down in Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) styled turn based combat. When I first looked over the concept of High Noon, I was immediately taken back to those days.
The overall concept is pretty straightforward. You control a posse in the Wild West, and you are trying to defeat all of your opponents or have the most points after a set number of rounds. You will collect loot, which will provide you benefits throughout the game. The map is modular so each game you can create a unique setup.
High Noon is on Kickstarter until April 4th, 2021; the first 4,000 copies of the base game is already boxed and ready to ship out in May. Let's see what they are offering to backers within the base game.
Box and Components
While this is a preview, we were provided with an actual copy of the full game. The game is packaged very well within a very thick cardboard box with a nice plastic insert that keeps most of the components nicely in place. While I really like the plastic insert, there are some places it could have been improved. Unfortunately, while there is plenty of space for the cards, they are all in one big open area and will get mixed up pretty easily; I feel like the space could have been slots to fit the individual decks of cards. There are tokens under the cards currently, but there is a plenty of space under the character sheets that could have housed these tokens instead. Overall, it is a very good insert that could have been slightly better and planned to fit some expansion content.
The game includes the following components:
- 4 Decks of Posse Cards: Within the base game, there are 4 posses that players will choose between. These include Sheriff Garrett & Deputy Gates, Elsu's Warband, Colonel Rodgers' Rough Riders, and the LeRoy Gang. Each posse will have a deck of cards unique to that group.
- 14 Character Sheet: Each posse contains a set of characters with different stats and even the posse's have different a number of characters, which likely balance out based on their stats and play style.
- 14 Miniatures: There are plastic miniatures for each character; the miniatures are a single color and color-coded based on their posse.
- 12 Map Tiles: The single-sided map tiles will allow players to create different setup. The map tiles have a grid used for movement and counting ranges. Tiles also contain obstacles that will impact the players movement and actions.
- 18 Loot Crates: Loot Crates will be placed on green squares on map tiles as well as additional spaces per player's choice. Once a player claims the Loot Crate, they will draw a Loot Cards of the type shown on the Crate.
- 102 Loot Cards: These will allow players to find items that will aid them in the form of a new weapons, armor, rations for healing, or something else.
- 61 Chips in 3 Different Colors: There are 3 types of chips that will be used for tracking different aspects of the game:
- Red: Tracks help on the character sheet.
- Blue: Tracks use of loot cards and cards with timers.
- Green: Tracks poison and map effects.
- 40 Gold Bar Tokens: These are points awarded to players when they deal damage or kill a character. This is what is used to determine the winner in a standard game.
- Clock Board: Used to keep track of the current round and is oddly not mentioned in the components section of the rules.
- High Noon Map/Poster: Another component not listed in the rules, but this may simply be a poster to display and is included with the game.
The miniatures are pretty good. You can definitely see some detail on them, but they are certainly not as details as your D&D minis or other miniature from board games in the relative price point. Each model is different in some way; even the ones in the Leroy game have slight differences to distinguish them from each other. I am sure a nice coat of paint on the minis will make them look even better, but I could also see those with 3D printers making some fan based models for their game.
Cards come in three varieties:
- Basic: Used for attacking and defending. They have a gunshot explosive symbol in the upper left (Attack) and a shield symbol in the lower right (Defense). These are only usable by the character depicted on the card.
- Special: These provide specific character(s) a unique ability that is described on the card. The abilities can be special attacks, healing, extra movement, or even support actions.
- Loot: These can include weapons, gear, consumables, and ammo. These cards can be used by any player, but some weapon mod cards only apply to compatible weapons.
Basic and Special cards come from posse decks and are placed into a player's discard pile that will be shuffled once their deck runs out. Loot cards are found within Loot Crates and are discarded once fully used.
Speaking of cards, the card quality is pretty good. I wouldn't say amazing, but they should hold up reasonably well. Unfortunately, I would recommend sleeves if the insert would allow it, which is doesn't.
The character sheets are slightly thinner card stock and seem slightly out of place when compared to the other quality components in the game. Luckily, these are not handled much so that could be the reason why they aren't as nice as the rest of components.
The map tiles are not your traditional card board; they are some sort of plastic/polystyrene material, which feels great. They are very flexible and should hold up very well overtime and are easily cleanable. The graphics on the tiles are also very clean and look great on the material. The map tiles are single sided through, which is a slight let down. It could be a limitation of manufacture these types of tiles. Overall through, they are very good.
As a whole, the components you get in the game are pretty good for the game's entry price.
The overall gameplay is pretty straight forward. Each player will control their entire posse on their turn by first moving them, then using actions, and drawing 3 cards before moving onto the next player's turn.
- Each player will select which Posse they want to use and collect all components for that Posse (minis, character sheets, deck, map tile).
- Shuffle your Posse deck and place it in front of you. Draw 6 cards from your deck, but don't look at them until gameplay begins.
- Players collectively create a map using the selected Posse's Map Tile and 4 additional Map Tiles; there is no hard rules for building the map other than each map should be connected in such a way all maps can be accessed via the grid.
- Players will place their minis on their Posse's Map Tile.
- Shuffle each of the Loot Decks and Loot Crates face down (crates should show "Looted" face up).
- Place Loot Crate tokens on all Green Squares on the map; players will each take turns laying left over Crates on spaces at least 4 squares away from player's minis and other Loot Crates. Stop placing Crates if there are no additional legal places for them to be placed. Flip up all of the Crates so everyone will know what type of item is within each.
- Unused components should be pushed to the side.
Players should decide whether they want to play 12 rounds with the winner being declared by having the most gold OR play until only one posse remains. Gameplay is otherwise the same except for game length.
The Leroy Gang goes first, if in play (LEROOOYYYyy!!!); otherwise, decide based on your preferred method.
On a player's turn, they will perform movement and actions for all of their posse before the next players turn begins. These actions must be performed in order, and once an action is performed, no additional movement may be made unless a played cards say otherwise.
- Each character has a Speed on their Character Sheet; during the movement phase, players may move their characters a number of spaces up to that characters Speed value. Valid movement are orthogonally adjacent squares. Passing through obstacles uses two speed, and other map elements may be passable with some drawbacks.
- Each character in the posse receive one action they may perform from the actions below:
- Play a Card
- Posse cards are used either for their attack or defense value or for the abilities listed on them (basic and special cards). When playing a card for the attack value, combat begins (I will explain that in a section below). If cards are used for their special abilities, follow the instructions on the card such as healing your character or perfecting free movements/attacks.
- Loot a Crate
- Unlooted crates will contain items the characters can collected. When adjacent to a crate, draw three cards from the deck that matches the symbol on the crate, select one card to keep, discard the remaining cards, and flip the crate token over to the looted side as it will remain an obstacle on the map.
- Loot a Body
- When adjacent to a dead body token, claim any/all of the loot that remains.
- Equip an Item
- Some items may be equipped to the character; equipping items are marked by placing a blue poker chip on the item.
- Pass an Item
- Any number of items can be traded from one character to one adjacent character. One way trades only.
- Drop an Item
- As a free action, any number of items may be dropped and are removed from the game.
- Play a Card
- Each character in the posse receive one action they may perform from the actions below:
- Draw Cards
- The final action players take is to draw 3 cards. If drawing cards would put you over 12 cards, you must discard down to 9 cards before drawing these 3 cards.
When a character deals damage on their turn to another character, one point is awarded. Whenever a character kills another character (regardless when attacking or defending), three points are awarded, but they must survive the attack to receive the gold.
Once a player has initiated combat, attack and defense defenses must be made, but this is calculated easily. Some attacks must be made while adjacent to the target (non-diagonal) while others can be used at a range up to the range listed on the character sheet or the weapon. Ranged attacks are only maybe in a straight line in one of the eight directions for the character attacking. When attacking in an non-diagonal direction, each square is counted as one; when attacking diagonally, each square is considered as two.
Attack is calculated by taking the base attack damage of the attack card and adding any modifiers to it (such as ammo or other abilities). If there is any obstacle in between the attacker and target, the Attack is cut in half rounded up. If the attacker happens to be adjacent to the object, this penalty is not applied unless the defender is also adjacent to an object.
Defense is what I typically consider straight up Damage Reduction. Similar to Attacking, the defender will select a card from their hand to play for the defense value shown or a defensive ability.
Damage received is the total Attack minus total Defense. Mark the damage on the defenders character sheet. If the health of a character is reduced to zero; they are dead and their miniature is removed from the board and replaced by a green chip. That character's loot is consider still on that space and can be taken by other characters with the Loot a Body action.
Combat is as simple as that.
If playing 12 rounds, the player who has the most gold is the winner! Gold is awarded for dealing damage and killing opponents.
When playing last posse standing, the player with a character alive is the winner. If in the rare chance the final characters kill each other in a final show down, no one wins, but you all are awarded the fun memories of a crazy showdown.
Overall, I am pleased with this game. There are a few areas that could have been improved, but I think the gameplay is pretty enjoyable. Part of my enjoyment with the game is certainly since I have played games like this before, but also, I don't typically play western style games but had a lot of fun with this one especially thanks to its flexible setup. The mechanics are very easy to learn, and I feel most people could learn this game without a lot of issues. There are certainly advantages if you have played something like D&D or any sort of miniatures based combat game, but I think the game is balanced enough that anyone could do well.
I enjoy many of the puns/references that are included in the game such as the LeRoy posse getting to go first and the expansion Jenkins posse; I am sure there is even more that I haven't discovered yet. You can tell they were having fun making this game and who it is tailored for.
As stated earlier, I really like the plastic insert, but I am slightly disappointed that a little more thought wasn't considered when making the space for the cards. There is a lot of open space in 1/3 of the box that could have easily allowed for the cards to have a better spot. I would have liked to have seen double sided map tiles. If so many copies of this game wasn't already printed and their Kickstarter approach wasn't getting the game to backers so fast, I would have liked to have seen stretch goals improving the card and character sheets card stock. However, I really like the fact that people won't have to wait a year to get their game.
The Kickstarter has already been very successful and nearing double their initial campaign goal. There is also already a lot of unlocked Stretch Goals and some higher tiered pledges that may address some of my comments regarding the insert in the base game. If you like the sound of the game or if you feel westerns are an under utilized setting for board games, be sure to check out High Noon on Kickstarter until April 4th, 2021.
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