So I got my hands on the Gunfight at Red Oak starter set for Wild West Exodus. For those of you who don’t know what Wild West Exodus is (as I assume most people do not) it’s a twisted, alternate history of the wild west. It’s a skirmish game so you should have anywhere from 5 to 15 (?) guys to form your posse. How is this a twist on the wild west, you ask? Well, instead of having just plain old cowboys and indians shooting it out in the saloon, you have have mechanized outlaws, mutated animals and people, and zombies using “juiced up” revolvers and shotguns. Hell, there’s even alien (not my favorite aspect of the game, but whatever floats…)! It reads similar to Malifaux, but where as Malifaux seems very… all over the place to me, Wild West Exodus has a pretty decent, concise story line to it.
To simplify that story line as best as I understand it: There’s a dark force called the hex (I think) that’s corrupting… everything. There’s an ancient order (naturally just called The Order) that has been around for ages fighting it off. Well, the hex has crept into the wild west and is corrupting the land and inhabitants. The Native Americans can sense the darkness and the encroaching westerners and pray to their ancestors for the power to fight back. They can wield the powers of the elements and magic. Through all this, there’s been a huge leap in technological advances. Naturally, everyone just turns that into weapons.
Now, back to the point of this article: I bought Gunfight at Red Oak, which is a two person starter set. Comes with a gang of lawmen lead by Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday and the James Gang lead by Jesse James and his brother, Frank James. Inside, you have those I mentioned, k9 attack units, gun dogs, and interceptors for both posses. The models are very detailed plastic. You’ll also get a rulebook, tokens, blast template, Action card deck, adventure card deck, and dice.
The rulebook is softback but pretty good quality. That’s all that really needs to be said about that. The tokens are just card board cut outs. Not impressive but I guess their just affect tokens, so no biggie. The card decks are pretty cool and look like actual playing cards. makes you feel like a real gambler in the wild west! The Template is actually a good quality template. I know that sounds weird, but having gotten a lot of starter sets for games, usually when they include something like that, they give you the junkiest thing just to say they gave it to you and hope they you’re disappointed in it enough to buy their official, definitely not free template. AND the dice: these are custom dice with the exodus symbol on the one (or 10… I can’t tell which) and an skull and ace on the 10. These are actually really badass looking.
Assembly: The models did not come in instructions on how to put them together and there isn’t any way to customize them either. There are no head options (except for the dogs and the lawman interceptor) and no way to pose them differently. Oh, and all the pieces (and there were many!) are on one sprue so it got really confusing fast! So how do you figure out how to put them together, you ask? well you can find the instructions on the website. Good, right? Sort of.
There are only 1 or 2 pictures per model to show you how to assemble them. This wouldn’t be a problem if it made it clear that some things, even those on the same picture, have to be pieced together in a certain order. For example: Wyatt Earp has separate gun holsters. You have to glue those onto his legs before you you glue his legs to his abdomen, as his coat will keep you from being able to insert the holsters. It doesn’t seem like the coat over hangs it at all so there’s no way to tell they have to be glued in in a particular order. However, the holsters have to be put in at an angle. There were plenty of instances of things like this that caused me to have to take apart what I just got together when the instructions make its all one step… kind of a pain. Definitely reminds me of those art books where you have just some lines and then its like “next step: add detail!” and all of a sudden it looks like the most majestic unicorn, galloping in a field of… whatever. It’s like, no I don’t think that’s all one step… should be some stuff in between.
And now that I make that comparison… it doesn’t seem anything like that. But you get my point.
Once you have them together though, the models look amazing! and their poses are pretty awesome, too! Definitely some of the most dynamic models I’ve seen (for the most part). The game seems amazing and I recommend this to anyone looking to get into a cool skirmish game. The price for all of these guys individually is well over the $45 price mark AND on top of that, you’re also getting the rulebook, card decks, templates and dice that you may also purchase separately. Its a steal!