'Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price...'
That strapline from Sergio Leone's classic 'spaghetti western' For a Few Dollars More may be an equally apt introduction to Mark Powell's Bounty Hunters - the Wild West-themed card game from Trademark52.
In Bounty Hunters, the 2-4 players are racing to be the first to amass $52. That sounds like a curiously arbitrary target but the premise is that that apparently is the sum needed to buy a prize horse. Players all start with $6 cash, three captured criminals in their tableau and two 'bounty' cards. On your turn you take one of three actions:
You can draw another criminal card, either from the face-down draw pile or taking it from another player's tableau. If you take the leftmost card in a tableau, you can get it for free but if you take any others you have to put $2 underneath all those cards to its left;
You can deliver three of your criminals to the jail and collect a reward of $6; or
You can fulfil the set collection requirements of a bounty card. These will require specific criminal types (for example, members of a specific gang) but they will pay better than just turning in three cards for $6. Whenever you fulfil a bounty, you turn over and follow the instructions on an Event card. If your tableau contains fewer than three criminals, you refill it from the draw deck.
That's the game in a nutshell. It's a light, easy-to-play set collection game that has enough Wild West flavour to keep players yeehawing through its filler-length 30 minute playing time. The Events shake things up, so help to keep players on their toes as they race towards the $52 target.
Cards are used for money, which is fine, but unfortunately the money cards have been printed with $2 on one side and $10 on the other. There's inevitably then a risk of a money card getting flipped and so confusing a player's total. We'd have much preferred it if there were separate $2 and $10 money cards. We'd have preferred it too, thematically, if the bounties were all multiplied by 1000.
The rules are short and mostly clear but we weren't certain whether or not bounty cards should be kept secret from other players until cashed in. If you play Bounty Hunters with bounties open on the table it makes for a rather more 'take that' game as players snatch criminals in order to scupper each other's prospects of collecting a big bounty. This stretches out the playing time but it definitely adds to the For a Few Dollars More feel!
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