The West is growing day by day, and you’re looking to stake your claim. To win, you have to gamble your relationships with the most powerful bosses in town to win influence. This influence comes in many forms: Law, Money and Force. If you’re clever enough, you’ll be able to take claim over the buildings in the evergrowing boomtowns and gain powerful abilities. At the end of the day, the boss who has the best combination of wit and bluff will become the most powerful tycoon in Tiny Epic Western.
The game is played in a series of rounds. Each round, poker cards are dealt between the locations, which are laid out in a circle. Players place posse members on these location cards, which will both give an action and count as a bid for the location's valuable resources. Players also get a poker card of their own which uses the two adjacent cards from a location to form a three-card hand. This creates a clever mix of modern worker placement and poker that drives the game. In addition, players must manage their resources of Law, Money and Force to buy buildings and gunfight. If you have the highest stake in the most lucrative industry at the end, you will be rewarded bonus points. Add these points to the points you've collected from buying buildings and determine the winner! Yippie kay yay!
Tiny Epic Western lives up to the Tiny Epic name. It is a great game that will swallow you up in its western theme. You take control of your posse sending them to locations like the Saloon, the Bank and the Sheriff’s Office and try to collect influence tokens to buy building cards.
Every now and then you may have to duel another player for your influence. You will also get to test your poker skills when you face off against the rival. Tiny Epic Western is designed by Scott Almes, produced by Gamelyn Games and is a 1-4 player game.
The components in Tiny Epic Western are fantastic, of a great quality and really help to immerse you in the theme. Inside the box, you will find the following:
There are four location cards that are double-sided. One side is colour coded to match the player's colours and they are all named to fit the wild west theme. There are several locations on each mat that any player can use that will gain you one of the three influence tokens. If at any time two player's meeples occupy the same space they have to duel for the influence.
Whenever you purchase a building card you will place it in your coloured location card on the porch area. You and the other players can use this to claim its reward. These cards are of a great quality and they are very detailed. Another thing I love about these is that you position them with the Town Hall and the Sheriff's Office so it looks like a wild west town.
Town Hall and Sheriff’s Office Mats
These are beautiful and highly detailed cards, just like the location cards. They add extra places for your posse meeples to do actions and gain resources. The town hall has a special ability. Whoever wins against the rival will move one of the industry tokens up one level to help them gain more points at the end.
The boss cards are your character cards, each boss has their own special power which will help them in gameplay. They are very detailed with a drawing of you character on them and places to keep your active and inactive posse meeples. There is also a section for your influence tokens that looks like a bullet belt. Everything is in keeping with the theme. On the reverse side of the boss cards, there is a simplified round summery and a diagram to help you understand the poker hands. It also has an iconography to help you identify each symbol at a glance.
The building cards are designed well with great artwork and it's easy to understand their power and the bonuses you will get at the end of the game. Even the backs of all these cards are in keeping with the wild west, as they look like old playing cards with drawings of crossed pistols.
These cards are great as they are all custom. They go from one to five and there are four suites, lowest is a bull skull, followed by a shoe horn, a teepee and finally a cowboy hat. They are of high quality and really continue the theme.
Each person will have three posse meeples that look like meeples with cowboy hats on.
These are one of my favorite components in the game. Instead of having normal dice, they are shaped like a bullet. They are plastic, and one has a red ring around the bottom and the other a yellow ring, making it easy to identify who rolled which dice.
This is the first player token and it looks like a poker chip.
Each player has three wooden tokens. One is for money and looks like a yellow coin, another is a blue law badge and the last one is a silver force token that looks like a barrel of a gun. They are all double-sided and have a good finish on them.
These are three wooden tokens. The first is purple with a train track on it, which represents the railway, there is an orange one with a spade and pickaxe on it representing mining and a green one with a wheel on it representing the wagon.
Every component in the game is of very high quality and each one carries the theme of the game making it all fit well together.
Tiny Epic Western is played over six rounds and each round is made up of four phases:
The first player will deal one card to each space between all the locations and two cards to each player. You will choose one of the cards that you believe will help you later in the game with the cards that are out between each location to make the best poker hand.
Starting with the first player, they will place one meeple on any space until all usable meeples are used (If a meeple is laying down you cannot use it). If at any time two players occupy the same slot they will have to duel immediately.
When you duel, you and the other player will roll the bullet dice and see who has the largest number. You can spend an influence token to reroll or use the card they were dealt to boost their number. But you can only use that card once and in one duel so once it's done it's done. If you win, you receive the influence you were aiming for and the loser will have to lay his posse member on its side and the winner's posse member will sit on top indicating they won and that the laying down meeple will not be able to receive the influence or action they were aiming for.
During this phase, everyone will reveal their poker card. In the locations that you have placed your meeples, you will try to have the best poker hand of three cards between you and any other player at that location. If there are no other players at that location you will go against the rival. This works with the card you have and the one at each side of the location that your meeple is at. The player with the highest hand wins.
Everyone will go up against the rival at the town hall. The player with the highest hand here will win and be able to move one of the industry tokens along the track. Starting with the highest hand and going down, you will be able you purchase a building from one of the locations you are at. If you do then you will place it in your colour's location, which will give an action and points for the end of the game. If you did not buy a building you may stand up your third posse member to use next round.
The next person will then become the first player and you do the same again.
Final Thoughts on Tiny Epic Western
This is definitely a Tiny Epic Game - small box, great game. Everything from the box to the components sucks you into its western theme. I really enjoyed the poker element and found that you had to have a good strategy each round to try to win the poker round.
I did find dueling a bit complicated at first but as the rounds went on it did get easier to understand. Every single component is of high quality and the theme runs into all of them. Tiny Epic Western really is a fun game to play, even for people who hadn’t played poker before as the help card was easy to read.
I do like that you can play this game solo and Tiny Epic Western also works well as a solo and as a multiplayer game.