We’re nearing the end of January and with it, the dusty winds of Little Church will blow through and push me on to next month’s project. But before we leave this dry patch of sepia-tinted earth, I have one last thing to do: Play! Of course, last month I had the chance to put it all on the table but I wasn’t quite ready. With everything I’ve done now, I want to get in a good show before I move on. With no opponents around, I jumped into a solo game.

The author, Jonathan Haythornwaite, prepared a solo encounter for the game but it wasn’t enough for me. The encounter was too supernatural for my taste but gave some great direction on making my own. As I am wont to do, I created the first of a three Act campaign, centering on the town of Little Church.

While I know this is likely terrible to read, I’ll post the final up on Boardgamegeek when I get through a few playthroughs to make sure it runs as expected. You’ll see that I haven’t made it through even one game of the Act II yet (and Act III has yet to be written) so those details are in a very rough state.

Act I, however, I feel pretty confident in. I played through it and made some tweaks to up the difficulty a little and clarify some of my initial writing. And of course, all of this would be impossible without Mr. Haythornwaite’s excellent ruleset and free solo scenario as guidance and inspiration.

Act I: The Last Straw

Act I is a simple reverse tower defense scheme where the heroes are here to attack an overrun saloon that keeps spitting out drunk enemies. To win the scenario, you need to get a hero into the saloon and take down the Buckner Gang leader.

The Saloon is located in the back third of the 3′ x 3′ board and heroes start up to 6 inches in. With a move of 4″, the heroes will need to hustle in to avoid getting overrun by drunks and bandits. Drunks are melee only thugs rushing the heroes while bandits are cowardly gunslingers filled with liquid courage.

First up is the Sheriff. He’s come to waive off the heroes as he is too scared to actually stop the ruffians but doesn’t want to give up his meager control over the town. He’s hear to just slow down the heroes and be a nuisance. He’ll engage any hero in close combat, fighting them but never doing damage. He’s just trying to slow you down or stop you from making the situation worse.

I gave the heroes a free action in the first round to try to deal with him. I’m trying to be the heroes to this backwater gulch so I elect not to just shoot the fool but rather engage him in combat. Charging the Sheriff gives me the best odds to take him down without outright killing him. It works and Wyatt takes him down with a swift hit to the head.

Speaking of Wyatt, he is the hero that binds this whole group. He is a Hero class character (d10s) with Lead Belly and sporting a Sixgun. The rest of his posse ($60) are:

  • Virgil: Veteran (d8s) – Heavy Pistol
  • Morgan: Veteran (d8s) – Pistol
  • Doc: Veteran (d8s) – Pistol, Shotgun – Dead Eye skill

With the Sheriff down and out (downed enemies are removed from the board unless otherwise specified), Wyatt and company move in on the Saloon.

Two drunks run forward but are still out of range. With the precision of a surgeon, Doc shotguns both drunks down. Virgil and Morgan close in.

A drunk closes in on Morgan but is out of range. Virgil and Wyatt move up but as Wyatt rounds the obstacle, he takes a quick shot at the drunk in the back. Not the most noble, but Wyatt doesn’t shoot to kill and the drunk goes down.

I’m seeing already that the mission is running a bit too easy as I’m only getting one-two drunks coming out at one time and it is easy to bait them into overextending. In the revision, I up the amount and type of enemy that emerges from the Saloon.

Virgil comes into some trouble with a drunk rushing him. Luckily, his grit holds. After a few bouts back and forth, Virgil downs the drunk and moves on.

The heroes close in on the Saloon. This is likely the most dangerous time. Since enemies spawn at the beginning of the round and the activation deck has a 1:3 chance of the enemies activating first, there is a risk that you will get overwhelmed right away. I put Doc on Lookout at the end of the round and sure enough, a drunk stumbles out of the Saloon and readies to run at Wyatt. Doc will have none of that nonsense and shotguns the drunk straight to hell. Drunk had an axe. I’ll call it justified.

The path to the Saloon is clear so Wyatt rushes in. His action closes out the 4th round and the action deck is reshuffled. Wyatt stares down the Buckner Gang leader waiting to see who draws first.

Jackrabbit Jim gets the jump on Wyatt and takes him down. The shot was a brutal one and Wyatt was a hair’s breadth from death.

Morgan and Virgil converge on the Saloon. While Morgan was faster, it was Virgil and his heavy pistol that laid the villain low. The town of Little Church is now quiet as those that didn’t succumb to their wounds have crawled off in the night.

The Dracula’s America ruleset is as exciting as ever even in this solo setting. Lots of quick action without the need to reference endless tables or percentile nuances. Cinematic moments are easy in this system like when Doc got rushed by a drunk and and had to shake off a two hit strike. When Doc went next, he fought back with both him and his opponent getting one crit and two successes. Because Doc is a veteran and rolling d8s vs the drunk rolling d6s, Doc broke the tie and shoved the ruffian off him. With a bit of space between the two, Doc Shotgunned the assailant at point blank range. Not much that guy could do with six d8s raining down on him.

Even though the sun is setting on the Dracula’s America focus, I’ll still work out the rest of the scenarios to finish out the campaign and post any future plays.