It’s noon, the scorched air hangs still. Then a pistol shot rings out and the sound of hoofs beating out a staccato rhythm across the dusty town square. Hot lead fills the air sending people scrambling for cover. The wanted gang just robbed the bank and means to hightail it out of town. Is your posse good enough to stop them?
Devil Tree Station – Smoke that Skin Wagon! is the latest game by Michael McCoy and Jason Leary of Dice Made Me Do It!. Set in the Wild West era, players take on the role of a dastardly outlaw or law-abiding posse member. Each character has their own preferred ability which gives them a bonus on their rolls but beware, use that action too often and your opponent will have you dead to rights!
The goal is to knock out your opponents by stealing their dice. When your out of dice you’re out of the game. To do this though you have to risk your own dice in the process. This is where your preferred action, or tell, can really hurt you or help you. Devil Tree Station uses a single custom die type whose faces match the actions on the action cards in addition to a wild facing indicated by a horseshoe and a hand of aces (more on aces in the game play section). There are two action decks of four cards each. The actions are shooting, moving, aiming and in cover. Each character prefers one of these action and when playing the matching action card gets to re-roll all or some of their dice once per turn.
There are two play modes in Devil Tree Station, Team and Shootout. The game plays best in Team mode, pitting wanted versus posse, but the Shootout mode creates a wild and chaotic scene where it’s every gunslinger for themselves.
In Team mode players split up character cards based on their allegiance to either wanted or posse. During a two player game, players should choose two character cards each. This allows for more variability and strategy during game play. A three player game would be played two against one with the single player utilizing two character cards and with four players each person would play their own character.
For Shootout mode grab whatever card tickles your fancy and get ready to fill your opponent full of lead!
Next, each player takes six dice for each character they are playing, making sure to keep them separate.
Playing the Game:
In Team mode, each Team will have their own set of action cards. If you’re playing in Shootout mode, action cards are handled a little different. Choose a starting player, that player will select one action card, discard one card and pass the deck to the left. Each player in turn will select one card and pass the deck to the left. At the end of the turn reshuffle the deck and the player to the left becomes the new first player.
Alright, now that you have an action card place it face down next to your character card. Next separate your dice into two piles. Players simultaneously place their action card on top of one of their piles. This designates one of your piles as your action dice, these are the dice you are using to try and steal dice from your opponent. They are also at a higher risk of being stolen from you. The other pile forms your reserve dice. These are protected from your thieving opponents unless they roll aces. Stupid aces….
When it’s your turn you pick a target and for every die face that matches your action card you get to steal one die from your targets action dice pool. Horseshoes are wild and equal any other die face rolled except for aces. Again with the aces, what’s the deal? Well, I’ll tell you partner, aces allow you to steal from any dice pool in the game, even the reserve dice. Four of a kind never felt so good.
One last thing, if the action card you chose for this turn takes advantage of your targets action card you steal half of their action dice (rounded down) and put them in your reserve pile before you even role. Talk about being quick on the draw!
So here’s a turn sequence:
The fastest player is the one with the fewest dice, they go first.
Reveal your action card.
Choose your target.
They reveal their action card.
The current/attacking player rolls their action dice.
Resolve your dice roll
Play passes to the next fastest player who hasn’t gone yet.
Devil Tree Station – Smoke that Skin Wagon! is another great game from the guys over at Dice Made Me Do It! The game only takes a few minutes to learn and will provide hours of enjoyment. It’s a fun little card and dice game that plays in 15-30 minutes. One game will accommodate 4 players, ages 10 and up but combining two sets doubles your fun and allows up to eight people to get in on the action. The art by Alexandra Petruk and Taylor Adele Smith is a real treat and completely capture the spirit of the game. I’ve never met a gamer who didn’t love dice and the custom dice included with Devil Tree Station round out the theme and really make the game pop. Do yourself a favor and get this game.