Get Billy The Kid – first impressions

Plays 4-8
At 4 players it comprises 3 lawmen and Billy The Kid, at 5 you add Martha Garcia – Billy’s accomplice).
Time 20-30 minutes
Age 9+
Get Billy The Kid – affectionately known as ‘The Kid’ finally made it to our table on Friday (…and Saturday… and Sunday). It’s a print and play version and although I finally got round to investing in some decent cardboard I know that the actual game will be much shinier and lovelier. But these pictures will give you a flavour of the game.
The Kid comes from Caper Games – the makers of Get Adler, Vertium and Shooterz. It uses the same game mechanic as Get Adler so if you enjoy that then you will love this too. To be fair if you own Get Adler you probably only need to read to the end of the next sentence. It has real life cowboys and there’s a shootout!
The Kid is divided into two parts. In part one you must try to sniff out the kid and his outlaws using your powers of deduction. To help you do this you can peek at people’s cards, ask questions and of course closely observe as the terrible liars in your group give themselves away. This is where that course I did on spotting shoplifters comes into its own. That stint working on bed linens at Debenhams has proved very useful over the years – what with my extensive knowledge of duvet tog ratings and the ability to spot shifty individuals. Anyway… I digress
Once the first three rounds are over you may begin attempting to unveil and arrest the outlaws. But beware – a wrong accusation will freeze you and your fellow lawman out for a round letting the outlaws gain valuable ground. Once the identities are revealed the pace of the game changes significantly. While the previous rounds required reflection and consideration; the rounds now are all about high speed chases and shoot outs. To win, the outlaw(s) must evade capture over 7 rounds or shoot their pursuers. They must also be in possession of a bag of gold at the end of the game – otherwise all their hard work is meaningless.
The first part has a Guess Who feel but with the added complication that the outlaws may lie. So, more like playing Guess Who with your short sighted slightly deaf Grandma, except in this case if you accuse her of lying she may draw a pistol and shoot you dead.
‘Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much’ John Wayne
You have seven cards in your hand and you are trying to curate a hand that best aids your character. As in all the best games, it’s all about balance. A lawman with too many arrest cards won’t have enough gun cards to survive a shootout but lose all your arrest cards and you may have to watch the outlaws ride out of town with the gold.
Although the outlaws are together and the lawmen form a team against them you may not confer or discuss strategy. For instance the kid and Martha pass cards to one another which can strengthen each others’ hands or simply be used as a mechanism to suggest which cards you have. Plus you can still look at others’ hands using the rifle card and whereas before you used that to see who your enemies were, you can use it now to see what cards your allies have. Lawmen are on their own in a shoot out but if the kid tries to escape any of the lawmen with a matching card can give chase, bravely mounting a donkey and pursuing the kid into the mountains. So the no speaking rule adds to the tactics and strategy in more imaginative ways than simply ganging up on each other.
The outlaws are always outnumbered but cards like the disguise and TNT re-balance things. The disguise allows outlaws to escape unpursued on that occasion and the TNT which leaves the lawmen frozen out for a round while the ringing in their ears stops.
After identities are revealed there is also the opportunity to buy additional cards – more arrest cards for the lawmen and guns or escape cards for the outlaws.
As a historical game there is a higher number of male characters which is a shame but they have added Martha Garcia to redress the balance somewhat. While there are plenty of female outlaws the lawmen at that time were just that – men. They have used second person in the rule book and while that should not be remarkable, I think it is worth noting and I’m always pleased to see it.
‘It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.’ Doc Holliday
One of the nice details is that the outlaws can try to entice Doc Holliday onto their side by using gold cards as bribes. Upon joining the outlaws Doc can discard these cards drawing up more useful cards like guns or escape cards or he can remain true to the law and help bring those felons down. A little light research into Doc Holliday reveals that this behaviour is entirely in character which is brilliant! Extra historical kudos points to Caper Games.
There’s now also a two player variant – High Noon Shootout- included in the game which I am eager to try. As you know despite living with 4 other people, getting 5 of us to the table at once is a challenge so the 2 player game will be very useful.
Raised on ‘cowies’ as my Dad called the Westerns – one of my favourite films is Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid – the theme of this game is right up my street. The two part structure means it is a lot more than just a hidden role or deduction game. And on top of all that, the artwork is lovely – particularly the character cards. I can’t wait to play and share my pictures of the final version. If you remember Young Guns you’ll remember the repeated assertion that Billy the Kid ‘ain’t all there, is he?’ I can assure you that this version of the kid is definitely ‘all there’.

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