What do you get when you cross a real-time dice game like Space Cadets Dice Duel with fast and furious real-time gunfights of Spurs? Oh yeah... and let's throw in a little Poker while we're at it! Hmm... and there is also the strategic card-play element, too. Ok, it sounds like what's been created is an un-playable mess but don't quit reading yet, you may be in for a surprise!
9-Shooter Quick Draw is actually quite simple in its implementation; so much so that my 7 year old was able to grasp the concept and play immediately. The cards where clear and concise and there is time to read them before the real-time mayhem begins, giving younger players a chance to ask their questions without penalty to game play. I confess, I am not much of a traditional card game player and as such I don't know my poker hands as well as most. This wasn't a problem though as the combinations were clearly laid out on the cards and rules. A couple seconds to brush-up before the game began, and I was off and running!
To start the game, players draw 3 gunfighters and 3 action cards. Take a few moments to familiarize and organize your cards, select a starting gunslinger, and then yell "Draw!". At this point it becomes a mad race to lock your dice in the poker hand shown on your opponent's card. This sounds simple enough, but just when you think you've got 'em, they could strategically play one of their action cards to make you unlock a die or freeze your rolling while they get two free rolls. This is not a deep strategy game, but it is there. I feel the level of strategy is enough (with the timing of cards) to add to the game without detracting from the feel or bogging-down the real-time flow of play. Kids will enjoy the frantic "chaos" of the speed rolling, while adults will appreciate the tension. All players can relish the artwork which is clean and interesting. The imagery is smart and cute and doesn't turn us off as parents with blood or graphic violence.
While not dripping with theme, it is present and makes one think of movies like Maverick crossed with The Quick and the Dead. 9-Shooter Quick Draw is, to me, a lite romp that's a blast for a filler. It plays quick, and the "wounds" rule adds a lot of back and forth "take that". Frantically fumbling with dice adds some hilarity making it entertaining and tense to watch! Give it a try!
Oh, and I forgot one of the most important things! You get two sets of the AWESOME Square Shooters dice! I'm not a huge fan of playing traditional card games, but I realize now that it's because the cards weren't very interesting to me. Put the cards on some beautifully etched and painted dice and it changes everything. And THESE DICE ARE MASSIVE!
The only negatives I can think of are that you have to be sure to keep your dice straight between players, and these things are LOUD on a wood table. (Because they are so big and beautiful!) I would love to see an add-on for the Kickstarter with a playmat using more of the great artwork, maybe a scene with the characters! The action card selection is also not huge, but this isn't truly a negative as I feel more cards might create confusion or pauses that detract from the real-time, frenzied game play. The card "The Gamble" seems more useful in the Ambush variant of play, than the basic play. The game flows very well!