numbered limited edition of 1000
List Price: $35.00
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(Worth 2,795 Funagain Points!)
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Dry Gulch has you as the head of a family settling the Old West. You are trying to amass enough Power Points to be "elected" mayor of the town. Power Points are scored by being responsible for the development of the town through the construction of different types of buildings and the improvements of those buildings (by playing special Power Point Cards). The first player to have the required number of Power Points during their turn, wins the game.
Mixed impressions visit Dry Gulch (1898). I like the idea of building a Western town with all the requirements. Constantly being ambushed by other players who demand the card count in your hand and set fires and practice vandalism leaves a parched mouth.
You start out with five resource cards and three building permits. After the first turn, you may draw three event cards. These cards give you everything from fire insurance to power points to stagecoach runs. You keep two event cards for immediate play and discard the third one. Then, in our three-player game, it was time to construct a building, such as a post office, saloon, general store, or barber shop. The placed buildings conform to the matching sidewalks shown on the permit card. At the beginning of the game you already built one residence and placed your counter piece as evidence of ownership.
Now, you can either draw three resource cards or two building permits and discard one permit or one discarded building permit card. Your resource cards prove fascinating reading. Some of your cards have two squares in the upper left portion, and some of the cards have one square. You soon discover you need masons, blacksmiths, carpenters, labor, entertainment, food, lumber, and whiskey. The combinations depend on what building you want to construct. The appealing feature of substituting two food for two labor, for example, certainly added to the game. Bricks are particularly difficult to obtain, and you need three of another card to equal one brick. All these values are nicely listed on the game board.
The building goes forth, and, first, I built a sheriff's office. You are given a value on the card that represents your reward. That means you put down three counters (called family members) for the office, for example, and draw three resource cards for your bonus. That bonus or reward (marked on the board) lasts one turn when you have built. Then, problems started with the sheriff's office. It was vandalized and burned. With a three-player game we were vandalizing and burning each other's buildings and spreading the disaster wealth. Sometimes you draw event cards that allow you to receive a power point while the person with the constructed building (doctor's office, for example) receives three resource cards. You may want the power point badly enough to sacrifice the resource cards to the owning player of the building named.
As the game progresses, more problems start. Your opponents constantly ask if you have more than 15 cards in your hand. If so, your opponent, who named your indiscretion, can draw three random cards from your hand and place them on the discard pile. To eliminate that annoyance, we thought a house rule of announcing you have more than 15 cards at the end of the six-phase turn would eliminate one concern. Other annoying experiences occur when you possess a fire insurance or I.O.U. event card, and your opponent decides through an event card to raid your hand. At one point two opponents helped themselves to my seven-card hand (with two additional cards protected) and stripped me of most building materials. They soon found a way to eliminate my protected card, which happened to be a power point for a gold mine at the end of the game. Still, I built two saloons and waited for the Stagecoach Event card to bring more resource points. We never did build the undertaker's office or the bordello. The Cheyenne Social Club will have to wait.
To add some zest to the middle game, I announced the drinks were on the house as each of my two saloons was erected. Near the end of the game, we began to count the power points or counters placed on each building. The count ended this way: 14, 13, and 8. If a longer evening of gaming had prevailed, we think the winning points would have changed dramatically.
Do I recommend the game? With reservations. It takes a long time to accumulate enough resource cards to meet the requirements of certain buildings. Many of the buildings, such as hotels, saloons, and post office, take a considerable number of cards. It is an American game based in Savage, Maryland, and I am pleased with the quality of components coming from an American company. The games, Texas or Frontier 6, might move a little faster.