It took me a long time to warm up to Westerns. In spite of being a movie buff who consumed older films when I was a kid, I never much cared for Westerns. I still can’t stand John Wayne and don’t think much of Randoph Scott (or Gary Cooper, for that matter). And when I finally watched the Clint Eastwood Man With No Name films in my teens, I didn’t really vibe with them either. I think it was “Unforgiven” hitting video that started me on my journey. Cut to thirty years later, and I’ve changed my tune considerably. Not only do I have a long list of Westerns I love, but I grew to enjoy Eastwood’s Spaghetti Westerns and more besides. (John Wayne still sucks, though).
With a rule set very similar to Gentlemen VS Demons, Seann McAnally has attempted to recreate the vibe of Spaghetti Westerns with this mini-roleplaying game, Song of the Sixgun. Considering the genre, it makes sense, but the combat system is the primary difference. It’s more crunchy than the one featured in GvD, with weapons being broken out into more specifics, including certain special abilities that go along with them. Money is also more important and not hand-waved as in the other game. Otherwise, the system still resembles a stripped-down version of Basic Role-Playing.
As with Gentlemen VS Demons, I wish that McAnally had turned several lists into numbered lists for someone who wants to roll on some random tables. Names, hazards, and locations just to name a few.
There are some helpful ideas for creating the correct mood and style of the Spaghetti Western. There is a surrealness to them, from the jarring, experimental music to the locations that often look VERY little like the American West. Not to mention characters and dialog that is often so far over the top, it almost loops around.
It’s still fairly rules light, even with the added complexity for combat. If you’re looking to get into some Western action and you don’t want to go all in on something like Deadlands/Savage Worlds, this one seems pretty good. I’m looking forward to trying a one-shot at some point.
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