At first glance, Gunfighter's Ball is a simple and straightforward gunfighting game. After meeting one inglorious end after another, however, you begin to realize that there is quite a bit of strategy inside the combat system. If you pay attention to the little things, you'll find they make a big difference.
The Talkin' Triggernometry series of entries will address the strategies that give you the best chance of winning at Gunfighter's Ball, as well as how to avoid common mistakes. We'll also talk a bit about rules interpretations and suggestions for house rules to add detail to the game. You're encouraged to join the discussion in the comments section below each article to exchange observations and questions.
TODAY'S TOPIC: QUICK DRAW
One of the most powerful defensive moves you can make is to interrupt your opponent's planned shot with a quick draw, sacrificing your next turn in the process. This rule was designed to eliminate the very unrealistic situation that arises in games where your character is frozen while your opponent simply walks up and shoots you at point-blank range when it's their turn.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
1. Quick draw is a defensive maneuver. If your opponent has declared three shots (the most they can take in one action), you will cut that down to one shot simply by declaring a quick draw. Also, even if you lose the roll that determines who shoots first, the only way you won’t be able to shoot back is if you're killed outright by your opponent's shot, which will now be taken at a reduced chance to hit.
2. It's called quick draw for a reason! Although this mechanism is essentially a snap shot and doesn't have to include drawing, it certainly can. If you find yourself in the thick of a gunfight with your pistol still in your holster, this is a way to get that gun in your hand and take a shot in the same action.
3. Speaking of gambling, you don't want to waste a quick draw in a situation where your opponent's declared shot would already have a poor chance of hitting. For instance, if your opponent moved on his first action to get within short range, and you are in cover, he is already highly likely to miss you. By declining to take a quick draw, you play good odds and save the ability to act during your next card.
4. It's important to weigh the use of the quick draw carefully, because sacrificing a card means losing two actions on your next turn in exchange for one snap shot. Use it when your back is really up against the wall--when your opponent has a very good chance to hit you, or waiting to act until your next turn isn’t soon enough.
SIZING UP YOUR OPPONENT
Fortune favors the well-prepared. Try to be aware of characters' strengths and weaknesses. In the example below, The Chaco Kid (see cards) has an Action Number of 3 versus Maria's Action Number of 2. He also has a +1 bonus because of his "Greased Lightning" special ability. In total, he rolls with a 2-point advantage over Maria. For this reason, it's a good idea for The Chaco Kid to be maneuvered into in a situation which might involve a quickdraw against her, perhaps avoiding an enemy character with stats closer to his own.
If you are adept at using the quickdraw rule, you will find your opponent constantly out-of-step with the flow of combat and vulnerable to the sting of your smokin' sixguns.
Thanks, and be sure to post your comments and questions below.
NEXT TALKIN' TRIGGERNOMETRY TOPIC: SHORT RANGE FIRE EFFECTIVENESS.