Monday, September 16, 2019


It's been awhile since I posted, so I thought it was high time I devoted some time to another tactical discussion of the Gunfighter's Ball rules.

I've watched players get frustrated as they close into short range, but still end up with a 20% chance to hit. These players have discovered the challenge that arises in any wargame as you try to conduct offensive fire on the move. Whether you have tanks, cowboys, or sci-fi armies, the same puzzle must be solved!

"In Without Knocking" by Charles Russell.
Of course, you can't get close to your foe without moving, but you can't move without reducing your fire effectiveness. If you stand stock-still and aim on your first action, you will have a 70% chance to hit with a pistol at short range (60% to hit, and +10% for aiming). If you move on your first action, you deny yourself the ability to take an aim action and you suffer a penalty for moving, so your best shot (assuming your opponent has no cover) is 30%.

Photo courtesy Gary Harding.

So how do you solve this problem?

1.  One way is to utilize cover. If Wild Bill is in the saloon and you're tasked with attacking him, then you would be committing suicide by moving to the door of the saloon and then firing on your second action. It would be far better to take up a position behind the horses at the hitching rail and patiently awaiting his turn. If he wants to fire at you, he will be faced with either shooting through the good cover of the horses or moving to get to you, losing fire effectiveness.
2. Think like a soldier; use characters in concert with one another. Post one figure in cover to engage the enemy from the front and send a second character around to attack from the flank or rear.
3. Watch for the golden ticket: if your opponent takes a quickdraw, that leaves him vulnerable until he has paid for it with a missed turn. During that window of opportunity, you can shoot without fear of a quickdraw response. Stand still, take your first action to aim, and take as many shots as your weapon allows on the second action. If your character has special marksmanship bonuses, go ahead and take a called shot! This approach is what Wyatt Earp called "taking your time, but doing it quickly."
3.  In spite of all of the challenges of moving in for the kill, playing offensively makes for a far better game than sheltering in place and hoping for the best as some players seem to want to do. Did you ever wonder why the only restriction on choosing actions is the inability to move after firing in a turn? This was a game-design decision to keep action lively and keep people from hiding after every shot; can you imagine what kind of game that would be? Be bold; there are no tin widows!

Photo courtesy Ivor Janci.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Knuckleduster has just released two new figures sets for Gunfighter’s Ball™!

The first is the Linguine Western Faction, a collection of six cinematic gunfighters for $18. Each of the figures can be purchased individually or in the faction pack above.

The second is a set of Gunfight Casualties, featuring a variety of character types for $12. The addition of these figures brings our total product line to 96 unique fighters and over 40 bystanders!

Gunfighter’s Ball figures are sized to match today’s 28mm figures, and blend well with wild west figures and terrain available from other manufacturers. 
Visit and check out the full line of Gunfighter’s Ball figures, buildings, terrain accessories, game accessories and our full-color hardbound rulebook. Also be sure to check out our free Greenhorn Edition rules PDF, as well as our Facebook Group.

Thursday, June 6, 2019


It has been a busy year for Knuckleduster. We fulfilled our Wild West Kickstarter last fall and we've seen an explosion in popularity of both the game system Gunfighter's Ball, and the figure line, which now includes over 90 individual fighters and well over 30 bystander characters.

In June we'll be releasing the first booster pack of character cards, which will include cards for 20 characters in the Jesse James, Vigilantes, and Cowtown Characters factions, as well as cards for Lucky Lou and Long Shot.

Several new characters are being mastered this month for pre-Historicon release, including new Spaghetti Western figures, a wagon, and a billiard set.

Check out all of our figures, buildings, terrain accessories, rules, and game accessories at!

Friday, March 8, 2019


The Cowtown Characters figure set includes a mix of character archetypes in order to give a new player some variety without buying multiple faction packs.

The next few articles will present character cards for these new figures that you can print out, fold and laminate for use with Gunfighter's Ball (TM). The finished card should be printed at 5" wide and trimmed 1/8" all around for a finished size of 4.75" wide.


The first new character card is for Minnie the Madam (GBF-89).

Minnie's not based on any movie character, but instead represents the type of women who ran the sporting houses (brothels) in the western towns. As you can see from the photos below, these ladies weren't the rare beauties of Hollywood films or the leggy, balloon-busomed "saloon gals" we've come to expect, but probably far more desirable as allies in a life-and-death fight!

Lou Bunch

Minnie carries a dagger in addition to her Remington Double-Derringer. It's important that she time her attack carefully, because she only has two cartridges in the pistol and the rest are in her dresser, which might be hundreds of paces away! Be on the lookout for weapons that can be pilfered from characters who are no longer in need of them.

Her Action Number is 1, so she only takes one turn per round. To compensate her for this disadvantage, she has a considerable hand-to-hand fighting advantage of +2. Use her dagger to bolster her attack, or position her where she can grab something more substantial. like a pitchfork, claw hammer, or bowie knife.

If you have a chance to add a pistoleer cards, "Lady" would be a good choice, as it would render her immune to attack unless she voluntarily enters the combat. 

One last advantage. Animals instinctively sense trouble when she's afoot, so she might just spook the horse some gunslinger is using for cover!


A good old gal.

Forrest Harris