Shootout! vs Showdown!
As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of filler games. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the excruciatingly long sessions of games like The Cones of Dunshire, but the filler games bring with them a much wider appeal. It is a heck of a lot easier to get a friend to learn/play a new game for 20 minutes as opposed to asking them what they’re doing for the next few hours (or days, depending on the game).
Because of this, I was ecstatic when New Experience Workshop gave us the opportunity to do a comparison post regarding their previously published game (Shootout!) with their newly published standalone expansion (Showdown!). Both of these games have earned their salt when it comes to playability, and the simplicity of both games is validated by the rules being printed on just two cards. While these two games vary greatly in theme, their mechanics and gameplay strategy are almost identical, giving the player similar experiences in different worlds.
Shootout!, a western themed dueling card game, is made for players age 9 and up and brings with it a playing time of anywhere between five and thirty minutes (depending on how many people are playing). It also can be played by 2 to 6 players. The game is based in the western town of Texana, where each player is trying to keep the town safe by eliminating other players in street duels. The game is based on building your deck of three main categories: Title, Weapon, and Familiarity. While titles (e.g. Wrangler, Desperado, etc.) and weapons (e.g. Cattleman Revolver, Volcanic Pistol, etc.) are somewhat intuitive, the Familiarity cards relate to a variety of western themes such as a Wanted Poster, a Gambling Buddy, and others.
Once played, these cards can be enhanced or broken down whenever the Shootout card is played. While these three card categories are openly played and built upon during play, there are Special cards that are only played once the shootout has occurred to either enhance your hand or break down other players’ decks. This brings with it certain variables to the game. You may know that your hand is able to beat your opponents’, but you don’t know if they hold any special cards that could do things like cause a weapon to misfire or discard what’s in their hand. This results in a great deal of tension while you’re trying to openly build your hand while secretly preparing to destroy the other players with your Special cards, all while hoping a shootout card isn’t played until you’re absolutely ready.
All that being said, Showdown! is the standalone expansion and adds more strategy and a change of theme to the already successful Shootout! game. Showdown! brings with it a Samurai theme with all of the same elements and player stats as Shootout! (i.e. 2-6 players, 5-30 minute playing time depending on number of players, etc.). While the mechanics of the game are essentially the same as before, the change of theme also brings with it added depth regarding the Special cards and other variant rules. The added complexity is a warm welcome, as Shootout! may seem too simplistic for some after it has been played many times.
Also, instead of the Familiarity cards in the western game, Showdown! contains Notoriety cards, though the change is in name only. You are still building the three categories in an attempt to have more tally points than your opponent after the Special cards have been playing during the duel. One added bonus of this game is that it actually comes with 8 additional Shootout! cards to add to the original game (if you happen to have both). Another great bonus to having both games is the fact that you can actually combine the two decks for one large showdown shootout! Because the mechanics are identical, the only real change is in theme. This can definitely add a quirky blend to the game when you see a Samurai equipped with a revolver or an outlaw wielding a katana!
While both of these games are essentially the same, I can easily see how they would cater to different audiences. Shootout! is definitely more of a gateway game for you to use with your non-gamer friends. It is quick to play, simple to learn, and easy to teach. I prefer the western theme to samurai, so that could also play a part in your decision making. There are not many game comparisons where theme could be the deciding factor; however, I think that this might be one of those times. If you are interested in a simple game to play very causally or if you are looking for a game for younger ones, Shootout! brings with it a streamlined approach with high re-play value.
Filler games can sometimes be too simple though, and if that’s been your experience then Showdown! is more likely the way to go. The added depth that the additional Special cards brings is substantive and would be appealing to those looking to add more complexity to their filler game collection. One great route I could recommend would be to start out with Shootout! first. Once the mechanics and theme tie you in and you master the gameplay, then I’d spring for Showdown!. Knowing you can combine both games would add a new dimension to your game night. Though the strategies for each game have some nuances, adding both together brings in a third dimension of play ability that most games only dream of reaching. For more info you can check out both of these games on their website. Also be sure to check them out at Twitter and Facebook!
Until next time,