Dracula’s America: Shadows of the West Review

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It is 1875, and Count Dracula is President of the United States of America.

In the wake of the Civil War, with the country struggling to regain its balance, Dracula seized power. The Count’s thralls assassinated President Lincoln and his entire administration in a single night and, in the ensuing chaos, their master made his move. Dominating the Senate, he declared himself President-for-Life, and now rules the Union with fear and an iron fist. His vampiric progeny, the Coven of the Red Hand, infest every strata of society, and enforce Dracula’s will with ruthless efficiency.

Drawn by the shadows gathering across the nation, secretive cults and evil creatures emerge from their lairs to thrive in the darkness of the new regime. Fleeing from the oppression and menace of the East, hordes of pioneers head to the West, hoping for a new life.

Dracula’s greed, however, knows no bounds, and his reach is long…

 

 

Dracula’s America: Shadows of the West is a skirmish game set in the old west, or it could be of Gothic horror set in an alternate Old West. The choice is up to you.

Dracula’s America is a ‘modular’ rules-set, you can either play it as a traditional Old West skirmish game or introduce the weirder elements such as Dracula and all his supernatural creatures and Arcane Powers.

Fairly small for most skirmish games taking up either  2’x2′ and 4’x4′, and caters for 2-8 players; The game is played in an 8-Turn game, with most games lasting around 45 minutes to an hour or so.

A standard deck of playing cards is used for Activation, with Aces high and black cards taking precedence over red. The game uses three different types of dice, six-, eight- and ten-sided.

 

Game Play Basics

You will start off by choosing your Posse. Each player chooses a Posse from those available for a one-off game, and seven scenarios to play through. Each Posse is between 6 and 10 miniatures. Posses can be built in one of two ways- the simple basic system, or the much more detailed and more involved ‘advanced’ system that uses dollars to “buy” your posses. This will allow you to really customise your models.

The Action Phase is where models act, and revolves around drawing a Hand of cards equal to half the number of models you have in play- each player then secretly chooses a card. Once everyone has chosen, they reveal their cards- the highest value card gets to Activate, followed by the next highest, and so on. Black cards always trump red cards! Once all players have had an Activation, the process is repeated until all models have been Activated and the Phase ends.

 

 

On your turn,  you may either Activate one model and perform 2 Actions with it or two different models and perform 1 Action with each of them. You have a few choices on what you may do,  Move, Shoot, Fight, go on Lookout, or Cast Arcane Powers when Activated.

Movement is simple, but yet you again, you have a choice of what you may do, your models can vault fences, climb up a wall that’s in front of you,  run along rooftops and leap through windows.

All in-game tests, combat included are made by rolling either 1 or 3 Dice to start with, depending on circumstances. Situational modifiers will add or subtract Dice from this ‘pool’, so good tactical positioning of your models will be rewarded. Each Die scoring a 5 or better is a Success, with the total Successes determining how well you did at that task.

If you are successful on your attack, your opponent must make a Save if this is failed, the amount of failure they had will determine whether they are Shaken, Downed, or if they fall Casualty. Downed models may have a chance of recovering later on, but until they can do nothing they can do about it,  except crawl out of harm’s way,  or they can be dragged to safety by another posse member.

There are advanced rules you can use as well, that will add the addition of horses, Dynamite and Innocent Bystanders to the mix.

 

 

The Dracula Connection

As I said, you are free to play it standard “old west” or you can throw in the Dracula version and bring in the supernatural angle. This will bring all sorts of horror and odd things that go bump in the night to your game, The game rules don’t change, just the “Feel” of the game, as you will be facing off against Vampires, Hellhounds, and even Wendigo!

If you choose to go this route with your game, you will also be taking part into the different factions that are available to you, each with their own backstory

The Twilight Order, The Red Hand Coven, The Skinwalker Tribe, The Crossroads Cult, The Congregation, And the Dark Confederacy. Each faction will also grant you a special faction benefit.

 

 

The miniatures and Terrain

You can play with any miniatures you have, it would be better of course if you would use “western” themed of course. The game was designed to be used with 28-32mm scale, on 25mm diameter round bases. But I suppose you could make anything work.

You can go all out for terrain if that is what you want, or keep it simple, the way the game is designed with the movement, I think it would be better if you had a few buildings and such, but you could use your imagination if just use some legos or a book or something, but that’s the beauty of it, it’s all up to you!

North Star Military Figures has produced a full set of miniatures just for Dracula’s America Shadows Of The West, you can see a full review on there HERE.

 

Final Thoughts

Dracula’s America Shadow Of The West is a pretty solid skirmish game. I like the modular aspect of it, you can play it straight old west if you’re more inclined, or you can break out of the supernatural aspect, or feel free to mix it up. That makes for more playability. I’m sure some people would enjoy the straight old west much better.

The rules are concise and easy to read, the artwork is top notch and draws you in, The text is in a font that is easy on the eyes as well.

 

Dracula’s America is flexible, easy to learn, yet has enough in it, you can make it a bit more complex. This would be a solid addition to your miniature game self.

 

Order a copy of Dracula’s America Shadows Of The West direct from Osprey Games  Or you can order from Amazon

 

Dracula’s America Shadows Of The West was provided to us by Osprey Games, For this review, that had no effect on the outcome of this review in any way.

 

The Amazon link above is an affiliate link, if you order DDO Players will get a small percent of the sale, this is a way you can help support the site.

 

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