Collecting Western RPGs and Old West Roleplaying Games
RPG collectors wanting to collect western roleplaying gamesaren’t going to have many choices, but the choices they do have are good ones. While there are a couple of classic roleplaying games that do a good job of representing the Old West as it was, some of the best settings involve rather creative reimagining of the Old West you’ve read about in history books and seen on film. Deadlands is the starkest example of what I’m talking about.
Deadlands: The Weird West Reloaded – 10th Anniversary Limited Edition
Sometimes, a gaming publisher releases a book specifically for collectors. That’s the case with the Deadlands: The Weird West Reloadedcollectible edition. The original book was published in 1996 by Pinnacle Entertainment.This tenth anniversary book was published by Pinnacle Entertainment/Great White Games under the Savage Worlds line and is a revisedDeadlands Reloaded game. That’s a good thing, because the original rule system (though interesting) was clunky and slowed down combat so much that it took a lot of fun out of playing. I’ve never played the Reloaded version, but I’ve heard it is an improvement.
You’ll find a number of supplements and adventures for Deadlandsthat fall into the collectible category. The Marshalls Handbook, Lone Stars, Law Dogs, and Hexarcana immediately come to mind. There’s also a dark future version of Deadlands which collectors might want:Deadlands Hell on Earth. I’ve seen a signed copy of a collectors edition of Hell on Earth sell for $150 on eBay, while the 10th anniversary edition sells for around $100.
Aces and Eights Roleplaying
Aces & Eights is sells for a pretty price on the auction sites like eBay. TheAces and EightsRPG is like those old Time-Life book sets with the “look and feel of hand-tooled leather”. Where Deadlandshas an interesting card-playing theme for its game mechanic, Aces & Eights goes for hardcore lethality with its intricate hit chart. The books comes with a picture of a body and you have a circular, transparent target sight for the types of weapons and shooting ability you have. Place the target over the chart and see if and where you hit your opponent.
While Deadlands introduces horror elements to the old west setting,Aces & Eights is more about classic western tales and sticks to mundane, yet gritty, campaigns about cowboys, indians, railroad men, and cattle rustlers. The rulebook also sells on eBay for about $200.
Boot Hill RPG
For a cheaper Old West roleplaying investment, the old Boot Hill Roleplaying Game from TSR is another option. Written by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume, Boot Hillwas the third game released by TSR and went through three editions. For those who want to complete their collection, supplements included Mad Mesa, Lost Conquistador Mine, Ballots and Bullets, Burned Bush Wells, and Range War!
Boot Hill was a fun game, because it was lethal and unforgiving. Player characters had no innate advantage over non-player characters, while combat could be decided in one gun shot. In other words, Boot Hillsimulated the Old West pretty well.
Dogs in the Vineyard RPG
Some would quibble that Dogs in the Vineyard is a frontier setting instead of an Old West setting, since the game involved pre-statehood Mormon Utah (1847-1896). Players play one of God’s dogs, who travel from town to town delivering the mail, settling disputes, and otherwise getting into trouble. While they don’t have legal authority, the dogs do have religious authority. The game won Indie Game of the Year in 2004 and the main rulebook sells for about $75 online.
Old West Collectible RPGs
Other considerations include Aces High from Chaosium, Dust Devils, QUERP Modern: Wild West, Burros and Banditos, Wizards & Gunslingers, Coyote Trail, Fifth Wheel RPG, Gunslingers & Gamblers, the Wild West Cinema RPG, and Werewolf: Wild West.As I mentioned earlier, there aren’t a lot of western roleplaying games out there, but the ones that exist tend to be imaginative.