Wild West Exodus (WWX) is a skirmish wargame from Warcradle Studios, set in their Dystopian Age setting, which also includes the nautical wargame, Dystopian Wars, and the upcoming Lost World Exodus (LWE). WWX is set in the Weird West and features different factions of gunslingers, outlaws, the law, Native Americans, monstrous creations, and a race of aliens known as the Watchers. In this preview, we'll have a look at the third edition of Wild West Exodus, the box contents for the Showdown At Retribution Starter Set, and a detailed look at the units it contains.
Wild West Exodus Third Edition
Wild West Exodus's third edition is more of a refinement of the second edition WWX rules, rather than a rewrite. Warcradle Studios have incorporated all the errata from the last edition, along with tidying up and streamlining some rules.
For players new to WWX, it's a skirmish wargame, where players control small forces of individual troops and heroes, rather than large armies. WWX is an alternating action game, where players take turns activating their characters. WWX uses ten-sided dice (D10s) and also utilizes mechanics with card decks very well.
As WWX is a low model count game, each character or unit has a card with its stats and abilities on it. The main mechanic for tests is to get a score of ten or higher with your stat added to the number rolled on a D10. So if your character’s Aim trait is seven, you will need to roll three or more on a D10 to hit. Other modifiers come in, like cover or firing multiple shots and they all combine to make a quick test system, once you’re used to it.
The depth of the game comes in with the action mechanics. When it’s your turn to activate a unit, you first draw a card from the Action deck. Action cards have a number between one and five, and that’s how many action points your character gets for their turn. Action points can be spent to move and attack and additional actions can be spent to run, aim or activate special abilities. Characters also have a pool of Fortune, which is spent to boost actions. Your leader has a pool that all of your posse can tap into, and other characters have their own pool to use. Each character’s pool refreshes at the end of that character’s activation, so using your leader’s fortune depletes their pool until you activate them again.
Initiative each turn is also handled by the action deck and each player draws a card, with the player with the highest small number printed on the card gaining the initiative. There is also an adventure deck, which players draw from at the start of the game and refresh as cards are used or discarded. Adventure cards have a dual feature use. They can be spent to steal the initiative or gain action points on the Guts side or work like objectives on the Glory side to gain victory points that go towards winning the game. Only one side of the card can be used, so players have to balance the in-game bonuses’ with earning victory points.
WWX doesn’t have any wounds for characters, so when a character is dealt damage that they can’t save, they’re removed from the game. Special characters have a couple of tricks and saving throws, but if the dice don’t go your way, or if there’s a concerted effort on your opponent’s behalf to remove a character, then they’re going out.
All of the above combines into a very tactical game. Players really have to manage their activations and positioning, as leaving a character out of cover can mean a quick end to them. Working out threats from your opponents and also monitoring and maintaining your own fortune pool is essential. It feels very thematic to play, as all the small details like the card mechanics and the stats in the six-shooter bullet holes really add to the game. WWX is very brutal, and you can lose characters and units very easily if you’re not careful.
Wild West Exodus Showdown At Retribution Starter Set
The Wild West Exodus Showdown at Retribution two-player starter set contains:
- Wild West Exodus Core Rules
- Showdown at Retribution Quickstart Guide
- Showdown at Retribution Campaign Book
- Two forty-eight-card action card decks
- Two sixty-card adventure card decks
- Template, token & counters set
- Eight ten-sided dice
- Twenty-two plastic miniatures (Union and Enlightened Forces)
The two-player starter set contains everything two players need to play, but you will need some hobby accessories to build the miniatures, at the minimum, super glue, and a hobby knife, but a file for cleaning up mold-lines and plastic glue (which works better for the hard-plastic miniatures), will also help you along.
All of the miniatures come on hard plastic sprues, and some have multiple options for building. The Iron Horse sprue for example can build both the Union and Enlightened, but also contains the parts for the Outlaws and Lawmen. The Union Teslabot's can be built with a ranged or melee option and the Enlightened Cav can be built as a wheeled or spider-like variety.
If you're brand new to WWX, then the quickstart guide details all the parts for each build, and you're advised to build the options pictures on the starter set (three Teslabot's with Electrocarbines and six with Electro Batons & Shields, one Mono-Cav, and two Strider-Cav). The starter set comes with enough bases to build all the different options, as the two types of Enlightened Cav use different bases, so you will have some spare regardless of which options you build. The base size for each unit can be found on the unit profile cards at the back of the quickstart guide.
It's great to see the three stages of the starter set split between the three different books. Players start with the Quickstart Guide for unit assembly, then work through the tutorial missions in the Showdown at Retribution Campaign Book, referring to the rulebook, before taking on full games using the scenarios in the Core Rulebook.
Games of WWX do require a lot of scenery, especially as games are quite brutal, and even the intro scenarios detail some scenery to use. Luckily, Warcradle Scenics have loads of reasonably priced thematic scenery that can fill battlefields of any size.
Wild West Exodus Showdown at Retribution Union Force
The WWX Showdown at Retribution Two Player Starter Set comes with a solid Union force.
- Nikolai Tesla - Nikolai is only armed with short-range weapons, but can jet pack across the board to get into combat quickly as his armor can shrug off most incoming attacks to protect him on the way in.
- Union Belle - Belle is fast, which is handy because she's only armed with short-range weapons. For a free action, she can move ten inches towards a construct or machine unit and he can also focus her charge for free. Keep her close to friendly units to make the most of her inspirational re-roll bonus.
- Carl Fredrickson - Carl is armed with the set's best chance at getting through the Enlightened's armor, and can teleport around the battlefield with his portal shunt action.
- Two Iron Eagles - Fast and durable hoverbikes armed with heavy electrocarbines with a high rate of fire.
- Nine UR-31E Teslabot (These can be built with either Electro Batons & Shields or Electrocarbines) - There are two options for the Teslabots, either ranged or close combat. They're quite durable but slow, and the melee Guard option's shield only protects them in melee, so the ranged Riflemen need to protect the Guards with fire as they advance.
Wild West Exodus Showdown at Retribution Enlightened Force
The WWX Showdown at Retribution Two Player Starter Set with a devastating Enlightened force.
- Gustave Eiffel - Gustave is fast and armed with a template blunderbuss. He can resurrect destroyed constructs, so filling out the construct units to maximum unit size should be your first goal after the starter set to make maximum use of this ability.
- Smash & Grab - Smash and Grab are pretty devastating in a fight, but very unpredictable. They automatically redraw their action card, so you're never sure how many action points they're getting, but it's a great way to get rid of a low action point card. They also have to pass a mind check each turn (not their greatest trait), or charge the nearest enemy within twenty inches. If there isn't an enemy within range, one of your own units might get the good news from Smash & Grab.
- Emily Nouguier - Emily's best use is to bring back destroyed automata units (only the Union has automata units in this set, so expanding your collection with Enlightened automata is essential), and she can also take control of enemy automata and force them to attack. If you keep her close to Smash & Grab, she can activate them for an effective close combat attack.
- Two Construct Calvary - The Construct Cavalry are less durable than the Union's Iron Eagles, but they're faster, and can be detonated to deal some last min damage to any units they're in contact with.
- Three Mono-Cav (These can also be built as Strider-Cav) - The two Cav options have the same stats, with the Mono having ranged weapons and a deadly ram and the Strider is agile with close combat weapons. Both can also be detonated to deal damage to any units they're in contact with.
The Showdown at Retribution starter set gives two solid forces to start your WWX journey, along with all the accessories to get you playing. Both forces offer a great opportunity to expand on, and the hugely diverse range of WWX miniatures already released means there's an option for every playstyle.
This is also a great time to start your WWX journey as OnTableTop, in conjunction with Warcradle are starting a Global Gunslinger League, running for six weeks in early November. They're going to have tutorials using the new starter set, and you'll be able to start and grow your own posse using their project system. We're going to be building our own Pride posse, and will be showcasing our progress here on the site.
The copy of the Wild West Exodus Showdown At Retribution Starter Set used to produce this review was provided by OnTableTop.