In Western Town, each player is a Marshal of an expanding town in the Old West of the U.S. in the early 1860s. Each Marshal wants to develop the most prosperous town, one that President Lincoln himself would be proud to visit.
The three principal criteria that allow you to win the game are population growth, charm/attractiveness, and wealth, as measured by gold. Turns are regulated by the visits of Lincoln, who determines, bit-by-bit, the value of the towns relative to those three criteria. These criteria can and do change every round, and you will need to adapt to these changing criteria to win this game!
Each player has his own board on which he will be building his town. Every building gives him different, and increasing, rights and abilities, and therefore power. The bigger your town gets, the better – but managing too much growth is challenging, so you'll need to make difficult choices at the beginning of each round as to which buildings you'll bring into play.
This "building-adding" mechanism helps players stay in the game and not get lost in the overwhelming number of choices available. Of 22 different buildings, six of them are identified every round as "bonus" buildings, and players are forced to adapt varying strategies and test new combinations of these buildings for their town as the game progresses.
In addition to logic and strategy, Marshals will need to bluff and occasionally resort to questionably bending the law a bit, to succeed in building their Western Town. And as if that weren't enough, there are even occasional Indian attacks to deal with as well!