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The Magnificent Seven of Board Games - Revolver 2 Review

Jason Moslander
United States
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Originally posted at

One of my favorite Westerns ever has to be Magnificent Seven. Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, and Steve McQueen are at their best in this one. I love the story of a group of men deciding to protect a town from a group of vigilantes In the end, it cost most of them their lives, but they defended the city until the end. The original movie has inspired a sequel and a TV series. There was also a spoof of the famous movie, called the Three Amigos, with Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short. The story of the Magnificent Seven is told once again, but this time in board game form. Sure, it doesn't have the classic name, but the story line is the same in Revolver 2.

Revolver 2 is the second stand alone game in the Revolver series. The game cannot be combined with Revolver 1 (Red box) or any of it's expansions. Revolver 2 is a 2-player card game that takes 30-45 minutes to play. It was designed by Mark Chaplin and Leigh Caple, and is co-published by Stronghold and White Goblin Games. In Revolver 2, the town of Malpaso is attempting to defend itself against the Outlaw "General" Mapache. The citizens of Malpaso have hired the "Padre" Esteban to assemble a team of hired guns to protect the city from Mapache. The game pits Mapache against the "guardians" that have been hired by the city of Malpaso. The main game play of Revolver 1 is still there. Each player is given a deck of cards and plays them on a series of battlefields. After each player has had a chance to play cards on the current battlefield, the firepower of each player is assessed. If the Mapache player (bad guys), manages to kill one of the guardians during the round, he is considered the winner for the round. He is able to do this, by either playing a card that kills a guardian, or if his firepower exceeds that of the guardians. If the Malpaso player manages to survive the attack, they are able to remove a sombrero from the Mexican Army card (If the Malpaso player is able to remove all the sombrero tokens, he wins the game). Play continues in this fashion until all the rounds on all the battlefields have been played, and at least one guardian is still standing, if all the sombreros are removed, or if all the guardians are killed. The Malpaso player (good guys) wins if one of the first two conditions is made. The Mapache player (bad guys) wins if the last condition is made.

New Features
The above game play is almost identical to that of Revolver 1, however there are differences in how the overall game is played. First, you start the game by playing a poker tournament. This is used to determine the first three cards of the battlefield. Whomever wins gets to determine what these cards are, and thus giving them an advantage in the game. These first three battlefields also give the Malpaso some unique options. At the start of the game, he only has seven guardians. However, the first three battlefields allow for him to recruit new guardians to protect the city. There are also options to skip rounds on certain battlefields, or to stay longer to get more guardians. The last major change is the addition of two cards that allow the Malpaso player to clear the opponents firepower cards on a given battlefield. The Mapache player, has a special card that can be used on the last battlefield. It is a Gatling Gun card that can be used to devastate the Malpaso guardians. And trust me, if you are patient, the Gatling Gun can really swing the game in the closing seconds of the game.

Components and Value
The components for Revolver 2 are comparable to those in Revolver 1, however, there are some nice upgrades. First, the wooden tokens are nice green sombreros, rather than just red cubes. This really helps thematically. Second is the artwork. The style is the same as the first game, and is done by the same artist. However, one of my biggest complaints about the first game was that some of the artwork wasn't always appropriate for younger players. The artwork in this game, though, is much better suited for a wide variety of players, and some of the cards are down right funny (talking to you crazy lady holding a cat). The only complaint that some people may have is that once again the game comes in a metal tin. If tins aren't your thing, you may have an issue with this (personally, I like it). Value wise, you get about the same amount of cards and components as the first game, and the price of about $30 is right on for the components and game play that you find in the Revolver series.

Game Play
As I stated above, the main game play of Revolver 2 is almost identical to that of Revolver 1. As I stated in my review of Revolver 1, I thoroughly enjoy how the game plays out. The back and forth on the battlefields is highly entertaining, and deciding when to hold cards and when to commit them to a battlefield has always been an interesting decision for me. The added elements of Revolver 2 really do bring the game to a new level. The poker tournament along with the special ability cards, allow for players to make some critical decisions in the game. They also keep you guessing as to what cards are worth committing to a battlefield, because they may just be wiped away by a mine cave in or a bridge being blown to kingdom come. These are elements that I have really enjoyed in Revolver 2, and in my opinion make a better game than the first.

Red vs. Green
Revolver 1 and 2 are both excellent games, however, as a consumer and a gamer, I cannot see having both of these games in my collection. In the end, they are just too similar. Revolver 1 does have some more customization available with the 2 expansions and a third one on the way, but I believe that if Revolver 2 garners enough support, we could see expansions for it as well. So, which one should you buy? Well, Revolver 1 (Red) in it's base form (no expansions) it is a more streamlined game. The game play is more straightforward, and is easier to learn. Revolver 2 (Green) on the other hand, has a better story, in my opinion, better components, better artwork, and is just more fun than the original. If I had to pick just one, it would be Green. If I already had Red, I just don't think I could justify the purchase of Green. I think at that point your money is better spent on Red expansions. However, if you just cannot get enough of Red, and it's one of your favorite games, and you are needing a bit of a change up to the game you love, Green maybe a welcome change. And if you find yourself not playing the Red edition, you can always give it to one of your close gaming buddies so that if you ever get the itch, it is not far away.

How is it with Two?
As with Revolver Red, this to is strictly a two-player-only game making it great with two. If they decide to continue to build on the Revolver series, I would love to see a four player version or even a board game implementation. If you are looking for a two player game, and you enjoy westerns either one of these games is a good choice.

Final Thoughts
Revolver 2 is a good game. It has some welcomed improvements from the first game, and tells a great story (think reboot instead of sequel). I have thoroughly enjoyed the series and the both games are wonderful. However, I just don't see how one could justify owning both games. Especially if you are trying to be Jones' Theory compliant. The only other reason to own both is that you are a sucker for cowboys, or you are just a huge fan of Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, and Sergio Leone. Then, by all means collect them all.

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