This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us is an upcoming KICKSTARTER micro-game from Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG). They released a FREE print-n-play version of the game prior to firing up the Kickstarter, as they did with the wildly popular Coin Age micro-game.
First of all, the name is a mouthful: This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us. Even reduced to an acronym is unwieldy (TTABEFT24OU), particularly for such a minute game. I’ve chosen to refer to it as just TTABE to abbreviate the acronym, or just as, This Town.
TTABE is a simple, abstract game where players are cowboys, forming towns by fencing in areas as tiles are played adjacently. As the name implies, it is for 2-4 players. A single game plays out in about 10-15 minutes.
Each turn, a player draws a tile and plays it. Each tile has a fence and brands of one or more players. When an area of any size gets enclosed by fences, it is considered a town. At that point, all player brands within the town are counted. Each play in the completed town scores points equal to the number of Cowboy Brands of the player that is ranked one lower then them. Players who tie for the number of brands both get points. (Editor: I originally stated the winning player got 2 points and second place got 1 point, which is incorrect, so the text above was edited to reflect correct scoring.)
I’m not clear on specific situations, such as when all players have equal number of brands in a town – are no points scored for the town, since there is no player with fewer brands than another?
If a player puts down a tile that has a silver bar on it and it creates a town by fencing in the area, that player also gets to move one of the played tiles to anywhere else, as long as it does not segment the played tiles into two or more factions. The tile being moved also cannot be a tile that forms an existing town.
Play continues in this way until all the tiles have been played, at which point the game is over and the player with the highest score wins.
The print-n-play version of the game fit on two sheets of paper – 24 tiles, including the instructions. No dice are needed and players tally scores on paper or with counters, pennies, etc. they provide.
I’ve played six games of this and here are my initial thoughts.
It definitely fits the Micro-game genre. I was able to fit the entire game and instructions in a 2.5×4 inch bag. I chose to laminate the cards to add some thickness and wear resistance, but I’m sure the Kickstarter version will come with thicker, cardboard tiles and better artwork than the PnP version.
The artwork in the PnP version is functional but not very interesting. I think this is appropriate for a PnP, and incentive for players who like the game to get better quality components via the Kickstarter.
Cowboys wanting to form towns? I’m not sure this concept holds up, and I would prefer that cowboys are attempting to control land by fencing it in, in the Wild West. Or something. I don’t know, but it affects gameplay none, so it’s just me being nit-picky.
It is for 2-4 Players – In games of less than 4 players, some brands are not used but are still on the cards. Apparently brands for non-players are not used. This is definitely a game that is best with 4 players.
The fences on the tiles are not clear enough for me. The cards have lines through them to represent fences. Spaces between the cards are easily mistaken for fences and may lead to some confusion during play, at least on a dark tabletop. I hope the fences in the final product are more clearly defined (maybe as barbed-wire) to discern these differences.
UPDATE: The artwork is posted on the Kickstarter page, and it is much nicer. The fences are very clearly defined.
Is it Fun? Yes. I really think it is fun to play. As for replay value, it’s higher than expected for a game of this size. If I had to compare it to anything I currently have in my rotation, I would rank it on par with Love Letter. It plays in about the same amount of time and has the same level of complexity and strategy, although the strategy in the two games is very different.
If you like simple games that play fast with minimal setup\breakdown, this is one the best examples I have seen. In my opinion, this is a great addition to the line, and TMG continues to bring fast, fun games to the table. As for me – yep. I’ll be a day-one supporter of this Kickstarter.
The free PnP version of the game can be downloaded from this link: Boardgamegeek.com
The Kickstarter is at this link: This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us
Now, get off’a my land. Er, town… or whatever, you varmints.