Like Bohnanza, which I reviewed last month, the Wyatt Earp card game is published by Rio Grande Games. I’m a big fan of their games in general, and, along with Fantasy Flight Games, they’re what I’d consider some of the top card game and board game publishers in the industry. (I also like Steve Jackson Games, but I don’t want this to turn into a post about game companies.)
Wyatt Earp was a famous American lawman during the Old West. Your goal, as a player in the Wyatt Earp card game, is to “capture” seven outlaws. Outlaws are captured as players create melds with the cards in their hands, so Wyatt Earp has a distinct similarity in gameplay to rummy type card games.
You create melds by putting together multiple cards for specific outlaws. The game includes 49 outlaw cards, 7 for each of the 7 outlaws featured in the game. The outlaws include some of the famous Old West outlaws that you might expect in a game like this: people like Billy the Kid, Belle Star, and Jesse James (among others).
The deck also includes sheriff cards, which affect the number of “capture points” you get when you create melds. For example, the “bank robbery” card is a sheriff card. When it’s played, it increases the number of capture points for each of the outlaws by 2 points, and it also increases the reward money for the outlaw by $1000. Some of the other “sheriff cards” have other effects.
The game isn’t hard to learn, and it’s a lot of fun once you have learned how to play, especially if you’re a fan of the Old West. In fact, I can’t think of any other card games with an Old West theme available for purchase. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist–it just means I can’t think of any right now. Unless, of course, you think poker counts as an Old West themed poker game…and I think you know that’s not what I mean when I talk about Old West themed card games.
Like all of Rio Grande Games’ products, the production values are excellent. You can play Wyatt Earp with as few as 2 players or with as many as 4 players. It takes about an hour to complete a game, and the rules are a little more involved than what I described above. I was trying to give more of a “feel” for how the game is played than trying to actually explain to the novice how to play.
One of the things I liked most about the Wyatt Earp card game was the authentic artwork. They use actual drawings of the outlaws from the time period, the ones you’d see on the “Wanted” posters of the time, in order to illustrate the cards. Wyatt Earp isn’t a new game. I’ve had my box for at least 3 years, but I think the game has been around for at least a decade.
If you like rummy style games, or if you’re a fan of the American West, then Wyatt Earp is a good game to try.