FTW Staff Picks - Colt Express

For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new. 

Colt Express

Genre: Programming 

Designer: Christophe Raimbault

Player Size: 2 to 6 Players

Game Length: 45 minutes

For fans of: Camel Up, Robo Rally, Room 25

Board games and trains have always been a popular combination. You've got Ticket to RideTrains, Mexican Trains and so on. But few games take the train theme and put it into reality like Colt Express. With an actual 3D representation of a train, the game plays like a classic Western heist. It's a good thing the game itself lives up to expectation, because the design of everything really deserves all the glory. 


In Colt Express, players are bandits looking to steal the most loot from a moving train. Players are given a deck of Action cards and 6 bullets. At the beginning of every round a Round Card is revealed. The Round Card will indicate how many turns each player has and any special events that will occur at the end of the round. Players will then take turns playing Action cards into a programming pile. Once all players have taken their turns for the round the pile is then played in sequence of when it was played, now taking action. At the end of 5 rounds, the player with the most valuable loot is declared the winner! 

There are 6 unique characters in Colt Express, each one with a special ability that only they can do. Players may punch, shoot and beckon the Marshall. At the end of the game a Gunslinger award ($1000) is given to the player who shoots the most bullets. The game is zany. There is a ton of unpredictable elements that can quickly reverse fortunes. It's not the kind of game where you can expect to thoughtfully plan things out. Every step of the way needs a bit of a contingency plan. Playing out your actions, after programming them, means you will probably end up in situations you did not foresee.

I love Colt Express. It's my favourite among the most recent Spiel des Jahres winners. If the wicked 3D train model isn't enough to excite your friends, you need to find new friends and play Colt Express with them instead. It's the kind of game that will give you laughs, without ever feeling like a cheap dice roll. It's also a great game to role-play your characters. It's a true Western experience, and one that you can actually enjoy!

Earl OliverosComment