Welcome to Wild West Weeks

Wild West Weeks
Wild West Weeks
Wild West Weeks

Over the next two weeks, Mad Brew Labs is hosting Wild West Weeks. For the following fortnight, I will be showcasing tabletop games, video games, miniatures, movies, music and other tools gamers can utilize to travel back in time and experience the freedom and grit of the Old West. The American Frontier is a setting rife with opportunities to be exploited at the game table.

The American Old West is more than a period of history; it has transcended mere historical record and become a mythology ingrained in American culture. Indeed, much of how our collective memory remembers the Old West is more legend than truth. While the frontier was dangerous and unforgiving, the violence and gunplay of the Wild West was exaggerated by the dime novels and media of the period (similar sensationalism is present in journalism today) and then perpetuated by Hollywood.

Yet, regardless of the embellishment of violence, the crucible of frontier life forged key ideals and aesthetics that comprise what many consider to be core American values. The American Dream was born in the wild and perilous frontier where there was seemingly infinite opportunity for those willing to wear the mantle of the pioneer.

Also, the Wild West represents end of the American frontier as the Anglo-American civilization conquers the wild hinterland and indigenous cultures. The encroachment of the government spells the end of some liberty as they impose law and no longer can a man keep all his wealth and earnings under the burden of taxes.

I think these themes of liberty versus safety, law against anarchy, independence opposed to conformity, risk over reward, and man versus wild provide a great atmosphere for roleplaying opportunities. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be reviewing several roleplaying games targeted at playing in the American West as well as provide useful resources for players and game masters in Old West campaigns.

I’ve also decided to try my hand at a 24 Hour RPG[1] targeting Old West gaming this Saturday. A 24 Hour RPG is a design meme where an author only has 24 hours to produce a fully functional game within twenty-four hours. No prep work or help from external parties.

I’ll begin the game on Saturday at noon (Eastern Standard Time) and will put my pen down at noon on Sunday. I plan to live-blog the entire process, as I will write the entire thing in chunks on this blog and publish them as I finish up related sections. Whether or not I finish, I’ll release what I have under a Creative Commons license.[2]

Listening to: Yoshida Brothers – Tsugaru Shamisen – Morricone

References

[1] 24 Hour RPG

[2] Creative Commons License

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