Old West Empresario – Tasty Minstrel Games – Review

The only thing that would make it better would be ninjas, space ninjas, with lasers.

Josh Hale



Theme and What is it?


Unlike the stark landscapes of Spaghetti Westerns, Old West Empresario is a richly colored, and vibrant western wagon’s west mining town. Like a real western pop-up town, by and large, the town was bank-rolled by a few individuals.

In Old West Empresario, it is bank-rolled by you and up to three of your friends. Now, the question comes, you are not creating spaghetti, you are creating a salad, a point salad.

Gameplay Mechanics


Drafting, drafting and more drafting.

This game has made the drafting mechanic two, if not three levels deep. Here there are two dice per player, and an extra that will be used at the end of the round by all players.

  1. You will draft a die.
  2. Draft a tile, or use die in your town to power it.
    1. if a tile is drafted, immediately back fill.
    2. if a power is used, follow the power, and do the action
  3. Pass the turn
  4. When all dice have been drafted (except one), all players will use the last die to power their town, or a building in their town.

Game ends when a player has 15 town tiles, built, all population tokens have been taken, or there are no more tiles to buy.

Initial Impressions


I am generally a fan of the western.

I lament that Hollywood doesn’t make enough westerns in my opinion. So whenever a western themed game comes out, it immediately piques my interest.

Here is no exception to that general rule. The only thing that would make it better would be ninjas, space ninjas, with lasers.

Game Build Quality


I almost dread discussing TMG component quality.

They in my experience, always make a stellar product. The quality always screams at you, buy me, buy me, buy me.

The only nit-picky issue I have with this offering is the insert is basically non-existent. It is the old style separate things cardboard insert. I wish it were more fancy, but again, it is super nitpicky. I would rather the game components be awesome, then the insert, if I had to choose between the two.

Artistic Direction


Sergi Marcet, has produced a vibrant lively town. It looks good on the table.

The box art looks very nice, and calls attention to the theme. It is playful, without making it feel juvenile.

Sometimes the best compliment when it comes to game art, is that it services the game exactly  as it should, without calling attention to itself.

Fun Factor


Let’s be honest, I like dice. I like TMG dice. I have enjoyed Old West Empresario a fair bit.

Drafting is such a great mechanic generally, and double and triple layering it makes the choices even more painful at times.

If you enjoy drafting, this may be up your alley.

Age Range & Weight


14+. I think a younger player could enjoy this, but TMG suggests 14+.

I would guess this has to do with the mathing of the points salad. I could see a younger audience, just enjoying building their town, and honestly, being able to win by building a cool town. (Against most players)

I would not hesitate to play this with someone as young as 10.



Old West Empresario entered my vision as a cute trading game. I did not realize what I was getting into. The drafting mechanic is top-notch.

You should definitely check this out at TMG at GenCon if you are able. I can see it replacing a few other drafting games that may not get as much play with this on my shelf. Do you have a favorite drafting mechanic or game?