Pappy Winchester was a big hit for my family. The reason it was a big hit is because it developed into a great family game. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and it allows players to do the same.
Theme and What is it?
Pappy Winchester has finally kicked the bucket. He may have been a swindler and a shark but one thing (next to money) was always important to Pappy and that was family. Good ol’ Pappy left a map and clues to his vast wealth. He wants you to earn your wealth, just like he did. You all gather around his map and take the little money you have to start a journey. One that may lead to untold riches and the head of the Winchester family. Prepare to search his mines, saloon and plots of land to discover Pappy’s true wealth, and see if you are lucky enough or have the skills to become the new Winchester Swindler.
Pappy Winchester is a bidding and territory control game for 3-5 players.
The key mechanic of Pappy Winchester is bidding. Players bid for plots of land. There are 19 plots. Some have mines, others are next to the railroad or river. Each turn a plot of land is randomly selected. Players bid on this lot using the money they have in hand. Players can increase the bid or pass. Once all players have passed, the player with the highest bid wins. The money paid for that plot of land is split equally with all other players, and anything left over goes to the saloon.
Each player has secret objective cards that they work on to get bonuses at the end of the game. There are also shared objective cards that everyone can see. The player who finishes a shared objective first collects the rewards.
On each plot of land is a token that is collected when a player wins the right to purchase that land. These tokens allow players to collect the money from the saloon, move the train or boat (where the train or boat stops determines who gets more money by what plots of land are touching either the tracks or the river) or a token that lets the player look in the mines or farm house to see what treasure is there.
After all 19 plots of land have been purchased, the game ends. The players add up all of their cash and the player with the most cash wins the game!
I was not really sure what to expect from Pappy Winchester. I discovered that it was very easy to learn and to teach. We had our first game up and running in less time than it took to assemble the train and boat pieces.
I played with my two oldest kids (11 & 8). They picked up on it right away. My son had some difficulties because he bid on everything and was always out of money when stuff came up that he really needed. We tried telling him that, but he wanted to play how he wanted to play.
Everyone had fun. The bidding can be intense. We made a point to really exaggerate our bidding voices and throw in a southern twang. Might as well have fun right!
The game was quick and the turns moved quickly. Everyone has a chance to bid on every piece of land, so it keeps everyone involved the whole game.
We all enjoyed the pace and the outcome. The kids wanted to play again right away and I did too.
Game Build Quality
The build is fantastic. The train and boat are the standout components. They jump right off the board and give a great 3D effect to the space. The board is nice and the cards and tokens are all industry standard. I loved the $1000 dollar bills. They felt nice and were fun to wave in people’s faces as I was intimidating them during bidding.
This game is meant to be played with kids and the components are built to last many plays with small ones touching everything.
The artwork is fun and captures your imagination immediately. The board is a sprawling mix of landscapes and the river and train tracks do a great job at breaking it all up. Even though the art is a bit on the cartoon side of things it is meant to appeal to kids and help them enjoy the game. Pappy Winchester does a great job depicting the old west and making players feel like they are there trying to snatch up all of Pappy’s loot.
My favorite part of the game was bidding and that is the main focus. You do want to complete your objectives, many of which are territory based, but it is fun to win something that another player desperately needs. Very rewarding without any actual in game reward. Moving the train and boat around is also fun because of their presence on the board and they do offer some great cash rewards when played correctly.
It was awesome having a game that I could play with my kids that taught them mechanics that they can use in other games. Pappy Winchester was something I really enjoyed too, which makes it even better.
Age Range & Weight
The recommended age for Pappy Winchester is 8+. Even though my 8-year-old did have some strategy struggles, he loved playing. I would say that 8+ is a very fair evaluation. The game is a great way to teach some fun mechanics but it can be enjoyed by anyone. I don’t think that it will just be used for teaching, I think it will be enjoyed for years to come just because it is fun.
Pappy Winchester was a big hit for my family. The reason it was a big hit is because it developed into a great family game. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and it allows players to do the same. The bidding is great fun and will be the highlight of the game if players allow it to be. The train and boat or big components that pop out and make the game board come to life. The art is whimsical and enduring all at the same time. There are lots of reasons to pick up a copy for family game nights, these are just a few.
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