This post is meant to introduce potential playtesters to the skirmish game of Dinosaur Cowboys, and to lower the barrier to play by providing some easy support material.
These files are based around the latest version of the rulebook, as compared to the copy available from the “Download Rulebook” link on this site.
Everything you need in a single file (rulebook and sample posses):
- Just the rulebook (closer to what the final product would be): Download Dinosaur Cowboys Rulebook v1.4beta
- Eight sample posses to ease starting up: Download Easy Playtest Posses v1.4beta
What is this Game
First of all, is this game going to interest you? If the mention of dinosaurs, futuristic cowboys, lasers, twelve sided dice, 28mm miniatures combat, and competing posses doesn’t strike your fancy, this game might not your kind of genre.
Dinosaur Cowboys uses miniature figurines like those from Games Workshop, Reaper Miniatures, Spartan Games, Privateer Press, or numerous other providers. Each player will build (or choose) a “Posse”, which is a gang of 2-5 humans and up to 1 dinosaur. The general structure and play will be familiar to anyone who has tabletop wargame experience.
Once both players have a Posse they will set up a table to play on. Generally this is filled with model terrain (styrofoam hills, fake trees, etc.). The players decide how to deploy their Posse by using the guidelines in the rulebook. They can also choose an objective for the game.
Then the game starts. Each turn players will roll Initiative to see who can activate first. However activation is done on a per-model basis, instead of an entire Posse acting before the opponent can do anything. So playing the game is involved and there isn’t much downtime between getting to do something on the table.
When activating a model they can move and perform an action with it (in either order). Generally the action would be shooting or attacking in melee. All combat is done using twelve sided dice (D12s) and the statistics of the units. There are many examples in the rulebook to help understand how everything fits together.
An idea of how the game looks when it’s being played is below. You can see terrain, various miniature figurines, a dinosaur, some dice, some tokens, etc. This was an actual game in progress, not a staged shot. Click for the full size.
- A first game usually takes 60-90 minutes to play. Subsequent games where you are more familiar with the rules can take from 30-60 minutes.
- The files above. There is a single rulebook PDF that has everything you need to play the game. If you want to avoid printing the document you can just view it on a laptop while you play.
- Some posse rosters. The easiest approach is to choose from the provided examples above. Alternatively players can build their own posses (recruit members, upgrade them, equip them, etc.). To expedite this process you can use The Saloon online posse builder (with PDF export capabilities to easily print your creation).
- Measuring tape, pencils and erasers
- Miniature figurines, generally 28mm scale. I use a variety of miniature brands. Something to represent a dinosaur might also be necessary, depending on the Posse. I use inexpensive plastic toys (of the Papo brand).
- A table with some kind of terrain on it, normally 4 feet by 3 feet. Smaller tables favor melee while larger tables favor ranged.
- Twelve sided dice (D12s), a couple six sided dice (D6s). With certain dinosaurs a D4, D8, and D10 may be necessary, but you can get around this by rerolling a D6/D12 until the proper range comes up.
Both positive and negative feedback is much appreciated and can be done as a comment on this post or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m generally looking for people to read the rulebook for clarity, grammar, etc. You obviously don’t even need to play the game to do this. Really any additional eyes on the rulebook would be much appreciated!
As for playtesting, actually running through a game (alone or with a friend) would be extremely beneficial and interesting to me. If you could jot down notes of issues or confusion that came up during play that’d be even better.