Battle Report: Purge the Hollowwood

I’ve been making v2.6 changes all day, mostly around Traits (which tediously require updating the Trait document, re-pasting it into the core rulebook, then updating and testing the Saloon list, then updating the Quickdraw rules, and updating existing posses including the example ones – what a horrible process but I don’t know how to improve it). So with that said I won’t have a ton of energy to post as many details of my most recent playtest. The game itself was enjoyable, and I think the pictures turned out well. Amazing what a different and unique table setup can do for fun.

I created two posses that utilize a lot of new features and weapons fresh in v2.6. The terrain setup I used represented an old crater that had filled in with lush jungle. I envisioned some of the trees having a tough wood (that is actually used for Wood Armor) that happens to be poisonous to dinosaurs. Two gangs are contracted by opposite firms to purge out the “bad seeds”. So in other words 5 tree markers and the Demolish objective (with a slight twist of no attacks on the trees from further than 6″, reasoned as the thick bark). The objective factored very little into the game itself though. Otherwise I used a Corner deployment. No turn limit, and the match ended up going to 9 turns as a result.

Here are the two posses. Don’t worry about the IP/ND not being even, I went for flavor and added things I wouldn’t normally (like one person carrying FOUR types of grenades).

General Williams Brigade (PDF)
Posse picture left to right (excluding the dinosaur): Bellgloan, Malius Blaze, General William, Tom West, Unit 4-15-3
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0008Lots of exciting features here. The leader (General William) is built for charging while mounted, pure and simple. Charger trait, Onslaught, and a top tier Plasma Lance. Lovely. Malius Blaze would test out the improved flamethrower weapons, specifically the Badlands Burner. Tom West was a Boxer, which meant his fists were lethal weapons capable of 2A-8D. The mini I used is an old D&D guy, the iconic representation of the 3.0 Fighter. I’d love to get a bare knuckle boxer type mini, if I could find one that isn’t some goofball straight from the ring. I guess I could just file/cut weapons off someone. Bellgloan was pretty basic, just testing the interaction of the high attack Klondike 7000 (or ‘K7K’) with the classic Rapid Fire and Go For the Eyes traits. Unit 4-15-3 has a special place in my heart (and not just because that was the name of my Doctor character in my recent Edge of the Empire campaign). I mentioned way, way back that I really like medics and support characters, so Unit 4-15-3 exemplifies this within the current rules. Quick Hands for an easy heal, Doctor because it’s one of the best designed passive traits, and Get Up for some remote healing. Then a SLEW of IRPs, just a ton. He will also test the Pushed capabilities of the Lewis Airgun. Dinosaur is pretty simple, except I’d be using the smaller Horned model I have for a change of pace.

Le’Dorfs Royal Force (PDF)
Posse picture left to right (excluding the dinosaur): Iara September, Madhat, Richard Le’Dorf, Glargamar, Corporal Luke Mossly (new mini)
DC-Hollowwood-26-Test-0002Lots more to test with these guys. The leader is taking out The Tombstone for a spin, so who knows how that’ll work. The idea is to use it with Clean Shot for a massive attack (basically 1A-11D with Armor Piercing). He also took one of my favorite named guns the O’Sullivan Sixer, the top tier Six-Shooter. Madhat was purely a grenade man and demolitions expert. With the Thrower traits he could reach 21″ with a Bundle of Dynamite…some arm on him! Glargamar would ride the dinosaur most likely and try to Pull targets in with the Dinocatcher. Iara was a pretty standard sniper with a focus on testing the higher end Frontier Twin Rifle and various traits. Corporal Luke Mossly was a similar support character to Unit 4-15-3 but he went with the unique approach of the Motivate weapons and the Lend a Hand trait. And the dinosaur is a T-Rex named Tiny, so that I have an excused to use the Allosaurus model (since I’ve been overusing my Papo T-Rex I feel).

Table and Deployment

Early Moves
With a lengthier game like this I can’t recall the exact turn by turn details, and I barely took any notes. I’ll highlight some unique or especially exciting parts though. Otherwise just enjoy the pictures!

Awesome moment pictured below where Madhat put his super long range Bundle of Dynamite to good use. Everyone had just dismounted from the Horned dinosaur and spread out. Unfortunately they didn’t have much beyond a 3″ to 4″ movement, so they were quite clustered. Which meant Madhat could hit the dinosaur AND get the 4″ Explosion effect on everyone. In other words four targets for the price of one. I thought the game was gonna be over so quickly after this happened.

Closing the Gap

Nice usage of the Klondike 7000 pictured below. Bellgloan used his traits Rapid Fire (+2 Attacks) and Go For the Eyes (Crit on 10+) for a total of 9A-1D. But his roll was awesome and ended up doing 11 damage. So many bonus Criticals from the trait.

Blood Around the Big Tree
General William got his chance to fulfill his purpose of Charging (pictured below). While mounted on the Horned dinosaur he reached Glargamar (who was also mounted) with a big Charge right by the central tree. With the usage of Onslaught (+4 Attacks on Charge) and his great Plasma Lance (+1 Attack and +1 Damage on Charge) meant he was hitting for 7A-9D. You can imagine how Glargamar felt as he got one-shot killed.

Also Unit 4-15-3 got to really shine, even though he had been Stunned thanks to a long distance Dustbomb from Madhat (you can see the marker in the pictures below). The backline of General William’s posse wasn’t looking so great, but the doc turned it around. He used Get Up! (which doesn’t require an action, so he could do that while Stunned) to fix up the nearby Malius Blaze. Then he used Quick Hands on himself, which also got around the Stunned, and with the help of his Lifesaving IRP healed from 3 HP back to full.

The Lines Push
General Williams did an awesome move forward to get into melee with the clumped backline of Le’Dorf’s Royal Force. Time to Whirlwind…oh yes, what a time it was. He did take a Snap Attack from the King dinosaur, but the trade off was worth it (T-Rex missed anyway). Also Tom West basically punched a T-Rex over and over in a glorious display of martial prowess. Eventually he’d lose the combat, thanks to supporting fire outside the combat (plus a lot of healing of the T-Rex, including a full stage two Get Up!), but it was still an impressive fight.

At this point the dinosaurs had basically pushed through to the opposite deployment zone. So all the “squishy” shooters in the back were suddenly panicking. One of the funner dinosaur usages I’ve seen in a while.

Scramble to Survive
Hilariously enough on Turn 7 the leader Richard Le’Dorf actually got to use Clean Shot (normally it’s an early game opener) because the enemy doctor Unit 4-15-3 had healed himself back up to full. Also Madhat had basically burned himself out of grenades at this point, with nearly everything needing a Reload.

Last Breaths
By this point Le’Dorf Royal Force consisted of Iara and Madhat, or who I commonly refer to as Trista and Khulan. These minis date WAY back to the original Dinosaur Cowboys skirmish tests, like 4 years ago. From the Bounty at Caldwell Lake you can see them fighting together, so it’s neat to have them trying to survive back to back now.
The picture below with the orange D6 rolling a 1 was for the Charge from the Horned dinosaur, which would have wrecked house. The Le’Dorf posse were definitely on their back foot, especially since Madhat had minimum ranges enough that he’d have to resort to unskilled Brawl attacks in melee. So the failed Charge really helped the situation.
Unit 4-15-3 was sustaining himself very well, and actually managed a pretty neat kill. He took a far shot at Iara, who had risked the Snap Attack to leave combat with the Horned dinosaur. Unit 4-15-3 hit on a roll of 12, and left Iara with 1 HP. But the weapon used was the new Lewis Airgun, so the 4″ Pushed actually sent her back into the impassable Horned dinosaur, which triggered the “Push Damage” rule, and she died from that! Basically she splattered against a dinosaur.

All Done
In the end the General William Brigade posse won the day against Le’Dorf’s Royal Force. The game was really back and forth, and I thought it would be over many times before it actually was. What really demonstrates the back and forth are some of the total Hitpoint tallies I recorded. Unit 4-15-3 ended up going through 12, 5, 3, 12 (Lifesaving IRP), 3, 12 (Large IRP). Similarly the Horned dinosaur went 32, 24, 20, 14, 13, 8 (what a survivor). And finally the King T-Rex went 26, 15, 25 (Get Up! II), 14, 9, 19 (Lend a Hand), 15, 6, 3, -3.

What Did We Learn?
A few things, actually. Doctors are awesome, that’s for sure. I mentioned above the “Doctor” passive trait is one of the better designed ones. The reason I said that is because it’s very powerful but also very situational. It can be completely useless or completely game changing, depending on player skill and strategy. It also helps develop and utilize a more niche aspect of the game (some posses don’t even bother with healing). And it also takes some Neodollar investment to work well. But yeah, lots of fun having a “healer” on the battlefield to sustain everyone.
I also realized it’s time to bite the bullet and rename a lot of the Traits. As I look over the (somewhat overly long) list I notice some duplication. Why are Berserker and Rapid Fire a separate trait, when they both give +2 Attacks (just to different weapon types)? There is some attempt at consistency with Traits named “XYZ Shot”, like Knee Shot, Coward Shot, etc. But what I did now is renamed these to an ACTUALLY consistent “Attack – XYZ”, like Attack – Coward, Attack – Inspire, etc.
Balance seems good, and the new weapons are spot on. I tweaked Motivate a bit so you can heal other allies as well as yourself, to really fit the theme. I added a medium range to Lever-Actions to support their 1 Attack. Just minor stuff like that.

So at this point v2.6 is 95% ready to go. I need to do a final readthrough and edit, otherwise it’s just releasing it, updating the Saloon (and posses), posting info to Boardgamegeek, etc. I might get one or two more playtests in (not sure if I’ll record them here), but like I said before look for the rules before the end of April. Maybe a release next week (from the time of this post) in fact!

After that I want to do a battle report featuring my new painted Mad Max style figure, as well as a gas station, Exxon signs, and a propane tank. So that should be pure fun.

Playtesting Information

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.

The Files
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):

Dinosaur Cowboys Playtest Document (PDF)

Go-WestWhat 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.

Requirements to Play

  • 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

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.

A Photographic Walk Down Memory Lane

You know this project has been going on for quite a while now, basically since the first egg of an idea in November 2009. Now this blog has recently received it’s 3,000th view, which is big news for a small fries rules designer like me.
So I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on the Dinosaur Cowboy roots. The pictures below are from the first game I played of Dinosaur Cowboys, basically with some early sheets and scrap paper for rules ideas. In this case I pitted two totally made up characters against each other. Originally the game was meant to be an RPG, which is why the sheets you see are so much more detailed than the simple and elegant statline on the modern roster. I like it too because you can see a bunch of old weapons, the original damage track idea (a mechanic I love from Silent Death), and so forth. You can also see similarities though, like the weapon statline which is fairly similar to what is used today.
Anyways interesting and fun either way!