Bluffs and Bad Guys--A Double-Take Preview of Outlawed!

Today we're previewing Outlawed!, a fast filler from designer Ryan Cowler and the fine folks at Green Couch Games. This bluffing card game for 2-4 players is on Kickstarter right now. Is this Outlaw dead or alive? Let's find out!

In Outlawed, players are vying to be the next deputy of Bandit Bluff, by bringing in wanted criminals, which are all anthropomorphic animals. (BTW: If you name a town Bandit Bluff, aren't you just asking for trouble?!)

Each player gets a set of the same eleven Outlaw cards, and then randomly removes one of them, so there's a bit of uncertainty. Each Outlaw card has a colorful picture of the Outlaw, a bounty for bringing him or her in, and an apprehend condition that must be fulfilled in order to bring that Outlaw in. 

The game is played in rounds. Starting with the Start Player (a role that revolves around the table each round), he or she places out a facedown Outlaw card and announces the name of the Outlaw played. But the player doesn't have to tell the truth! Other players do the same thing in turn order. Then everyone reveals their cards and you look to see whether the apprehend conditions were met. 

Some of the conditions include:

  • A Rival's claim was a lie this round. 
  • A Rival's claim was true this round. 
  • The card you claimed this turn was played by a Rival. 
  • Nobody played the same card this round. 
  • Two or more of the same card was played this turn. 

If you successfully apprehend the Outlaw, you place the card facedown in front of you in your "jail." If not, then it goes back in your hand. You pass the first player card and continue playing until someone has 7 cards in his or her jail. Everyone adds up the bounty amount on their jailed Outlaws, and the highest total wins. There's also a scoring variant where the first person to get 7 Outlaws just wins--with tiebreakers if more than one person accomplishes that in a round. 


The Verdict

Firestone--I'll be honest. My first thought was, "Is this just War with animals?" Well the answer is no, and I was pleasantly surprised at how fun this was. My kids LOVED it and immediately wanted to play again. We started on the Beginner Game (fewer and "easier" starting cards, and you only play until 4 Outlaws are captured), but it didn't take long to move on to the regular game. 

Jeremiah--Yeah, totally thought at first glance that there wasn't much meat to this, but...shocker! There's as much meat to this game as you want! If you're looking for  a quick-playing fast-paced bluffing game, this is it; if you're looking for a methodical stare down, well this is also it. The mechanics are streamlined and really let the players play off what is happening and being claimed rather than focus on which action they're supposed to be taking next.

Firestone--As with most bluffing games, this gets better as you play it more and become more familiar with the cards and the ways they interact. Outlawed works great with nongamers and family. It might be a little light for gamers, but as fast as it is, I'd have no problem suggesting this for game night while we're waiting for something else to wrap up. 

Jeremiah--Exactly, for the reasons I stated above it works well with both gamer and nongamer alike. And I love it as a filler game while someone is setting up that massive euro game for the next main event!

Firestone--One thing we found a little tricky was explaining the difference between lying and bluffing to the kids. They're generally concrete thinkers, so they thought it was a game where we lie, which isn't normally okay...but is somehow okay here? Anyway, it was just something I had to navigate, but not a deal-breaker. 

Jeremiah--Yeah... truthfully I haven't played it with my boys yet for that same reason. I plan on it soon, but it's just a genre that we've been looking for the right game to introduce them to it, and this one just might be it. Still... it's a hard line to draw and tell them that they did good by fooling me... 

Firestone's Final Verdict--Outlawed is a fast, fun filler! It's easy to teach, and you find yourself wanting to play again immediately after a game is over. My kids certainly did. Great artwork and a $15 price tag only adds to the value. Green Couch Games' offerings keep getting better and better. 

Jeremiah's Final Verdict--I love getting prototypes from Green Couch because they're nearly finished, they look great, and they're fun games. The final version of Outlawed promises to be fantastic! In my opinion, the less weight there is to a bluffing game the better--give me a few "plot points" to gain info about what other players are doing, and let the game take shape around the table. Outlawed does that very, very well! Outlawed is yet ANOTHER super-fun game being brought to life by Green Couch Games!

Check out the Kickstarter for yourself. And thanks for reading!