GeekDad: Kickstarter Tabletop Alert: Create Your Own Story In ‘Bantam West’


Gallow Springs is the only ‘civilized’ town on the entire Dethelm Frontier. It is surrounded by bandits, predators, and cultists. If you are going to survive in this environment, you will need to find a way to make money, buy some gear, build shelter, recruit a posse, and then protect your homestead. This is not for the faint of heart. Are you up for it, pardner?

What Is Bantam West?

Bantam West is a sim adventure game for 2-4 players, ages 14 and up, and takes about 60-150 minutes to play. It’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a pledge level of $97 for a copy of the game. Bantam West was designed by Ike Brunicardi and published by Bantam Planet, LLC, with graphic art by David MacKenzie.

New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.

Bantam West is designed like a tabletop version of popular western-themed video games. Players take on the roles of one of four strangers, each with a unique personality: gunslinger, merchant, thief, or arsonist. They keep track of their character’s stats, progress, weapons, mounts, and so forth on a colorful player board. Their characters can move around on terrain tiles divided up into areas called ‘acres’ where they can encounter all kinds of challenges. There is also a town they can go into with several establishments where they can purchase supplies and weapons or hire some help. The objective for players is to earn notoriety by completing a variety of different requirements. 

The gunslinger Levi Mercer’s player board during a game. Image courtesy of Lolly’s Lens Photography.

Gameplay in Bantam West is divided into day and night phases. During the day, they spend grit tokens (they get 4 at the start of the game) to perform actions such as moving, reloading a weapon, using an item, interacting with a store, building a cabin, fighting, burning, looting, and much more.  Then during the night they sleep to restore their grit tokens for the next day and resolve any environmental effects. 

If you are going to survive, then you need some money making skills. These are called endeavors and each produces a type of resource. For example, logging produces lumber which you need to build cabins. Hunting produces hides for recruiting riders. If you work on mining, then you get silver to sell. Of course you are not playing a game just to mine or cut down trees. Any game with a western theme needs to have combat. Bantam West has this covered with its own unique mechanic where players play combat cards and use weapons to defeat their opponents or non-player characters. 

terrain tiles
Characters move along terrain and town tiles and can access shops within the town. Image courtesy of Lolly’s Lens Photography.

Bantam West comes with five different modes. A Warm Welcome is designed for new players and helps them learn the game. The first player to reach 4 notoriety is the winner and they earn notoriety by killing an enemy, buying a horse, building a cabin, purchasing a weapon, and mastering an endeavor. Shadow Governors is the standard mode for the game. Home on the Range is an easy mode while The Hand You’re Dealt is a medium mode and Master of Chaos is difficult. Each mode has different victory requirements and setups and use advance rules of increasing complexity. 

While I have not yet had an opportunity to play a game of Bantam West, after reading through the rules and visiting their Kickstarter campaign, I am very excited about this game and look forward to playing it when it releases. If a western-themed sim adventure game piques your fancy, then take a look at Bantam West

You can download a copy of the rules here.

For more information or to make a pledge, visit the Bantam West Kickstarter page! The campaign ends on August 11, 2021, so don’t delay.

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