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Awhile back Little Wars TV offered a complete starter set for skirmish gaming in the Wild West; they called it the Tombstone Tinderbox and it came with everything you needed to get started. The one caveat was that there was a limited number of boxes and once they were gone, they were gone. Not quite moving fast enough I missed out on the box and didn't expect to get another chance. On a whim however I checked their site and saw that they were selling the box. I'm not sure if they actually made more, they found a few forgotten boxes, or if some were returned and truthfully it doesn't really matter. All I knew was that I got a second chance and I leapt at it. 


Getting my hands on the box I decided to write a thread detailing my adventure in building, painting, and playing the game. Figuring the first few nights might not make for a very good read though I held off writing anything and now I'm nearly finished. Whoops, at least there'll be plenty to see and hopefully I'll have enough to say too. 


Though not quite a review I'm going to attempt to go over the box from top to bottom. First up is the actual box it came in. Once you peel off the shipping label I've got to say this is a pretty nice little box. Though you'll need to add a second box for the completed buildings transport to the game store shouldn't be bad.  



The system itself is Ruthless which is only one page of rules front and back. Even better they gave you two copies so you and your opponent can each look up rules or reference the sheet simultaneously. It also comes with a mini campaign with a few scenarios. 



It also comes with six cardstock buildings and thirteen fences. Having never built cardstock terrain before I have to say these were a blast to put together too.  




The box also has a small tape measure, 10 Woodland Scenic trees, 18 15mm miniatures, bases (metal washers), character cards, a deck of playing cards,  some gaming tokens, card sleeves, a dry erase marker, super glue, and wooden dowels. 



Last but not least they include a 24" x 24" felt game mat. 



Knowing I wanted to tackle the buildings first I jumped right in. Having no prior experience I've got to say these buildings really made me rethink my terrain collection. They went together quick and easy, they look great, and they store well too. 







Getting to the miniatures they painted up very quickly and I typically got four done each night. You'll need to forgive the extreme close up shots and the sins they reveal. At tabletop though they look great and the colors help them stand out on the board. 


At this point there are only four more cowboys (two standing and two mounted), and two horses left to paint. So just a few more figures to paint before I can really dive into the system.




Though they are not from this box I painted an additional four figures in this scale that I happened to have on had. If memory serves they all came from a Box of Goodwill at some point. First up are a two period "appropriate" figures. 



These two however are pretty out of place, unless you wanted to add a time travel element to the game. 


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1 hour ago, Great Khan Artist said:

That is a really neat idea. Maybe they should've included paints and a brush.

I don't exactly disagree, it would have been a neat idea but it would have really changed the price. As is this was $67 including shipping for everything you need to start playing. Besides we all know painting is optional, grey plastic and bare metal is the mark of a true hobbyist.

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 Cardstock is great for buildings - it's easy to assemble and it's light as hell, and a lot of the time you can store smaller stuff inside the larger stuff to save space.

The only downside is that it doesn't hold up well to wear and tear. (Corners tend to get bent or worn down, and it's not hard to end up with unwanted folds or wrinkles in the walls if you accidentally drop them to the floor or on top of another object.)

If you're careful, though, that stuff will last for quite a while - I found some cardstock staircases and other bits from one of the old D&D games or box sets from back in the late '80's or early '90's sitting in a random boardgame box in my closet about twelve years after I'd lost the rest of the stuff from it.

I usually take some additional cardstock and glue extra strips inside the buildings to reinforce the walls, and when making my own stuff usually glue two sheets of cardstock together to double the thickness of everything.


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If you wanna snaz up the cardstock get some Sharpies & color the edges. Brown & grey is better then just straight black. Looks like a nice set.

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On 3/25/2022 at 8:56 PM, haldir said:

If you wanna snaz up the cardstock get some Sharpies & color the edges. Brown & grey is better then just straight black. Looks like a nice set.

You beat me to the punch. The instructions advocated that additional step too but I simply didn't have the colors on hand to do so. A trip to the store a couple days ago rectified that however and after just a bit of work they do look much better though I forgot to grab a picture.


Tonight I got back to painting as I'd like to finish the miniatures so I can try out the system this weekend. With it shaping up to be a busy weekend I doubt I'll actually get the time but I think I can finish painting anyway. 20220329_221130.thumb.jpg.cb7048e5257caa046138cbabf705633c.jpg20220329_221146.thumb.jpg.d60e3bc4c9ba1227cdaf0a93ba9b2a15.jpg



These still need a couple washes and a drybrush but they won't take too much time to finish. Other than that though I've only got two more horses to go before sealing and flocking everything.

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Well the current batch is now finished. A wash on the skin and the base didn't change them too much however so I don't think a progress shot is needed.


As for the last two horses I'm happy to report that they are finished too.



Actually finishing everything was so quick I went ahead and started sealing figures.


All that remains now is a bit of flocking and maybe painting the rims of the bases. I'm going to have to sleep on that one though as the bases have such a slim profile that may just be a waste of time and effort. Either way I'll hopefully be taking final pictures tomorrow. 

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On 3/29/2022 at 8:37 PM, Rat13 said:

You beat me to the punch. The instructions advocated that additional step too but I simply didn't have the colors on hand to do so. A trip to the store a couple days ago rectified that however and after just a bit of work they do look much better though I forgot to grab a picture.


Tonight I got back to painting as I'd like to finish the miniatures so I can try out the system this weekend. With it shaping up to be a busy weekend I doubt I'll actually get the time but I think I can finish painting anyway. 20220329_221130.thumb.jpg.cb7048e5257caa046138cbabf705633c.jpg20220329_221146.thumb.jpg.d60e3bc4c9ba1227cdaf0a93ba9b2a15.jpg



These still need a couple washes and a drybrush but they won't take too much time to finish. Other than that though I've only got two more horses to go before sealing and flocking everything.


Nice detail painting on small figures. That grey one really stands out.

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8 hours ago, haldir said:


Nice detail painting on small figures. That grey one really stands out.

Thanks, I wasn't sure how well that one would turn out. I've really got to remember that this scale exists more often because it really is a joy to paint. At such a small size vibrant and noticeable colors are more important so you don't lose the figures on the tabletop. For me this means I don't need to use a heavy wash to hide mistakes.

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Went ahead and flocked the bases on everything but decided not to paint the base rims. They're just too slim and the risk reward just wasn't there for me, at least for now. Once I actually see them in action on the tabletop I may change my mind. For now though they're finished so it's time for final pictures.20220331_120633.thumb.jpg.bc6f04d3f02ec69767c14e96382ff12e.jpg20220331_120652.thumb.jpg.bd0fa8b2bc65d30cab36b252f4fbf541.jpg














I even went ahead and worked on a storage and transport container for everything. Like always for me this really just amounted to a bit of bubble wrap in a tackle box. I taped a permanent piece on the bottom and top of each section for the miniatures while also adding a large piece folded over multiple times to keep them in place.


As you can see it also fits the status tokens, dice, and marker along with a couple of fence sections I had forgotten I owned.


It even fits in the original box with the tape measure, trees, and cards.


So with two pretty small boxes I have a complete skirmish game ready to go now. 

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When I started this project my intention was to give my full impression of the box and having finally played a scenario I can do just that. Instead of a full battle report I'm going to give a pretty broad overview of it along with my impressions. Though I'd love to play the entire campaign I just don't see that happening (at least right now).


For those that are interested I took a few shots of the miniatures along with their cards to help keep everything straight in the game. This'll probably be a necessary step the first few times or whenever playing someone new.

The wife played the Cowboys.20220520_200928.thumb.jpg.d6186eb34b5e8d14d41282a8b22905cf.jpg20220520_200931.thumb.jpg.82a9af7765d84a8776c97a7e3eb1e070.jpg


While I took the Earps.20220520_200935.thumb.jpg.d215c1269115566bb9a546326c1fd46d.jpg20220520_200938.thumb.jpg.3ce6c892f7733403f3bd3eb1e9b60938.jpg


The first scenario of the campaign is the shootout at the O.K. Corral. Though the campaign book does give a board layout for this scenario it's just a simple drawing. Rather than look anything up I decided for a quick game close was probably good enough. I know I'll never be a true historical player with that attitude. 



Getting the initiative I brought everyone into the alley and readied shots on everyone except Morgan Earp. Morgan fired the first shot and the fight began.



Getting the initiative the Cowboys in the buildings opened fire at the start of the second round. One ran for the horses that each had a repeating rifle in their saddles. 



With Cowboys pouring out of buildings the Earps stuck together and focused their fire on just a couple. This worked pretty well and another Cowboy fell.



The next turn proved even worse for the Cowboys as two more fell while all the Earps remained standing. Just about everyone was injured in one way or another but the Earps now had only one more Cowboy to fight. However the last Cowboy failed their skeddal test and ran off. 



I'd say this was a massive victory for the Earps.


The system actually played very well and though there was a learning curve (as with all systems) after two rounds we truly understood it. So it's a very quick learn and though it's not the most complex system I have to say it's a lot of fun. Even with the small bit of bookkeeping neccessary during the game I think this works as a prefect beer and pretzels system too.


Overall I think this set makes for a nice quick fire game that you can setup, play, and pack up in no time at all. I can also see myself taking this to the local shop and simply setting it up as I doubt it would be difficult to talk anyone into a game. I think this is something you just setup and players will come to you.


Between building, painting, and playing once I'd say I've already got my money's worth.


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