Yippee Ti Yi Yay, saddle pals! It's time for the Gutshot Posse to mosey on over to OwlCon XXII.
"This is our third playtest at OwlCon," said Posse Co-leader Mike Mitchell. "And I'm really looking forward to it. The OwlCon people are simply the best, and their input has been a real help to us in the past."
The rules have undergone a lot of changes and updates during the past year, he said.
"We've had some very successful playtestests during 2002," he said, referring to a November 2002 playtest by the Ann Arbor Area Historical Miniatures Gaming Group (A3MHG2). "They provided us with a lot of guidance that helped us shape the rules we will be bringing to this year's OwlCon."
New rules will include the long-awaited hand-to-hand combat system.
"The hand-to-hand combat system is still being fleshed out, but our two systems for tracking lethal and non-lethal damage make it possible for our game to have a friendly bar fight without anyone getting killed," Mitchell explained.
Mitchell expressed excitement about unveiling some other new rules this year, including Victory Points and Victory Objectives, which will be used in extended Campaign Play.
"Our Campaign Rules have been designed to motivate players to keep their characters alive from game-to-game," Mitchell explained. "We're really interested in seeing what happens when there's a reason for characters to avoid fighting to the death. This should definitely make things more interesting."
Mitchell will be running a new adventure: Love and Bullets, or, 'Not with my daughter, you don't!' The scenario, in which a Cattle Baron tries to stop his head-strong daughter from running off with a handsome young cattle rustler, was actually suggested by a playtester at Midnight Comics last year.
"It was great," Mitchell said. "I was doing a playtest at one of my favorite gaming stores, and a player suggested the plot for a team-vs-team game. It was a really good idea, so I decided to modify it for use it at this year's convention. It's a particularly good adventure because it will force the players to use the hand-to-hand rules to subdue the Runaway Bride."
This adventure, and others, will be released as free downloads from the Gutshot Website after the game is published. That date, although closer than before, is still not set in stone.
"I've said it before, and I mean it: we will not rush to market with a half-finished product," Mitchell said. "If it takes another year, or even two, to playtest this game, then so be it.
"We're not striving to create 'the perfect game,' because that's just not possible. But we can work as hard as we can, for as long as it takes, to create a game that we can be proud of, and that people will want to play."
The annual convention is held Feb. 7-9 in Houston, Texas at Rice University. See sidebar for details.