Rémi Amy’s CIV: Carta Impera Victoria is so cute that I could vomit. No, it isn’t the way the bobble-headed artwork by Christopher Matt recasts human history as one limitless highway of nodding along to the radio. Nor is it the pun hidden right there in the title. Carta Impera Victoria. CIV. Civilization. We get it.
Nope. It’s the fact that the game entitled CIV should contain 104 cards, just as the Romans would do. Ugh. I don’t even believe in assigning scores, and already this thing is pulling zero stars out of a hundred.
Which is a pity, because CIV is one heck of a slick card game.
I’ve always been a fan of Colt Express. For a game featuring programmed movement — a system where your moves are planned three or four steps in advance before being carried out — it was generous enough to provide some wiggle room rather than dooming you to rigidly follow an ill-conceived plan, and always embraced a unique sort of physical comedy. You’d punch an opponent, sending them reeling into the adjacent train car; the marshal would drive you onto the roof in a flurry of gunsmoke; outlaws would tussle over a lockbox filled with one thousand Union dollars. It was good stuff.
My one complaint was that it could end up being too straightforward, with the same beats arising every game. That’s where Horses & Stagecoach comes in. Colt Express has never been wilder.
I’m no particular fan of any period of American history other than the Roaring Twenties, but even I know the broad strokes of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Ah, to venture into the great unknown-to-white-man! Ah, to journey alongside John Ordway and Patrick Gass! Ah, to name Old Faithful after the latter’s dependable flatulence!
Yes yes, I realize that the Lewis and Clark expedition skirted around Yellowstone by a hair. However! It was later “discovered” by John Colter, a member of the expedition who went on to become the first genuine mountain man. When he saw that there geyser, it reminded him of his old friend Patrick Gass, and thus a legend was born. And there’s no way to disprove that.
Our more astute readers will likely note that I already reviewed Colt Express back in January. But — bonus! — I’ve now reviewed it all over again down at The Review Corner, so if you somehow missed my first try at explaining precisely why I keep robbing the same old train, just mosey on over and I’ll do my best to explain.
What’s the Western really about? Glad you asked. That’s one of my favorite questions. Ahem. Picture, if you would, the friscalating dusklight, making pillared shadows from a ghost town’s boot hill; the rich purples and scattershot crimsons of the evening silhouetting the lone stranger, Winchester thrown over his shoulder and horse led by a braided cord long worn smooth, the—
What’s that? You don’t have the time for this?
Well then. Fine. Colt Express it is.