Episode 165: Sierra West

Click here for the direct download link for this week’s episode

1) The Pegs discuss their recent game plays including War of the Words: The New Wave, Tyrants of the Underdark, Kodama 3D and many more;

2) All the Pegs review Sierra West by Boards and Dice; and

3) Look back at Quacks of Quedlinburg by North Star Games.

Join in the conversation for this episode over at our Board Game Geek guild.

Show Notes

00:01:05 – Trivia: Crocodile Tears and More


00:06:40 – RobbCon Review

00:30:10 – Quick Hit – Human Punishment [Buy] – Godot Games; Designer: Stefan Godot; Art: Tithi Luadthong, Karsten Schulmann

00:34:50 – Quick Hit – Pandante 2nd Edition * [Buy] – Sirlin Games; Designer: David Sirlin; Art: Jeannie Lee

00:41:10 – Playing Games with Kids Who Don’t Play Games


00:44:00War of the Worlds: The New Wave [Buy] – Grey Fox Games; Designer: Denis Plastinin; Art: Igor Savchenko;

00:48:32Embers of Memory: A Throne of Glass Game * [Buy] – Osprey Games; Designer: Kuro; Art: Coralie Jubénot;

01:00:21Skulk Hollow * [Buy] – Pencil First Games, LLC; Designer: Eduardo Baraf, Seth Johnson, Keith Matejka; Art: Dustin Foust, Sebastián Koziner, Keith Matejka, Helen Zhu;

01:07:52Tyrants of the Underdark [Buy] – Gale Force Nine, LLC; Designer: Peter Lee, Rodney Thompson, Andrew Veen; Art: Steve Ellis;

Harper’s Bazaar

01:15:22Kodama 3D [Buy] – Indie Boards & Cards; Designer: Daryl Andrews, Erica Bouyouris; Art: Kwanchai Moriya;

01:20:47Zombie Kidz Evolution [Buy] – Le Scorpion Masqué; Designer: Annick Lobet; Art: Nikao;

01:27:55Epic Monster Tea Party [Buy] – Playco Games; Designer: Robert Couch; Art: Robert Couch, Anna Victorovna Lepeshkina;


01:31:10Ravensburger announces Marvel Villainous.

01:34:27Fractal: Beyond the Void

01:38:16Gorinto Kickstarter


01:49:13 – Dungeons and Dragons Goes Blue

Sierra West * [Buy]

01:56:41 – Rules Breakdown

Sierra West is a 1 to 4 player game designed by Jonny Pac Cantin, with art by Jakub Fajtanowski and Michał Długaj, and published by Boards & Dice.  Sierra West is not one game but four: a core deck building and action selection game with four different modules that change play in subtle ways.  For purposes of the rules breakdown, we’ll focus on the core game.

In Sierra West players take on the role of settlers building out their village, sending their wagon traveling across the frontier, and outfitting their homestead.  At the start of the game, each player will collect their player board and starting deck of action cards. Their setup may be further altered by their chosen module, but at the very least each module will add one additional action card to their deck.  Each player will then draw three cards from their deck to decide their actions for the turn.

Actions in Sierra West are handled through an innovative pathing mechanism.  Each player board has two paths – a green path and a tan path – each traveled by a different worker meeple.  Each card is designed in such a way to have multiple green and tan path options available. Which actions are available and the order they appear on the path will be selected by the player by sliding two of the cards into toothed slots at the top of the player board, and a third card behind those two cards, creating two complete rows of actions as well as an attractive mountain vista.  In addition, each card has a Summit Action that will be available should the worker make it to the end of the path.

A player begins their turn by placing their cards and then moving their workers down the appropriate path.  Workers may be moved any number of spaces in any order, so long as they don’t move backwards and all appropriate costs are paid and hazards dealt with.  Players may choose to skip actions that they can’t pay for or don’t want, unless the action indicates it is mandatory – such as the Bear Hazard that appears in the core game.  Players may stop moving their worker along a path if they don’t want to face a mandatory hazard. Once a worker reaches the end of the path, it can move up to one of the available Summit Actions, which generally provide the bulk of the scoring opportunities in the game.

Sierra West handles the deck-building portion of the game by building a literal mountain of cards during setup – a pyramid of overlapped cards, only the top two of which are visible, and whose back art forms the image of a mountain.  As one of the available actions, players may move their Pioneer worker from adjacent card to adjacent card up the mountain until finally landing on a face-up card. Another action will then let them claim the card and add it to their deck, at which point their pioneer returns to the mountain base and must climb again.  Any face-down cards that are no longer overlapped are now turned face-up and are available to be claimed later. In addition, the mountain will be seeded with a number of special cards that, when revealed, are automatically placed along the wagon’s path at the bottom of the mountain. These special cards are different for each module. 

Players may also use their actions to move their wagon along the wagon road.  This accomplishes two things: the position of their wagon will determine access to the various powers revealed by the special module cards: the farther along the path, the more powerful certain module-specific actions will be.  Also, the wagon’s final location will serve as a points multiplier against the various Homestead tracks players will advance along during the game.

Players will also have the ability to outfit their settlement with cabins that provide one-time or ongoing bonuses, hunt on other players’ turns, and gain resources when other players grow their homestead.  Modules each provide other, specialized options, like harvesting apples or fishing.

Play continues like this until the sixth special card is placed, at which point the current round is finished out and one more round played before final scores are tallied.

02:01:05 – Review

02:20:39 – Ratings


02:33:39Quacks of Quedlinburg * [Buy] – North Star Games; Designer: Wolfgang Warsch; Art: Dennis Lohausen, Wolfgang Warsch;

Check out our original review for Quacks of Quedlinburg during Episode 139.

Gameplay Photos

* Disclosure: These titles were received free of charge by the publishers or distributors. If you are interested in submitting a title for review, please read our Review Policy.

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