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Colt Express

This post was last updated on January 18th, 2023

Colt Express board game image

Every time I think about western games or western movies, gunshooting duels and train robberies are the first two things that come to mind.

We have written about duels in our Bang! review, so today we are going to talk about train robberies, because that is what this board game is all about.

I’ve always been kind of fascinated by those stories, picturing thieves riding horses approaching such a big metal beast and jumping onto it.
You have to have guts! And nothing to lose in most of the cases.

I must confess, I tried to rob a train a while ago. I was playing Red Dead Redemption 2. It ended up really bad.

Anyway, Colt Express is a bit different.
You are not supposed to jump on a train from a horse (that would have been too risky for your meeple), but you are actually on a train since the beginning of the game.
I don’t know how you ended up there. Well, not really important anyway.

What is important is the game itself, so enough ranting about it and let’s start this review.

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Colt Express Pinterest image

Game overview

Hop on the Union Pacific Express to be part of a robbery like in a classic Spaghetti Western movie.
In Colt Express you will play the part of a bandit and you’ll have to mercilessly rob honest citizens.
Not that fast though! You’re not the only one trying to become rich, plus the Marshal is looking after the strongboxes.
Will you be able to become the richest outlaw of the gang?


Game components

  • 6 train cars
  • 1 Locomotive
  • 10 terrain elements
  • Tokens of various values:
    • 18 purses worth between $250 and $500
    • 6 jewels worth $500
    • 2 strongboxes carrying $1000
  • 17 Round Cards:
    • 7 cards for 2-4 players
    • 7 cards for 5-6 players
    • 5 train station cards
  • 1 Marshal pawn
  • 15 neutral bullet cards

How to play Colt Express

Set up

Each player chooses a character and takes the corrisponding character card and 6 bullets of the same colour.
Then, players create their own deck by shuffling the 10 Action cards of their character and place them face-down.

Each player will start the game with a secret float,they will have to choose blindly one of the purses worth between $250 and $500.

Time to build the train!
Place the Locomotive and as many cars as the number of players in the center of the table forming the train; there’s no fixed order for the cars.
Place in each car the number and type of Loot tokens indicated. The purses are randomly taken and placed face-down to hide their value.

The Marshal and one Strongbox are placed inside the locomotive.
The second strongbox is located off the train (near the locomotive), as it may come into play later.

Draw 4 of the 7 Round Cards (based on the number of players) and shuffle them.
Select one of the 3 Train Station cards and place it at the bottom of the Round Deck and place it face down.
In this way the game will end when the Train Station is reached.

Place the 13 Neutral Bullet cards next to the Locomotive.


The order of the players can be decided by drawing the pawns corresponding to the played character; the color picked will be the first player and the other will follow on a clockwise order.
The players with an odd number place their Bandit in the Caboose, the others will place their pawn in the Car next to the Caboose.

The game is divided into 5 Rounds, and each of them is divided into 2 phases.

At the beginning of a Round, each player shuffles their deck and draws 6 cards, that will form the player’s hand.

The first player pick the first Round card and place it on the table; this card shows the number of turns in the phase and what can happen during each turn.

Phase 1: Schemin’!

During this phase the player can decide to play an Action card face-up (unless otherwise specified) from their hand to the common deck; or take 3 additional cards from their deck and add them to their hand.
The “Schemin’!” phase ends when the number of turns indicated on the cards has been completed.

Phase 2: Stealin’!

Time of some action!
During the second phase, the first player takes the common deck created during the first phase and starts narrating the story from the beginning. The cards are performed one by one, starting with the top card (which is the first card played in the round).

Note: it is mandatory to use all Action card programmed during the first phase, unless it’s impossible (i.e. the action won’t make any effect).

End of the Round

Each player shuffles all his Action cards and any Bullet cards he has been hit with in previous Rounds, this will be the new player’s deck.

The player on the previous first player’s left will now be the First Player; the game will follow the same rules of the previous Rounds.

End of the Game

The game ends after 5 Rounds.
Each player adds the valeu of the Loot tokens they have on their own Character card (taken at the very beginning of the game).

Then, the player(s) who shot the most bullets is awarded with the “Gunslinger” prize, worth $1000. If more than one player is entitled to the prize, each player get $1000.

The richest bandit wins the game. In case of a tie, the player with the fewest Bullet cards will be the winner.

Colt Express cards overview

The players can be inside the Train or on th roof of a Car (Locomotive included).
However, at the start of the game no Bandit can be on the roof.

The Action Cards

Colt Express: move action

If you are inside the train,this card allows the player to move from one Car to the next adjacent, forwards or backwards.
If you are on the Roof, your meeple can move from 1 to 3 Cars (forwards and backwards).

Colt Express: Floor Change action

Floor Change:
Switch the position of the Bandit,from inside the Car to the roof and viceversa.
Note: if you have plotted this Action, your Bandit must move.

Colt Express: Punch Action

Choose a Bandit who is on the same Car and same floor as you are; the target will loose a Loot token (if he/she has one) of you choice and be left on the floor where the pawn is located.
Then, the targeted Bandit will move to an adjacent Car of your choice; it can be forwards or backwards as long as it’s on the same floor.
Note: if you choose a Purse token, you’re not allowed to look at its value.

Colt Express: Fire Action

When you’re inside the train, you can shoot an opponent who is inside an adjacent Car (either ahead or to the rear).
Bandits who are more than one Car away can’t be shot.
When you’re on the roof, you can shoot a Bandit who is in your line of sight (no other Bandits are in between) and on the roof of any Car other than your own;distance doesn’t apply here.
If more than one Bandit is located on the same roof, you can choose which one will be shot.
The targeted player will receive one Bullet Card from the shooter and this will be place in his/her deck.
If a player run out of Bullet Cards during the game, the Fire actions won’t have any effect.
Note: A Bandit who’s standing in the same spot as you cannot be targeted. If there’s no target to be shot, the fire action won’t have any effect and the Bullet Card won’t be used.

Colt Express: Robbery Action

This card allows the Bandit to take a Loot of his/her choice from the Car where is currently located and place it face-down on the Character Card.
If there’s no Loot where the Bandit is, then this action card has no effect.
Note: If the meeple is located on the roof, it cannot rob inside the Car and viceversa.

Colt Express: The Marshal

The Marshal:
Bandits can never stay in the same Car where the Marshal is located.
As soon as the Marshal walks in, all Bandits must escape to the roof; if they are “trapped” inside the Car, they will receive a Neutral Bullet card and it will be added on the player’s deck.

Meet the Colt Express Bandits

Each Bandit has its own ability.

Ghost: During the fist turn of each Round, the character’s ability allows to play the Action Card face-down. If the player decide to draw 3 cards instead, he/she will loose this ability for the Round.

Cheyenne: When punching a Bandit, thanks to this character’s ability the player can take the Purse the opponent just lost.

Django: The power of his shooting make the Bandit targeted move one Car in the direction of the fire.

Belle: If another Bandit is in her same Car (inside or on the roof), the other Bandit will become the target of the Fire or Punch action as this character avoids any confrontation.

Tuco: His gun can shoot through the roof, as long as the other Bandit is on the same Car.

Doc: At the beginning of each Round, the player can draw 7 cards.

Round Cards

Normally the Action Cards must be played face-up, unless otherwise specified.

Colt Express: Round Cards 1

Tunnel: The Action Cards must be played face-down during the current turn.

Colt Express: Round Card 2

Switching: The current turn is played counter-clockwise, starting with the First Player.

Colt Express: Round Card 3

Speeding-up: During the current turn, each player plays two turns in one. This means: taking 6 cards, playing 2 cards in a row or taking 3 cards and playing 1 card.

The Events

Angry Marshal: The Marshal shoots all Bandits standing on the roof of his Car, consequently those players will get a Neutral Bullet card.
Then, the Marshal’s meeple is moved one Car towards the Caboose, unless he’s already there, in this case he won’t move.

Swivel Arm: All Bandits on the roof move to the roof of the Caboose.

Braking: All Bandits on the roof move one Car forward towards the Locomotive.

Take it all!: Place the second Strongbox inside the Car where the Marshall is currently.

Passengers’ rebellion: All Bandits who are inside the train Cars get a Neutral Bullet.

Pickpocketing: Each Bandit, standing alone in a spot (roof or inside) can take one Purse Token from that spot (if there’s one).

Marshal’s Revenge: Each Bandit, standing on the roof above the Marshal, looses the least valuable Purse token of his/her collection. Only Purses can apply so if a player has only Jewels, Strongboxes or nothing, he/she won’t give up anything.

Hostage-Taking of the Conductor: Each Bandit who’s in Locomotive or on its roof receives $250.

Note: You can never leave the train. If your meeple is suppose to move beyond the Caboose/Locomotive, it won’t move.


Colt Express is a board game that I would have never expected to like.
Something on the front cover reminded me of those silly copies of famous games, that you buy thinking it is the original, and in fact, it is absolutely not.
Those games are not fun at all. You end up playing once and successively placing them in a dark hidden corner of your garage, with the hope to forget about them forever.

But this is not the case. I don’t only like Colt Express, I love it.

Starting from its core mechanic, I think it is brilliant.
It requires a good amount of strategy and it brings a total chaos to the table, that is absolutely fun!

It also gives to the game an almost endless replayability, which is a huge factor to take into consideration when buying board games.

And what about the board?
The 3D train and all the other environmental elements are great!
They bring a bit of life to the table, even though it can sometimes be quite difficult to move the meeples, as they are quite big compared to the carriages, so you have to pay a little bit of attention when moving them.
But definitely not a major issue.

I think that the only real unbalanced aspect of this game is one of the characters.
Each of them has a unique skill, but one of them has a game-changer ability which puts him on another level compared to the others.
Sometimes we decide to leave him outside of the characters roster as he’s too strong! And this is a bit of a shame.

To sum everything up: if you like a highly entertaining board game, this is a must buy!

2 – 6 players | 30 – 40 min | 10+