Saddle up, pardners!  While the characters in Knights of the Dinner Table usually play in the sword & sorcery world of Hackmaster, they've occasionally delved into the Wild West.  The Cattlepunk Chronicles -- Outlaw Trail collects many of those adventures, along with dozens of pages of new material.

The Cattlepunk Chronicles starts with B.A. being talked into buying the new Hard Eight game Cattlepunk by Weird Pete.  B.A. sees it as a chance for the players to be less reliant on magic and more creative.  But for players Bob, Dave, Johnny Kizinski and Brian, it turns into massive numbers of characters being rolled up, in-game player kills and grudges, and an almost instinctive impulsive to rob any bank the characters see.  B.A. abandons the game after the players' antics; but when his cousin Sara later joins the group (replacing Johnny), she talks B.A. into returning to Cattlepunk.  But Sara and B.A.'s desire to play lawful characters is continually overrun by the other players' outlaw characters...

The Cattlepunk Chronicles is a nice collection showing what happens when horrible fantasy players become, well, horrible Western players.  We have not only the Knights engaging in some of their worst behavior, but also B.A. being talked into buying more and more product and Sara trying and failing to get the Knights to role-play.  There are players slaughtering each other (and rolling up new characters whose sole purpose is revenge), the introduction of recurring "villain" Red Gurdy Pickens, and campaigns and towns getting destroyed.
Fortunately, all of this bad behavior and trainwrecks of campaigns is pretty damn funny.  The Knights' antics are just as funny with six-shooters as with magic swords, and having these strips together instead of scattered through the KODT run gives a better sense of unity.  There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, from the characters loading up on quirks and flaws to get building points ("Inappropriate sense of humor, male pattern baldness, speech impediment, lemur-phobia") to the continual grudges and betrayals.  And even when B.A. gets what he thought he wanted, it still blows up in his face.  The Cattlepunk Chronicles -- Outlaw Trail is terrific fun for fans of KODT, bad gaming, or Westerns gone wrong.

Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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