Aces & Eights: Shattered Frontier from Kenzer & Co is an RPG set in an America of the Old West, broken in the 1850s by a long civil war that left the Confederacy, Texas, and Deseret independent, and New Orleans in French hands! The specific setting is The Cauldron, a contested region in Sequoyah, the independent Indian republic. Characters can be anything, from bakers to guns for hire to undertakers, the complex creation process resulting in lots of detail, including origins and family. Character advancement comes not from gunning down gringos, but from professional achievements. For example, opening a bakery, taking on an apprentice, opening more bakeries and so on.
Aces & Eights uses dice, cards, and poker chips, and can be played as a gunfighting skirmish game and as an RPG. Gunfights are built around a running Count Up in which every action takes a set time before it occurs and a Shot Clock, a clear overlay placed over a target silhouette used to determine where the target is aimed at and where he gets shot. It is possible to miss the aiming point, but still hit the target. Sadly only one target silhouette is included in the core book. Different, but detailed and complex, but still playable mechanics cover brawling, cattle drives and ranches, chases, gambling, horses, prospecting, and trials. Aces & Eights is all about the detail and the feel: its art is old school, its mechanics are old fashioned, its history feels authentic. It feels right.