To put it simply, Hard West is a turn-based squad tactical with adventurous world exploration. Think X-Com combat with Heroes of Might and Magic world map.
The combat is fast. The whole combat encounter takes no more than 5-10 minutes. It’s short, bloody, and decisive. All it takes is one well laid shot. It’s just not that easy to put yourself in the proper position. No peeling off HPs. HPs represent the ability to withstand a shot or two, alternatively to sustain a powerful blow.
There’s little randomization: you either make good predictions and good decisions to land a kill, or you die. There’s no victory without risk, but it’s a well calculated risk.