In the fast-playing card interaction game Bang!, you take a part in an authentic Old West combat. Will you manage to accomplish your role’s task and, most importantly, survive the wild gunfight?
At the very beginning of the game, each player is handed a random secret role card, which determinates their victory conditions. The roles basically separate the players into three teams, without knowing who your real allies and enemies are. The only exception is Sheriff, who is immediately revealed to the full table. Their task is to work out who the deputies are and collaborate with them to kill the renegade and the outlaws.
However, the Sheriff must be careful as the only victory condition of the bunch of outlaws hard on his or her heels is to kill the Sheriff. Moreover, the Sheriff should better be vigilant since one of their supposed deputies is the renegade, who will eventually betray the Sheriff, pursuing his or her victory condition of being the last character in play. As the game immediately ends when the Sheriff is killed, the player taking on the role of the renegade has, in my opinion, the most exacting task. Before revealing the true identity, the renegade has to pretend to be one of the deputies and protect the Sheriff from the outlaws. And this has been, at least for me, quite a challenging task considering all the other rules I had to bear in mind!
The role cards determine players’ victory conditions
Besides the role cards, each player gets a character card, which determines their name, special ability (such as “Whenever a player is eliminated from play, he takes in hand all the cards of that player”) and the number of starting bullets, representing life points. The special abilities might be a bit confusing for beginners and therefore, I would probably recommend trying a couple of plays without using them. However, for more advanced players, this is what makes the game even more intriguing, offering new ways of using tactics.
The other cards have a variety of different effects, letting you, for example, lock somebody in jail, upgrade your weapon, engage in one-to-one fight with another player and many others. However, the most important card is the game’s namesake “BANG!”, which is used to wound and eventually kill another character in range. But not to make it too easy, each player is allowed to play only one BANG! card in their turn, unless they possess a special gun that allows playing multiple BANG! cards.
The number of bullets represents a character’s life points
After a player has been shot at, they have different options to avoid losing a life point: they can either play the card Missed! (if they have one), hide behind a Barrel or play a Beer card, which restores one bullet. However, the card Barrel is quite rare in the game so you should better beware of the other players, who will want to take possession of it!
In my opinion, Bang! is a very enjoyable and a quick to learn game. The original Bang! is for four to seven players, but I would definitely say that the more players, the more interesting the game gets. Though as the number of players increases, so does the difficulty of the game. There are also different expansion packs, which add extra players, new characters and even various events to the game, offering enough variation even for more advanced players. I also appreciate the size of the package, which makes the game very portable and convenient for every game night or friends and family gathering. You do not have to be a fan of Wild West-themed games – Bang! is basically for everyone who likes suspenseful social deduction card games!
Designers: Emiliano Sciarra
Publisher: DV Giochi, Mayfair Games
Release date: 2002
Number of players: 4-7 (3-8 with expansion sets)
Playing time: 20-40 minutes