Published on April 16th, 2014 | by Gregg Miller1
Spaghetti Western & Meatballs
Gregg Explains: Bang! 10th Anniversary
Werewolf, Mafia, Battlestar Galactica, and Resistance are all similar games where the players have secret roles and objectives, and you’re trying to puzzle out who is your ally, and who’s your enemy. Bang! is the Italian-made game of spaghetti-western high stakes shoot-outs.
There are four roles in the game, but only three are always in, regardless of total players involved. The Sheriff is the publicly known role, and all objectives involve that players survival or death. Because of this, the Sheriff has one additional bullet above what is printed on their character card. The Sheriff wins if all Outlaws and the Renegade are killed.
Outlaw, like the remaining roles, is kept secret until you are killed. An Outlaw players win as soon as the Sheriff is dead. The Renegade is the two-faced role that wins if they and the Sheriff are the only remaining players left, then the Renegade has to kill the Sheriff. If you’re playing with five to seven players, the Deputy is added to the mix, and they win if the Sheriff wins.
Like the previously mentioned games, the strategy of the game is trying to figure out who’s on your side, and who’s not. Outlaws want to gun down the Sheriff, but if you do so, it can give a clue to other players who your role is exactly, letting Deputies and Renegades know who to eliminate to help secure their own victory.
There are pros and cons to attacking and killing other players. When a player is killed, they reveal their role, depending on their role, certain effects happen. If any player kills an Outlaw, they gain the “bounty” on them, and get to draw three cards into their hand. If the Sheriff kills a Deputy, that player loses all the cards in their hand, and any cards in play.
Each players turn consists of three phases. Draw two cards, play any number of cards, and discard excess cards. At the top of your turn, a player is always gaining at least two cards to their hand, adding options and card advantage. In the following phase you’re allowed to play any number of legally played cards. The limitations are:
- You may only play one Bang! card per turn (cards with the Bang! effect do not count towards or against this total).
- You can have only one copy of any card in play (1 barrel, 1 horse, 1 jail, etc).
- You can only have one weapon in play (Many guns have different names, hence the differentiation from the above rule).
The rest of the cards you can possibly have will display different effects. Most cards are filled with shorthand symbols instead of text. Finally, when all other card plays are exhausted you must discard any excess cards in your hand.
A player’s hand size is determined by how many bullets, or hit points, they have. If you only have two bullets, you can only keep two cards in your hand. Should you happen to be a character that has nine bullets, you can hold onto many more cards.
In addition to having the secret roles, each player is given a character card that tweaks the rules, determines how many bullets the player can have at maximum, and makes certain role and character combinations potent. An example would be Pixie Pete, who allows that player to draw three cards at the start of their turn, instead of the normal two.
A final rule that’s incorporated with the game is the Draw! mechanic. Cards like Barrel, Jail, and Dynamite instruct players to Draw! from the top of the draw deck, and check the suit and value listed on the card. Anyone who’s used a normal deck of playing cards will recognize the values and symbols. Based on the instructions printed on the card that instructs the player to Draw!, different effects can happen. Avoiding hits, losing turns, or taking a lot of damage. After the effect is resolved, the card used in the Draw! is discarded.
The 10th Anniversary tin comes with characters and cards from previous expansions. Dodge City, Wild West Show, Gold Rush, The Valley of Shadows, and the new card to celebrate, Annie Versary. Other expansions include: High Noon, A Fistful of Cards, and Face Off.
The community of Bang! have developed a few unofficial expansions that add new and different elements to the game. Many of the expansions allow eliminated players to still have a role in determining the outcome of the game.
If you really enjoy playing this game, you may even want to plan a Las Vegas trip at some time, since there is a regular tournament held there. In addition, there is a mobile app version of this game that can be found on their site.