Created by Italian publisher daVinci Games in 2002, Bang! Card Game is a take on the Wild West time period where cowboys got into many scuffles with law enforcement. Bang! happens to be a cooperative card game where all players are assigned roles as if they were in a Spaghetti Western movie. In 2004 Bang! won the Origins Award for Best Traditional Card Game of 2003 and for Best Graphic Design of a Card Game or Expansion.
Bang! is typically played by 4 to 7 players, but depending on some expansion sets you can pay with 3 to 8 players. This is a game catered to the demographic of ages 10 and up and a game of Bang! normally takes anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes to complete.
Each player will take one of these designated roles. There is 1 Sheriff Card, 0 to 2 Deputy Sheriff Cards, 2 or 3 Outlaw Cards, and either 1 or 2 Renegade Cards depending on expansion packs. Players will also receive special character cards where they can get help in the amount of bullets (life points) they can play with.
Each player is randomly dealt a Role Card and a Character Card. There must always be one player to act as the Sheriff, 2 Outlaws and 1 Renegade, though this depends on how many players participate. Players receive these cards face down.
How to Play Bang! Card Game
Players take turns in clockwise order and there are actions that they must take.
1) Draw 2 Cards:
Players draw 2 cards from the draw pile. When the draw pile is completely used and there are no more cards to draw, the discard pile is shuffled to create a new draw pile. Beware of the fact that some characters give players the ability to vary the number of cards they can draw per turn.
2) Play Cards:
A player can play any number of cards he or she wants that will help the player’s cause and hurt the other players. However, there are 2 limitations. Only 1 Bang! Card can be played on a single turn unless a special effect is in play, ad no player should ever have 2 identical cards face up in front of him or her.
Other important rules include that each player can only have 1 weapon at a time, and if they wish to play with a new weapon they have to discard the weapon they have. Also when players play a card they must follow the card’s illustrated symbols, which will tell players what action needs to be taken next. If a played card has a blue border, then that card will have a lasting effect and will stay on the table in front of you.
3) Discard Excess Cards:
After the 2nd phase ends, players will discard any number of cards that exceeds their hand size limit.
Bang! stays true to its Wild West theme as there are plenty of cards that relate to old fashioned duels at High Noon. If you are in need of avoiding damage, then make sure you have a “Missed” Card in your hand. If a Bang! Card is played against you the Missed Card will come in handy. Other cards are played just to give you more Life Points. If you are running out of bullets, which represent your Life Points, then make sure you play cards that read “Restore Bullets”. There is also the Beer Card which you can use to prevent death. You can play the Beer Card out of turn to save yourself, so you are essentially heading out to the town’s saloon. If a “Draw!” Card is played against you, then you will reveal the first card of the draw pile and check the card’s suit and value.
There are prices to pay if you perform the wrong action. If the Sheriff eliminates a Deputy, the Sheriff must discard all cards that he or she has. Plus anyone who eliminates an Outlaw must draw 3 cards from the deck.
The main objective is different for all players since they take on different roles.
- The Outlaws must kills the Sheriff.
- The Sheriff and the Deputies must kill all Outlaws and Renegades.
- The name of the game for the Renegade is simple; be the last survivor and kill everybody, with the Sheriff being saved as the last one to die.
The original game of Bang! is indeed fun, but the Expansion Packs only add to that fun. There are variants to the original game such as Death Mesa, El Dorado, Gold Rush and O.K. Corral, fitting names that fit the Wild West theme. In these expansion packs you will receive character cards that pay tribute to the characters of people who actually existed in the late 1800’s such as Butch Cassidy, “Black Jack” Tom Ketchum, Jesse James and even a popular fictional character like Tuco Ramirez from the movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Bang! is a fun card game that takes you back to the times when a group of bank robbers running on the dirt streets of a town was a common sight. The strategy that comes into play when you start exchanging shots with opponents can make for a very unique elimination process. Cooperation is the key in Bang! because in most cases you will be working with a teammate who shares the same role as you, and you have to keep in mind what your teammate has as well as what you have. If you are looking to take your best shot and lay claim as the quickest shooter in the Wild West, then Bang! is the game you want to have.