Picture this: a table of your 7 closest friends. You are the sheriff. 2 of them are Vices to help keep yourself alive. 3 are outlaws, bent on killing you and your deputies. And a lone wolf is the renegade, whose only motivation is to snuff out every last one of you. The best part? The only thing you know is that you’re the sheriff. The rest is a mystery.
The best (and in my opinion, only) way to explain Bang! to some one is to throw them into the thick of it. Deal them in, and explain as they play along. They show you their cards, and you tell them what to do and why.
When my friends and I play Bang!, it’s not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of yelling, accusations, and treachery. And of course, we all know how to play, so there’s no going slow with this bad boy. Newbies better watch out, cause all it takes is a couple Bangs, then they’re dead.
Roles to Fill
Your strategy largely depends on which role you play. If you’re the sheriff, turn that card face up and tell everyone. You’re basically target practice now. Vices, your job is to try not to shoot the other vice(s), while shooting the outlaws and renegade. Renegades: kill everyone. Outlaws, kill the sheriff.
1. Draw two cards
- The active player draws the top two cards from the draw pile. He or she must do this at the beginning of his or her turn. As soon as the draw pile is empty, shuffle the discard pile to create a new playing deck. Some characters have abilities that vary the number of cards drawn per turn.
2. Play any number of cards.
- Now the player may play to help himself or hurt the other players, trying to eliminate them. He is not forced to play cards during this phase. Any number of cards may be played; there are only two limitations.
- Only one BANG! card may be played per turn (unless there is an effect that allows them to play more than one).
- No player can ever have two identical cards face up in front of him.
- Each player can only have one weapon at a time. If you want to play a new weapon card when you already have one, you must discard the one you already have. This is explicitly noted in page 3 of the rules.
When a card is played just follow the symbols on it. Cards can be played only during your turn (with the exception of Beer, Bang! and Missed!).
Normally a card has an effect which is immediately resolved, and then the card is discarded. However, blue-bordered cards, like weapons and horses, etc., have long-lasting effects, and are kept on the table face up in front of you. In the Dodge City expansion, green-bordered cards are played face up and cannot be used until the following round, then are discarded.
The effects of these cards (in play) lasts until they are discarded or removed somehow (e.g. Cat Balou or Panic) or a special event occurs (e.g. in the case of Jail or Dynamite.)
3. Discard excess cards.
Once the second phase is over (you do not want to or cannot play any more cards), then you must discard from your hand any cards exceeding your hand size limit. The hand size limit of a player (at the end of his turn) is equal to the number of bullets currently shown on the card that lies under his character card. Then it is the next player’s turn, in clockwise order.
Characters to Choose
You’re gonna get dealt two characters. You must pick one. You’ve gotta outweigh the advantages and disadvantages. Pro tip: don’t pick based on gender or appearance. You’ll regret it. Also, if you’re sheriff, you get one extra life. Bullets=life
Let’s say you draw these two characters. Now, Silver Heels might seem like a good choice. After all, she can make players get rid of two cards instead drawing two cards. But, Ted Raddigan is good too. The cards in front of the player could potentially mean his gun (which means if you’re a certain distance away, they can’t shoot you), a scope, barrel, or anything else that might help him evade your bullets. I think it’s a tie between these two, they’re both pretty good.
How to Not Die
- First time players: request to trade with someone if you draw the sheriff. It’s really hard to learn, because you’re chances of being shot at double.
- Don’t put down the dynamite. If you don’t draw the right cards, it’ll explode.
- Get a good gun
- The Winchester (that’s right, there’s only 1) has 4 distance, perfect for shooting far away enemies
- Volcanics mean you can shoot someone an unlimited # of times, but only if they’re right next to you.
- Gatling cards are awesome (they shoot everyone) and should be used whenever possible
- Try hard not to make enemies, cause it’ll come back to haunt you
- Use Panico cards on people with the most life points
- they probably have good cards
- If you get a barrel, put it in front of you. When someone shoots you, you can draw a card. If it has a heart, they miss. Sheriffs: you’re gonna need this one.
- Mustangs are good too, because when you play it, people view you at a distance +1. That means the trigger-happy idiot on your left with a volcanic can’t shoot you.
- Don’t use a duel unless you’ve got enough Bang!s in your hand to back yourself up.
- Beer should only be used in emergencies, such as when you’re dangerously close to death.
- Sheriffs: the people who aren’t shooting at you? Probably the Vices. Don’t kill them.
- Saloons should be used with care. They give everyone 1 life point.
- Wells Fargo Wagons, Stagecoaches, and General stores are good. Watch out though: General Stores can give your enemies good swag.
- Watch yourself my friend. Alliances can go sour at any moment.