Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Character Guide: Pedro Ramirez

Character Name: Pedro Ramirez.

Inspired by: Tuco Ramirez, character (the ugly) from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Neutral.

Ability: During the first phase of his turn, he may choose to draw the first card from the top of the discard pile or from the deck. Then, he draws the second card from the deck.

Activation: Pedro Ramirez's drawing phase -- first card.

Cards enhanced by Pedro Ramirez's ability: Jail, discarded cards.

Cards diminished by Pedro Ramirez's ability: Dynamite.

Ideal roles: Outlaw, Deputy.

Characters who can potentially counter Pedro Ramirez well: Lucky Duke (has a better chance of avoiding the jail gauntlet), Jesse Jones.

2-player value: Decent. You will always be able to pick up a card you know about, which can be very useful at this point in the game.

Selection considerations with 2-character house rule: One of Pedro Ramirez's most powerful abilities is to constantly place the person directly to his left in jail (as will explained later below). If you start directly to the left of the Sheriff, you will never have the opportunity of using this ability. For a deputy, this is not necessarily the worst of outcomes, as if you try to openly declare your role at the beginning of the game through your actions, a Sheriff might discard useful cards for you to pick up on your turn to deal damage to the Outlaws and Renegade. Of course, a smart Renegade will keep the Sheriff guessing if this was the right decision by acting deputy-ish himself. Renegades and Outlaws are generally (except on the rarest of occasions) without this advantage, and so they will want to not be directly to the Sheriff's left. Take this into consideration when you are dealt Pedro Ramirez: you lose being able to be handed useful cards (intentionally at least) and the jail stacking.

General Strategy as Pedro Ramirez: Since Pedro Ramirez's ability is dependent on the cards discarded by the player on his left (or at least their actions requiring other players to discard cards), Pedro Ramirez is difficult to strategically use yourself. It requires an intelligent team to work with, which is why I prefer being an Outlaw or Deputy when I have Pedro Ramirez as my character. If you are an Outlaw, you want to get next to a fellow team mate (perhaps next to them already from luck) on your right side, so you may have to shoot your way there. This way a team mate can discard cards (Beer, BANG!, Volcanics) that you can pick up on your draw phase and use to your advantage. By helping you, your fellow outlaw may have enabled Pedro Ramirez to shoot at players that he wished to, but could not due to distance constraints. Or he could have Pedro Ramirez use the card he just used again (Panic, for instance), or give Pedro Ramirez a card from another player by playing Cat Balou against a powerful card as his last move (the discarded card would end up on top). In essence, get next to team mates and make sure that they think through the order in which they discard cards, so they know what opportunity they are providing you with.

Secondly, don't forget your ability! Often, characters with abilities that affect their drawing phase (like Pedro Ramirez, such as Black Jack, Kit Carlson, and Jesse Jones) forget to use their ability on some turns. Deputies likewise will want to get next to the Sheriff.

Of course, there is a tension with getting fed the needed cards from a team mate, as this will keep Pedro Ramirez from using his Jail gauntlet on an opponent to his right. Let me explain. Whenever Pedro Ramirez can get his hands on a Jail (if it is on top of the discard pile, in the general store), he should seriously consider grabbing it. Pedro Ramirez can play it on the player immediately to his right. At the player's next turn, they "draw!" There is a 75% chance of them losing their turn (they lose their turn unless a heart is "drawn!"), and then the Jail card is discarded. At the beginning of Pedro Ramirez's turn, the Jail card is on the top of the discard pile. Pedro Ramirez can draw this card and play it again on the player at his right who was just in Jail. This cycle can continue indefinitely until the player gets out of Jail, or a "kind soul" Cat Balous the Jail before his turn. There a few other possibilities: another player could play a Dynamite card that would make the card you have to "draw!" for Dynamite cover up the discard Jail (so make sure your team mate does not lay a Dynamite for any trivial reason, and don't do so yourself or you could screw up your own plan!), and a similar outcome could occur if Pedro Ramirez had a Jail placed on him as well. If things turn out right, you can completely devastate the player to your left. Pedro Ramirez's team mates should think of clever ways to get a Jail into his hand. If a team mate draws a Jail card (whether on their draw phase or playing a card), play it on the player to Pedro Ramirez's immediate right to hopefully begin the cycle. They can also try to panic a Jail from another player and play it on that designated player as well.

Playing against Pedro Ramirez: If you or a team mate is directly to the right of Pedro Ramirez, tell them (or yourself) to be very careful what cards you place in the discard pile and in what order. You don't want to help Pedro Ramirez in his goal to eliminate you or his target, so pay attention to the cards he plays on his turn and the amount of cards in his hand to guestimate what card is safest to have on the top of the discard pile. For instance, you should never play the Panic as your last card (unless you are going to discard cards over your card limit), as this card cannot be responded against. It will be on top of the discard pile for Pedro Ramirez to pick up on his turn, and he can use it (given normal distance considerations) immediately against you, perhaps even stealing the card you just stole.

If you or a team mate get in the jail gauntlet, cat balou or panic the jail (or petition someone else to do this) to break the cycle. While you may want to jail Pedro Ramirez yourself (and this remove an opportunity for him to use his ability), you also do not want to necessarily give him a chance to throw down the Jail gauntlet. So be careful. Placing a Jail on Pedro Ramirez if he already is using a Jail gauntlet is a great idea, or playing a Dynamite, because then the card he has to "draw!" for Dynamite/Jail will replace the discarded Jail that he was going to use again against the player to his immediate right.

Dodge City cards enhanced by Pedro Ramirez's ability: All discarded cards.

Dodge City Characters that Counter Pedro Ramirez Well: Pat Brennan (he can immediately steal the Jail to end the cycle, unless it is played on him).

General Strategy Adjustments: The Dodge City expansion adds many new cards to the BANG! deck that Pedro Ramirez can exploit by drawing them from the top of the discard deck. Especially useful are the 2-cards to play cards and the green cards. Chances are that you will want to draw these cards on your turn if possible.

Dodge City adds many cards to the game, which matter in the manner in which they are discarded. Take for instance, the 2-cards to play cards, such as Whisky, Tequila, Springfield, Rag Time, and Brawl. An ally to the right of Pedro Ramirez could discard these cards (as his last move) one of two ways: with either the original card on top or the additional card needed to play that card on top. It is almost definite that an ally will want to play the original card on top to give Pedro Ramirez a chance to pick it up himself. Just be careful that this is done so! Another card that could require some careful consideration is when an ally plays a Brawl card. As far as I can tell, the FAQ and the Dodge City rules do not specify an order in which these cards must be discarded from other players. Thus, I imagine that the ally directly to the right of Pedro Ramirez could place on the discard pile whatever card discarded from the other players that he wishes. In this case, he should stick on top the card most beneficial for Pedro Ramirez.

Lastly, it is sad, but there is another Dynamite in the Dodge City expansion that provides an additional way to break Pedro Ramirez's jail gauntlet.

General Strategy Against Adjustments: Dodge City gives you another risky Dynamite to play to potentially break Pedro Ramirez's jail gauntlet. As noted above, it also supplies you with cards that require caution when playing them. If you are directly to the right of Pedro Ramirez, you need to be careful which cards you place on top of the discard pile before your turn is over. If you one of those 2-cards to play cards as your last move, you will want to make sure (in most cases) that the additional card required to play the other card is on top of the discard pile. Chances are that this card is far less beneficial to Pedro Ramirez than the other. Similarly, when playing the Brawl card, you will want to place the card that is least beneficial to Pedro Ramirez on top of the discard pile.

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  1. Gee, Pedro's ability is picking from the trash pile.

  2. Actually this guide is wrong. The instruction for Dynamite states that you should always draw! first for a Dynamite, and the Jail comes second - this way the Jail cycle cannot be broken with a Dynamite. Well, at least the polish one does, maybe there's some weird translation issue...