El Dorado was the first unofficial expansion for BANG!. It was designed by BANG! aficionado Jidan over at bang.cz in 2006, and has been mentioned here and there since. In many ways, El Dorado was the spiritual ancestor to Wild West Show. El Dorado already conceived of how the event cards could be altered by the actions of a player. Instead of playing a Wells Fargo or Stagecoach to flip over the next event card, El Dorado had players either play or discard an Ace. El Dorado also added a new role into BANG!, but not one that was permanently passed out with the rest at the beginning of the game. The “Grave Digger” was a role that could be adopted by the first player who died when it, as an event card, was in play. The Grave Digger was met with mixed reviews, but it was definitely a staple of El Dorado.
An English translation of El Dorado was put together by Rangi in 2006, and the expansion used art from the western film, Lemonade Joe. It even came with a classy tuck box! While it allowed English players to fiddle with El Dorado, much of the language was confusing, using terms such as “random distance” for instance. Some cards could not be understood, and others left huge holes in the gameplay. While Jidan answered a few of the questions English players had, many were not addressed, and he has long since abandoned updating El Dorado. However, before doing so he updated the Czech version with both new art and some new cards.
In an effort to make El Dorado more accessible to English speakers, I reinterpreted and rephrased the old El Dorado text. It should now be wasy to understand all the cards. Where there were conceptual holes in some of the event cards before, I have filled them in with my own interpretations and from what I have been able to garner from Jidan’s comments at www.bang.cz. I have also updated the English version with the updated art from Jidan’s czech version. Two examples of this are below: the old version is on the left, the revised version on the right.
Besides this, I have also taken the liberty to change certain cards. I felt that certain cards, such as Desperados and Cavalry, unacceptably allowed for players to flip their role cards over. I think that having to trust that your deductions are correct is crucial to the core of BANG! and so I altered them to no longer involve revealing roles. Nonetheless, I tried to capture the essence of such cards, providing ways in which the Sheriff still benefited from Cavalry, and players who shot at the Sheriff benefited from Desperados. While I would have removed Winifred from the El Dorado deck, Jidan already did so in the Czech version. Thus, I included “Hold Up” instead. I confess that I was not able to understand the Czech on this card the best, despite consulting dictionaries, but I think I came to an acceptable altenative to the original. Finally, on the forums there was some discussion of problems with “Grave Digger.” The first was the problem of players trying to die quickly to become the Grave Digger.
The second problem was the difficulty of determining what should occur when a Deputy, the Grave Digger, and the Sheriff remained in the game. Some have suggested removing Grave Digger from the game because of these problems, but I think he is a special element of El Dorado that should remain. I have tried to deal with this challenges in a satisfactory way in the rules below.
I hope that you will enjoy this re-release and retranslation of El Dorado. If you enjoyed Wild West Show, A Fistful of Cards, or High Noon, I am sure that you will find that El Dorado is up your alley! It is also easier to produce--it doesn’t really matter if event cards are on any nice card stock or not. If there are any improvements you think I can make to the English translation, or you note any other conceptual problems, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment here at The BANG! Blog or by writing me at email@example.com.
El Dorado Guidebook
El Dorado Card Sheet #1
El Dorado Card Sheet #2
El Dorado Backs Card Sheet