Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Alternate Gameplay: Secret Characters Variant

While I was surfing online, reading up on other ways people play BANG!, I read one interesting variant from Raman Ohri over at Board Game Geek. He called it the "Secret Characters" variant, and described it thus:
Instead of all of the players revealing their character cards at the start of game, they are all kept face down. The character is only revealed once you use your power. You can choose NOT to use your power (and therefor not reveal) if you like. Each player has the same number of life points as normal.
I think that this variant is really interesting, as your role can be a really negative thing at the beginning of the game, especially if you are a really offensive character like Willy the Kid or Slab the Killer. It is also extremely useful for the likes of Vulture Sam (but perhaps OP for him? Of course, some hate Vulture so much that this might be one way that they start to like the guy). It makes it difficult for the Outlaws to figure out the best offensive strategy against the Sheriff, but also makes it difficult for the Sheriff to infer who his threat is. And revealing your role can be an act of deception, making others wonder, "I wonder what role he has for him to reveal his character so?"

It is also really fantastic for 3-player BANG! I hated it how the general strategy was for the 2 weaker characters to gang up on the stronger, while the stronger tried to knock off the weakest. You just flipped a coin that you were attacking the right role. With the characters hidden, it creates a little more balance and an interesting situation for the players to wager when the best time to reveal their character is. If anyone has tried out this variant, and noticed anything else about it, I would be interested in hearing their thoughts.


  1. I've played Super Bang! before. Suzy Lafayette and Elena Fuente-- just sayin'.

  2. Ugh; I can't stand those variants that create ridiculous combos. I think Super BANG! would have been better if you were given 2 character abilities, but you had to choose which one you would use each round (you could even make it each turn, but that would slow down the game too much IMO). They don't stack.

  3. What about Vera Custer and Secret Characters Variant?

  4. I imagine that you would only allow Vera Custer to copy a revealed character's ability. If you did it this way, Vera Custer would be revealed when she chooses to adopt a revealed character's ability on her turn. If you don't like this, you can simply remove Vera Custer from the game. You might allow her to copy non-revealed character's abilities, she just wouldn't know what her ability was and when to activate it. I just don't see why she would reveal herself to copy an unknown ability.

  5. My group and I came up with pretty much Super Bang! (I called it "Insanity Bang!") We only play it when we didn't care about balance and just wanted to mess around and see what kind of horrible combos we could come up with