Character Name: Greg Digger.
Inspired by: Word pun on "Grave Digger."
Life Points: 4.
Ability Type: Neutral.
Ability: "Each time another player is eliminated, he regains 2 life points." The Dodge City rulebook reminds us that "as usual, he cannot exceed his initial number of life points in this way."
Activation: Whenever another player is eliminated (as is the case for Vulture Sam and Herb Hunter).
Cards enhanced by Greg Digger's ability: Dynamite, green offensive cards, Volcanic
Ideal roles: Renegade, Deputy. I don’t think Greg Digger makes a good Outlaw because the only player that he needs to eliminate is the Sheriff. While others may die along the way, and so bolster Greg Digger’s life, his own attacks towards the Sheriff will not help activate his ability. If Greg Digger or his team mates kills the Sheriff, game over anyway, so the ability did not help at all. In a larger game, I might even target the Deputy as an Outlaw.
2-player value: Terrible. His ability is now rendered useless, which is why I don't think he makes a good Sheriff.
General Strategy as Greg Digger: Greg Digger gains health when other players are eliminated, and so Greg Digger should be trying to eliminate other players with his guns blazing, while enemies are still around. Obviously, this makes Greg Digger more useful in larger games. He has still be one of the most worthless characters in 3-player, for instance, but the same would go for Vulture Sam and Herb Hunter. Anyway, since Greg Digger gains health when others are eliminated, he does not need to be as careful with his defensive cards. Thus, Greg Digger might discard Missed! when he exceeds his card limit, and not be worried whether or not he has any BANG! in his hand at the end of his turn. If Greg Digger takes a few hits along the way and loses some health, it is not the worst scenario because he can gain the life points back as long as he goes all in to help knock out another opponent (remember, it does not matter who kills the other player for him to gain the health). This does not mean that Greg Digger should behave foolishly by getting himself in the way of everyone else’s fire. Losing health still lowers Greg Digger’s card limit, and with it comes a limitation on fire power to eliminate other players. Thus, one should still play conservatively as Grave Digger. He should try to gather some green offensive and defensive cards, as well as some offensive card combos (Indians!, BANG!, Duel, Punch, Gatling) so that Greg Digger can dish out a lot of damage at once. Also, it will help him when he depletes his hand of defensive cards. Hopefully, Greg Digger’s unloading on another player will create some blood lust in others to eliminate that player. To protect Greg Digger from losing life points, distance control is encouraged, as it always is with the other characters.
Greg Digger, like Vulture Sam, Herb Hunter, and Lucky Duke, is one of those characters where throwing out a Dynamite is a wonderful idea, especially in a larger game. Sure, it might blow up on Greg Digger, but the chances are much higher that it will hurt someone else. Since the Dynamite takes off 3 life points, there is a good chance that Greg Digger’s ability will be activated. Of course, you should gauge how the Dynamite could affect your allies. It is always easier to play the Dynamite when you are a Renegade. The only real thorn in this strategy is if Pat Brennan is your opponent and he just draws the Dynamite on his turn.
Remember that when cards are played that effect all players/all other players, the effect of the card is simultaneous, even if the card is resolved in a step by step process in a clockwise order. This applies to Greg Digger in the following way: If another player played Indians! or Gatling, and both Greg Digger and another character are eliminated as a result of the card, it is not the case that Greg Digger gains 2 life points just because the other player dies, even if they must respond to the card before him. Both Greg Digger and the other player die.
If Greg Digger is the Renegade, the 2-player duel with the Sheriff could be very difficult as his ability will no longer be of any use to him. Thus, Greg Digger will have to plan ahead for this scenario by getting good cards in play in front of him and trying to lower the Sheriff’s life points before he gets to the 2-player duel.
Playing against Greg Digger: Greg Digger is not the worst opponent to have. He will be more offensive than most opponents, but you can cut the advantage of him doing so by striving to eliminate him first. You could throw him in Jail to keep his offense in check, and start hitting him before he builds an offensive-defense base with cards in front of him. If you are not going to be able to eliminate Greg Digger before another player passes away, don’t waste your firepower on him; target another player that will not regain health instead. In fact, you may even choose to ignore Greg Digger and focus on other opponents. As you eliminate them, he will not regain life points. However, you will have to measure how strong Greg Digger’s offensive push is. If it is strong, it is unlikely that you will just be able to ignore him. Indians! will make good neutralizers in this case. You could try to steal or discard cards from his hand, but chances are he has burned through his offensive cards by the time your turn comes around. It is a better idea to remove the cards from in play in front of Greg Digger.