Friday, March 25, 2011

Character Guide: Molly Stark

Molly Stark BANG! card game character

Character Name: Molly Stark.

Inspired by: Molly Stark Wood, the Wyoming school teacher in the western, The Virginian.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Defensive.

Ability: "Each time she uses a card from her hand out of turn, she draws a card." The Dodge City rulebook adds that "using" equates to playing or voluntarily discarding (cards stolen or discarded from her are not considered voluntarily discarded). Thus, she draws cards for the BANG! voluntarily discarded during duels. However, the rulebook specifies that "If she discards a BANG! during a Duel, she does not draw her replacement cards until the end of the Duel, when she would draw one card for each BANG! she used during the Duel." Thus, her ability activates after resolving the action. This would apply to playing Missed! or Dodge to a BANG! fired at Molly Stark from Slab the Killer. She cannot play a Missed!, draw a card, and if it is a Missed! or Dodge, play it and then avoid Slab the Killer's attack. She must have two Missed! initially to avoid the attack, and then draws the cards afterwards.

Activation: When she voluntarily plays or discards a card during another player's turn.

Cards enhanced by Molly Stark's ability: Missed!, Dodge, BANG!, Beer, General Store

Cards less powerful when played against Molly Stark: Duel, Indians!, Volcanic, Jail

Cards more powerful when played against Molly Stark: Panic, Cat Balou, Brawl, Rag Time, and Can Can when selecting from her hand.

Ideal roles: Sheriff, Renegade (somewhat)

Characters that counter Molly Stark well: Jesse Jones, El Gringo

Characters that Molly Stark counters well: Belle Star, Pat Brennan.

2-player value: Good; drawing cards from Missed! cards and being able to draw cards from Duels is very valuable at this point in the game. Beer does lose its value here. While Molly could play a Beer as a last second Beer with it having no effect, it will do her no good because she can only draw a card if she has a life point to draw it.

General Strategy as Molly Stark: Molly Stark is a very defensive character, and so it can be very difficult to play her if you are an Outlaw or a Deputy. Molly Stark is nice to have at the beginning of the game when Indians! or Gatling are played and there was not time to build a hand. If she has a BANG!/Missed!/Dodge in her hand, Molly Stark can play one of these to not have her cards depleted before she gets a turn. Once she gets a turn, it is time to start building up a good hand. While it is true for all characters, Molly Stark should especially try to have a BANG!/Missed! combo in her hand, ready to play out of her turn so that she can draw more cards. This combo is even better if she has a Dodge instead of a Missed! because then she can draw 2 cards from playing it. General Stores are great ways of grabbing a needed BANG! and especially needed Missed!. Pay attention when other players use this card.

Duels do not end up being very useful cards for Molly Stark because it is almost always more beneficial for her to have the BANG! in her hand instead of depleting them. Of course, there are times when she cannot reach an opponent, Molly Stark has many BANG! in her hand, and her opponent has a big chance of taking a hit from the Duel. That is important to keep in mind, but it is a rare occasion.

Besides this, Molly Stark should try to get good blue and green cards in play in front of her to prepare for future battles. While distance control is important, one of the strange things about Molly Stark's ability is that its usefulness is increased when she has 1 opponent that can reach her. While she will still be able to play BANG!/Missed!/Dodge and draw cards for when global effect cards like Howitzer, Gatling, are played (or Duel), it is nice to be able to draw cards from ranged attack cards too. That is why being in range of 1 opponent is not necessarily a bad thing for Molly Stark, taking into consideration the cards that are in play on the table. If Molly Stark is able to get some good defensive green cards in front of her, then she can risk getting more offensive. Likely, though, as Molly Stark picks up cards from out of her turn and then draws on her draw phase, she will find that she has some excess cards. Molly Stark should use these offensive cards instead of discarding them!

As your life gets low, having a last second Beer is an especially great thing to have. You regain your last life point and you also get to draw a card. A pretty good bargain for that point in the game. If you can survive until 2-player, you have a decent shot at winning the game, as your responsive card-drawing will especially benefit you with 1 opponent here.

Playing against Molly Stark: The main thing to remember when playing against Molly Stark is to not Duel her unless you know she has no BANG! in her hand (she takes a hit from an Indians! for instance), she has 1 life point, or you absolutely need to take the risk. Molly Stark will be able to draw a card for each BANG! she discards at the end of the Duel. This will not deplete her cards as you might have hoped, and Molly Stark may even get the cards she needs to further her aims. While you will not need to be as cautious with Indians!, you should keep in mind that you are likely giving Molly Stark a card to draw in exchange for a discarded BANG!. Another card to be careful when playing is General Store, especially when there are many players in the game and Molly Stark is not at the end of the pickings. Chances are in these scenarios that Molly Stark will get to pick a card that she can play out of her turn.

While there are less Missed! and Dodge in the deck than BANG!, they apply to a wider variety of cards, and can help her greatly against attack cards. Even the edge of the Volcanic is somewhat blunted against Molly Stark. When she is attacked by a shot from a Volcanic, if she plays a Missed!/Dodge, then she immediately gets to draw 1/2 cards. Each shot from the Volcanic is seen as a self-contained event, so she does not have to wait until the end of the shots to draw her cards. This gives her the opportunity to pick up more Missed!/Dodge, Beer, etc. that can help her avoid shots from Volcanic during this turn and in the future.

So when playing a BANG!, attack card, Duel, or Indians! when Molly Stark is your target, it can be a good idea to steal or discard cards from her hand beforehand in hopes of grabbing a card that she can use to defend herself and then draw a card. If all else fails, a Dynamite can be a nice play against Molly Stark. Her stored up Missed!/Dodge will do her little good in this scenario, and it is highly unlikely that Molly Stark has enough Beer to survive the blast.

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  1. Wow, what an impressive Bang! site you have built here! So much to see, and I have only really visited a tiny fraction of it yet. Great work!

    But on Molly's ability, you are wrong. When Slab shoots a Bang! card at her, she can very definitely play a single Missed! card first, then draw a replacement, before she follows it up with a second Missed! - or not. This is confirmed by Emiliano.

    The difference between Molly in a Duel and Molly versus Slab is, in the former case, she is just discarding cards (for their name) during the resolution of a single played card, the Duel. (The Duel is the only card played, the only card with an effect and the only card that is being resolved.) While in the latter case she is independently playing a card (for its effect), the Missed! card (after another card, a Bang!, was played and resolved for its effect of a flying bullet).

    Exactly the same confusion seems to be extremely common also with Suzy Lafayette - who works very much the same way as Molly both in Duels and versus Slab - and I recently posted a (perhaps long-winded) comment on Suzy elsewhere.

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