Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: O. K. Corral Unofficial Expansion

The O. K. Corral is another unofficial expansion to BANG!, available in English and Italian. It was designed by Steve Elmore in 2008, and the expansion functions just like A Fistful of Cards or High Noon expansions. Thus, after the first round, the Sheriff flips over an O. K. Corral event card that stipulates a gameplay change for the round. At the beginning of the next round (the Sheriff's next turn), he flips over an O. K. Corral card that replaces the old one. The old gameplay condition is removed and the new one is in place. For those of you who liked A Fistful of Cards and High Noon, this expansion might work just right for you. If you are not a fan of these, there is a gameplay variation that removes the randomness of these event cards (having them flipped out in order at the beginning of the game), that might make O. K. Corral appeal to you more. Anyway, I'll move on to reviewing the specific event cards added to O. K. Corral.

BANG O. K. Corral Unofficial Expansion Cards

Deadly Deal. Each player may lose 1 life point and discard all cards in hand to "draw" the same amount of cards from the discard deck. I like the gameplay effect for the card's theme (losing a life point is "deadly"), and the picture is nice. I don't know why draw is in quotes for this card. It shouldn't be. The quotations are reserved for "draw!" which involves flipping over cards. This, however, doesn't make much sense for this card. I am pretty sure you are just drawing like normal from the discard pile. Of course, I imagine your discarded cards are not placed on the discard pile and then you draw from it. Otherwise, you would lose a life point and draw the same cards! Rather, it looks like you are are supposed to draw the same amount of cards as cards in your hand from the discard pile; set these drawn cards aside. Then discard all the cards in your hand, and pick up the prior drawn cards as your new hand. In terms of gameplay, this card is a little hard to balance as I can imagine playing a Wells Fargo, drawing 3 cards, using the one's I wish and then losing a health to repick and reuse the Wells Fargo. That seems a little unfair. Of course, the chance of this happening is low.

Gunfight. All players must play as many BANG! cards as they have, one at a time. On a tie, players "draw" a card. The last person to play a BANG! card chooses another player to lose 1 life point. The description fits the title, but it really knocks a lot of BANG! out of people's hands for very little impact in terms of life points. It also really favors the Sheriff. Since everyone is forced to play BANG! until they have none left, this knocks a lot of ammo out of others (most importantly the Sheriff's opponents), and makes many susceptible to Duels and Indians! for the round. I am not sure if I like that. The description isn't quite clear, but this is how I understand it. Immediately after Gunfight enters play, starting with the Sheriff each player in a clockwise order must discard a BANG! This cycle continues until all players but 1 have expended the BANG! in their hand. In case of a tie when multiple players run out of BANG! at the same time, they draw a card. This condition doesn't make too much sense: does each player draw a card until they get a BANG!, and if they both draw and discard BANG!s, do they draw again? At this point, I would have the tied players, "draw!" instead. They call a color for 2-player ties, and suits for 3-4 player ties. After the "draw!" the player whose suit or color it is wins. I guess if there were more players in a tie (unlikely, but possible), they could all call numbers, and whoever is closest wins. The winner of the tie, or the last player with a BANG! in his hand, chooses another player to lose a life point. This card should be reworded to be more clear.

Bullseye. Missed! cards cannot be played this round. This is a straight forward card, thematically appropriate, and favors the Outlaws. This is fine as long as there are a variety of cards favoring different roles. Good image.

Snake Eyes. At the beginning of this round, each player must pass all cards in hand to the player on their right. The description fits well for the title, but this card could devastate and will likely hurt the Sheriff by receiving a hand lacking many defensive cards.

Bushwhack. Each player who is the target of a BANG! card may "draw." On a SPADE, the BANG! card affects the attacking player unless he has a Missed! card. This is an easy card to understand: the BANG!s can backfire. "Draw" should be "draw!" to avoid confusion. I think this is a neat card.

Gusher. When a "draw" card is played, double the amount of cards specified. Hmm, not a fan of this title, but good image. It isn't quite clear what a "draw" card is, but I imagine it is a Wells Fargo, Stage Coach, General Store, and Pony Express (Dodge City). Pony Express is questionable because of the use of the term "play", but I imagine the designer intended "use." General Store opens up a bit of a problem, as there are 2 ways to interpret it. Does the person who plays it flip over double the amount of cards and then pick 2, or does it go in a round twice, with each player picking 1 each time? I prefer the latter interpretation.

Scatter Gun. When a player targeted by a BANG! card plays a Missed! card, the players on both sides of him become the target of the same BANG! card and must also play a Missed! card. Good name for the description, although I prefer "Scatter Shot." The card is pretty straight forward except for 2 things. First, if a player shoots a player directly to his left or right, is he the target of his own BANG!? The description would have this occur, but this doesn't thematically make any sense. I suppose you could go either way on this, but I would make it so the player firing the BANG! is not the target of his own BANG! Second, it doesn't make sense that the players in the "spread" must play a Missed! card. It should say that they must play a Missed! to avoid the attack. But even then, it shouldn't a Missed! card specifically, but that they must play or use a card to avoid the attack or take a hit (thus, they could use a Barrel, Dodge, Sombrero, Ten Gallon Hat, or Iron Plate also to avoid the attack).

Lucky Horseshoe. At the end of each player's turn, they may "draw" 1 card. I like this card: it is thematically appropriate, easy to understand, and a fun variation for phase 3.

BANG O. K. Corral Unofficial Expansion Cards

Wanted. Except for the Sheriff, only the player or players with the most life points can be targeted this round. This card greatly favors the Sheriff, although it is thematically appropriate. It wouldn't impact the game much at the beginning of the game, but could really impact mid-late game, even changing the tide of the whole game. Of course, many players would not fire instead of hit their team mates. Love the picture.

Trading Post. During phase 1, each player may choose any one of their cards in play and trade it for another player's card in play as long as the agreement is mutual. Thematically clear, and potentially very useful. It was good that it was done from the cards "in play" in front of players because this makes discussion less problematic. Of course, it does favor players with cards in play in front of them, but many will have at least 1 unless Trading Post is flipped over at round 2.

Flesh Wound. No player can lose their last life point this round. Very interesting card, even if it is not likely a player will only have 1 life point when it is in play. It helps you save your last second beers too.

The Gambler. Each player draws a card face down. All reveal at once and the highest card regains 1 life point. The theme is a little off as you are not gambling anything, and I would have the title be "The Gamble" instead. The card makes sense, but it seems strange to draw cards face down when you have no influence over these cards nor do other players. Rather, I would have each player "draw!" a card, and the card with the highest value wins. Since there could be a tie with these "drawn!" cards, I would have those who tie "draw!" again. I like the idea of the winner gaining a life point.

Ace Up Your Sleeve. During phase 1, each player may discard an ACE to draw a card from the discard pile. Thematically good, but it doesn't seem to be that interesting of a round card. Having an Ace isn't too likely, and swapping it out for the top card of the discard pile doesn't seem that great. I might make it 2 cards. I imagine the "during" versus "at the beginning of" phase 1 entails that you can discard an ace you draw that turn.

Gunpowder. If a barrel is used, the player "draws" a card as normal to see if it's a HEART. If not, they "draw" another card: on a SPADE they lose another life point. While this card has some merit, it is written poorly. For one, even if you don't successfully "draw!" a heart, this doesn't entail that you lost a life point. You "draw!" for your Barrel and then you have a chance to play a defensive card. So Gunpowder shouldn't say on Spades you lose "another" life point; you just lose a life point. I would reword this card to say: After a player "draws!" for a Barrel, if the "drawn!" card is not a heart, he must "draw!" again. On spades, that player loses a life point. For fun, I think it would be neat if the Barrel exploded (was discarded) after this too.

Reservation. No one may play an Indians card this round. Somewhat thematically appropriate, but not impactful enough for my taste. It seems like a waste of an event card.

Fatal Shot. For this round, if a player is hit, he must "draw" a card: on a HEART, he loses another life point. So, it's sort of a reverse Barrel, which is neat. I would rather have the drawn card be a spade if he is to lose another life point to be more in line with the BANG! suit themes. On the whole, I like it.

BANG O. K. Corral Unofficial Expansion Cards

Search Warrant. The Sheriff may see any other player's identity card. I imagine that "identity card" refers to "role card." I cannot express how much I hate this card. It ruins the game of deception that is at the root of BANG! It can really screw the Renegade trying to play the Deputy, and really helps the Sheriff. I would either remove this card from the expansion or change it to this: "The Sheriff may see any other player's hand." This fits the theme even better in my opinion, as a Search Warrant checks a location for evidence and items. This card is still very powerful, and so I might limit it to 2 cards at random from another player's hand.

Short Fuse. Any Dynamite card explodes if a SPADE is drawn. This card is somewhat like Curse, where all "drawn!" cards are spades. Curse was stronger for exploding dynamite, as 2-9 covers around 50% of the cards. Short Fuse will explode only 25%. This could still be fun, but the chances of Dynamite and Short Fuse overlapping is less likely. Curse's ability to nullify barrels made it more impactful. I might change this card so that, "At the beginning of the round, if there is a Dynamite in the discard pile, it must be taken out and immediately played. There is no round to 'activate' the Dynamite. Thus, the Sheriff immediately "draws!" for the Dynamite. On spades, this Dynamite explodes." This would make Short Fuse far more impactful, but then it might be too brutal.

Closed Sunday. No General Store or other "draw" cards may be played this round. Ugly image. This card lacks significant impact, as the chance of having "draw cards" this round are not very likely. Perhaps the card should be changed to include any cards that steal or discard cards from other players. That would make the card more impactful, but then it would be less thematically appropriate.

Mystery Tonic. During phase 1, each player draws a card. Red-suited cards gain 1 life point; black-suited cards lose 1 life point. This card is very impactful, and I think pretty neat. It is a little unclear whether Mystery Tonic entails each player showing the first card they draw on the turn, drawing an extra card on their turn, or "drawing!" I think it makes best sense for the "draw!"

Rustlers. All horse cards in play must be discarded. This card is vicious, but neat, and thematically appropriate. I might add the Hideout, even though it has little to do the theme. It just makes the effect cleaner in removing all increasing distance modifiers.

Train Robbers. All cards in play are discard. This card is just ridiculous. For one, it stomps on Rustlers, removing horses all over again and affecting all other cards in play in front of others. To help this card, perhaps the following could occur: All players flip the cards in play in front of them face down and shuffle them. The Sheriff selects 1 card at random from these cards to be discarded, and then the player to the left of the Sheriff selects 1 card at random from his card pile to be discarded. The remaining cards are flipped face up and immediately return to play. This would dull the edge from this card, but still make it very powerful.

Moonshine. All players regain 1 life point. Very clear and thematically consistent.

Bounty Hunter. During phase 1, each player must "draw" a Missed! card; if not, they must discard a BANG! and a Missed! card or lose 1 life point. Okay, so each player has a 82% chance of losing a life unless they have both a BANG! and a Missed! (which is very unlikely). I might change this card somewhat: During phase 1, each player must "draw!" Unless the "drawn!" card has a missed symbol on it, they must discard a BANG! and any other card or lose 1 life point. This effect is still vicious, but a little more forgiving.


O. K. Corral ends up being a very prophetic name, for this expansion is just that: OK.

While O. K. Corral adds some really neat event cards to the game, some cards such as Search Warrant and Train Robbers really kill it. A lot of the cards are not that clear, and require a lot of interpretive effort on part of the players. This review is evidence of that. The design, on the other hand, is decent. The green border on the cards echoes well the border of official BANG! event cards, and the Playbill font was a great alternative for the event cards font (which I still have been unable to determine). Many of the pictures are very good: they are thematically appropriate, although many lack the sketchy, cartoonish feel of the original BANG! cards. The biggest fault against the design is the inconsistent size of the text descriptions. Next, the theme for O. K. Corral is very strong, as the card descriptions fit their titles very well. I do have to strike the O. K. Corral expansion in the novelty area, as another event card deck really isn't something that different to add to the game. However, custom event card decks make great unofficial expansions, as their ease of production is so great.

Gameplay Enhancement: 3/5

Clarity: 2.5/5

Design: 3.5/5

Theme: 4.5/5

Novelty: 2/5

Ease of Production: 5/5

Download a zip of the O. K. Corral expansion here.

Italiano (tradotto da Superkaze): scarica ora.



    [ENGLISH]Hello everyone.
    Some month ago I started searching other BANG! cards created by the players, and I found the images used in the same way of High Noon and A Fistful of Cards.
    This expansion is called O.K. Corral, and is in English.
    I tried unsuccessfully to contact the author.
    In my free time I have translated the texts of cards, initially only in English, and I created the new images, with descriptions in Italian and in English ...

    [ITALIAN] Ciao a tutti.
    Preso dal gioco ho cercato in rete altre carte create dai giocatori, ed ho trovato in giro delle immagini inerenti ad una espanzione utilizzabile ad ogni giro, come avviene per Mezzogiorno di Fuoco e Per Un Pugno di Carte.
    Tale espansione si chiama O.K. Corral, ed è in inglese.
    Ho provato a contattare l'autore senza successo.
    Nel tempo libero ho tradotto i testi delle carte, inizialmente solo in inglese, e ho creato le nuove immagini, con la descrizione sia in italiano che in inglese...

  2. Thanks for the Italian translation, Superkaze! I have added the translation as a download here at the BANG! Blog and put up a post announcing it.

  3. Some cards aren't perfect because... I haven't anderstood very well the meaning of the event XD
    I'll try to publish a 2.0 version

  4. Downloaded this, made some changes, printed it then read your review...doh! I should have read before printing as it had a few idea i could of used.

    Changes i made:

    Gunpowder - Any Barrels used for "Draws!" work as follows
    Hearts = miss
    Spades = - 2 life

    *i knew tacitly that the barrel should be destroyed in this action...but failed to put that in...oh well, house rule.

    Search Warrant - The Sheriff may choose one player and look at their hand once this round.

    *This leaves the exact timing of when to look open, so long as it is before the next Corral card.

    Short Fuse - Dynamite explodes on any spade drawn during its draw phase

    *I felt the the previous wording could lead to arguments about draws from other items and events

    Gusher - When Drawing cards to add to your hand after phase one draw double the regular amount, select one more card than your regular amount and discard the rest.

    *I think after testing i might change this to 2 more than the regular as one is more of a spurt, but i think Cards like stage coach would be too OP with this. Never thought of the headache general store would cause.

    Lucky Horseshoe - Each player draws one extra card after the discard phase of their turn.

    *i don't understand why the original card read "may draw" as every one wants extra cards...also added the discard portion to make this really lucky.

    Train Robbers - Each player loses a card in play, the card is selected by the first living player to their right.

    * I don't feel this is exactly right, but is far and above better than the original. Its also much faster than flipping over and mixing every-ones in play cards.

    Changes i would have made had i read your post first:

    Deadly Deal - Players may choose to pay one life to discard upto 3 cards from your hand and draw the same amount from the deck. Multiple lives may be paid in this manner, lives must be paid before you see drawn cards. You may not use + life cards this turn.

    *I think the deal is harder to take not knowing what you will get and not being able to quickly regain that life immediately.

    Gunfight - I would have moved "On a tie" to the last sentence and added highest card wins, Aces High. Duels may not be played this round.

    *I agree that it drains the bangs but it does so for every one, so i think it fair. The duels is an issue but seeing there was a gunfight just assume everyone is out of ammo and disallow duels.

    Buhwacked - "Draw" should be "draw!" to avoid confusion.

    *I agree

    Scattergun - Scatter Shot- When a player targeted by a BANG! card plays a Missed! card, the players on both sides of him become the target of the same BANG! card and must also play a Missed! card. The special effect can not harm the player of this card.

    *I agree that it should read shot as gun implies an item multiple uses (blue border), I also agree that you should not be able to harm your self with this but that cards like bushwhack could still effect this. I think this would be better as a green border...maybe a brown rather than an event.

    The Gambler * I like your proposed changes but would allow ties to have all tied players win.

    Ace up your Sleeve * again i agree 2 cards would be a better reward

    Fatal shot * no change, just wanted to say i prefer it being a heart (as in shot hits the heart causes more damage)

    Mystery Tonic * Agrees, "Draw!".

    Bounty Hunter - I agree "Draw!" but might add a diamond (to pay him off) to that Missed icon.

    ---Thanks to Steve Elmore for creating these cards in the first place. Lately i am not sure if i am having more fun Playing bang or printing cards.


  5. Hi, Martin,

    I've been trying to download the zip of the O. K. Corral expansion in English you have here but it seems it doesn't work. Italian does though. I yet would like to get the English one. What may I do?