Character Name: Apache Kid.
Inspired by: The Apache Kid (Has-kay-bay-nay-ntayl), a White Mountain Apache scout and outlaw, who lived in Arizona and New Mexico, and later in the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua in the late 19th century.
Life Points: 3.
Ability Type: Defensive.
Ability: "Cards of Diamonds played by other players do not affect him." The wording on this ability is somewhat poor, especially the nature of "played," so consulting the Dodge City rule book and FAQ helps us somewhat. The rulebook states, "he is unaffected by cards from the suit of Diamonds played by the other players. During a Duel, his ability does not work." This last statement about Duels makes sense, because BANG! in duels are not played, but discarded. Thus, diamond BANG!s can be discarded in a duel with Apache Kid and be effective. But what about diamond Missed! cards that his opponents play to avoid his BANG? Furthermore, what about cards that are played in front of other players, such as the green and blue cards? A casual reading of Apache Kid's ability could conclude that scopes of other players do not work on Apache Kid. Fortunately, the Dodge City FAQ gives us a detailed explanation of the application of Apache Kid's ability:
Q10. Does the ability of Apache Kid prevent other players to play Missed! cards of Diamond against his BANGs?
A. No. Apache Kid’s ability applies to cards played by other players only, thus during other players’ turns. Therefore, he is unaffected by about half of the BANG! Cards, by all Indians!, by Conestoga and by some Cat Balou and Panic! played against him. Other cards (General Store, Hideout, weapons, etc.) always works normally.
From this we can gather that only cards played against him that affect him (Missed! cards do not affect Apache Kid, they affect the player who played the Missed!), which expire immediately on their use (green and tan offensive cards), activate Apache Kid's ability. Blue cards do not.
Finally, to be a stickler, cards of diamonds can be played against Apache Kid, they just have no effect (like Beer in 2-player or when a player plays Beer when he has full health). Thus, a hard-nosed interpretation of the rules could make a player not be able to take back a diamond he played on Apache Kid. The move was legal; it just had no effect. This interpretation is also to a player's advantage in some rare scenarios. Think of playing with the Wild West Show expansion and Gary Looter is in play. You are 1 card over your card limit, and Gary Looter will pick up your card if you discard. Apache Kid is the only player within reachable distance, and so you choose to play a diamond BANG! against Apache Kid just so Gary looter will not get a card. Let me present another less obscure example: say Suzy Lafayette is trying to chain her ability, and the last card she has in her hand is a diamond. If Apache Kid is the only player that she can reach or target with it (such as when only 2 players are left standing), she can still play the card against him and draw another card.
Activation: On other players' turns, when another player plays a card against Apache Kid (that affects Apache Kid), which immediately expires upon use.
Cards less effective when played against Apache Kid: BANG! (13/28 are diamonds), Cat Balou (3/5 are diamonds), Indians! (3/3 are diamonds), Panic! (1/5 are diamonds), Conestoga (1/1 is a diamond), and to some extent a Duel (1/3 are diamonds).
Cards more effective when played against Apache Kid : Duel (2/3 are not diamonds, and using one against Apache Kid allows you to expend the diamond BANG! against him), Dynamite.
Ideal role: Sheriff.
2-player value: Great. Many offensive cards will not work against you, and it is very difficult to remove cards from in play in front of you (36% do not work against Apache Kid).
Characters that counter Apache Kid well: Doc Holyday (he can use his ability to shoot a non-diamond BANG! at Apache Kid, as long as one of the discarded cards is not a diamond), Calamity Janet (12/13 Missed! that she may use as BANG! are not diamonds).
NOTE: To some extent characters that draw more cards, or have a greater selection of cards to choose from, will have a much greater chance of picking up cards that can be used against Apache Kid (Black Jack, Kit Carlson, Pixie Pete, in some scenarios Bill Noface, José Delgado, and Vera Custer).
Characters that Apache Kid counters well:Willy the Kid, Slab the Killer.
General Strategy as Apache Kid: Since Apache Kid has a great resistance to cards being stolen or discarded from him (36% do not affect him), he should work hard in the early game to not make any enemies while trying to build up a good card base. It shouldn’t be too difficult to avoid “unintentional hits” from cards played that hit most players, as only Gatling and Howitzer can affect him. These are often played during early game when players don’t want to expose their roles. Allies can worry less when playing Indians!, as they will not hurt Apache Kid. Apache Kid should try to get distance modifiers, a gun, and offensive/defensive green cards in play in front of him.
I would also recommend for Apache Kid to save up a card that allows him to steal or discard a card from another player(s). All green offensive cards are non-diamonds, and can thus hurt Apache Kid. It will be a good idea to remove this card from an opponent before he can use it on you. While Volcanics are very dangerous for 3 life point characters, they are less problematic for Apache Kid, as nearly half of the BANG! cannot affect him. So while dangerous, their being in play is less problematic than might be supposed. Apache Kid should be more nervous about deadly non-diamond attack combos that can be played against him. That is why he should monitor the green offensive cards, and try to cards from the Missed! family in his hand or in play in front of him. He will always have a round to anticipate them, and hopefully a turn to act against them (as long as he is not thrown in Jail).
After Apache Kid has built up a decent card base in the early game, then he can shift to targeting a player he needs/may need to eliminate. I wouldn’t have Apache Kid make too many enemies, but he should expect an ally to back up the player he attacks. It would be helpful if he attacked an enemy that one of his own allies could also reach, or one where it will be very difficult for an ally of an opponent to back him up.
Apache Kid should moderate his BANG! use. If Apache Kid has many BANG! in his hand and he wishes to play one, he should choose to play a non-Diamond BANG! While this adds a non-BANG! to the discard pile, which will eventually shuffle into the draw deck, it protects Apache Kid from having a BANG! stolen from his hand that can then be fired against him. When General Stores are played, he should try to grab a non-diamond BANG! and other non-diamond card that can be played against before his opponents can get it.
If someone plays a non-diamond Duel against Apache Kid, in most cases it is better for him to take the hit, rather than expend his BANG! I say in most cases, because there are times when opponents have fewer cards in their hand and Apache Kid may have 1-2 BANG! Since there is no defensive penalty for Apache Kid expending all of his BANG! (as he is immune to Indians!), getting rid of all of them to win a duel is not necessarily a bad idea. It is something for Apache Kid to consider when duels are initiated, and something for him to consider if he has a Duel and many BANG! himself (he may wish to initiate a duel).
General Strategy against Apache Kid: Apache Kid is a very annoying opponent to have, as many of the cards you want to play against him will have no effect on him. However, he is a 3 life point character, which makes him very vulnerable to Dynamite, and to attack combos. Unfortunately, the latter is a little more difficult to pull off. Apache Kid is immune to Indians!, and 36% of the cards that you could use to discard or steal defensive cards from him do not affect him either. This means that you will have to have a very specific card set to lower his health. The General Store can help you here some. It should give you some non-diamond cards to choose from that can help you against Apache Kid. Especially useful in the store is the Duel. If you pick up a bunch of BANG! that he is immune to, try to get a Duel as the BANG! discarded in the Duel can be diamonds. At least that way you can get rid of generally useless BANG! and take a life point off of Apache Kid. The green offensive cards are another great bunch to add to your combo, as all of them are non-diamonds. Unfortunately, you do have to wait a round before you can use them against Apache Kid.
After getting a least 2 cards with which you can attack Apache Kid (and hopefully some card that will remove a defensive card from his hand or in play in front of him), you should be able to knock off a life point from Apache Kid. This will hopefully get another ally to attack him during this round, and force him to discard cards during his discard phase for being over his card limit. If possible, you will want to eliminate Apache Kid before a 2-player duel, as he is a very tough 1-on-1 opponent. Finally, remember as I presented above that diamond cards can be played against Apache Kid, they just do not affect him. This can be useful in some scenarios, especially with Suzy Lafayette.