EDIT: Given some more feedback by some Death Mesa player, I have added some very significant rule adjustments that should make it easier for BANG! players to play with Death Mesa. Changes include the number of cards ghosts draw, negation rules, and more!
Following up on my correspondence with Geekinsight, and the play testing of other fans, I wanted to include some rule changes and card clarifications for Death Mesa in a new patch. As with the prior 1.01 patch, I am hoping as more people play Death Mesa that they will file some new complaints that I can try to address and tweek in the rules book. Just leave a comment or e-mail me to give your complaint.
Card Clarifications (Rewordings of Cards without Changing their Effects).
- Seance: Some have been confused by the initial wording of this card. I have changed this to be " Pick 2 cards at random from a living player's hand to be secretly shown to you and another living player of your choice. No other action can occur until the cards are returned."
- The East Wind: There was an issue with the nature of the "must" described in this card. I have clarified it to read: "Select 2 living players. Until your next turn, whenever they try to attack each other, they must play 2 cards with bang symbols. They choose which card occurs when they play 2." The conditional before the must should now help. As an extra item of clarification for this card, the cards with bang symbols described must be able to be legally played against the other player. Thus, if I was one of the rivals selected by the ghost, I couldn't play a Derringer and a Punch against the other selected player to attack him, if he was 3 distance away (and I didn't have a Scope-Binoculars combo).
Optional Card Changes (House Rules for Certain Cards).
- Bad Moon Rising: Some players have not liked this card because of its effect being too random. As a result you could apply one or more of the following house rules: (1) Hearts "drawn!" for Bad Moon Rising do not add a card to other players, but like diamonds simply produce no effect. (2) Bad Moon Rising does not apply to all players, but to only 1 living player of the ghost's choice.
- Last Testament: In an effort to gather more "buried goods," you may play this card so that after you bestow one of your "buried goods" on a living player, you draw another card from the regular deck to add to your "buried goods." This helps give another card to add to "buried goods," besides the Curse and Death and Taxes cards (Rob Grave has you disseminate another players "buried goods").
- Hidden Stash: In an effort to allow greater dissemination of "buried goods," you may play this card so the living player you select can either draw from the regular deck or from your "buried goods."
- Unfinished Business: It has been hard for some players to remember who the last player was whom they attacked. This can be made easier by allowing Unfinished Business to be played either (1) on any player they attacked while alive, or (2) on any player that they can deductively prove must die for them to win in their role.
- Ghosts Drawing Cards.: When a player dies, he now immediately draws 1 Dead Men's Deck card. Ghosts now draw 2 Dead Men's Deck cards on their turns. However, if they wish to play more than 1 Dead Man's Deck card during their turns (Warn! and Mirage, if not played on their turn, is not censured by this), they must discard a Dead Men's Deck card for each additional card they wish to play.
- Ghosts Playing Cards when only 1 team is dead.: To balance out with the new drawing rules, ghosts when only 1 team is dead (including just a dead Renegade) can only play a Dead Men's Deck card if it is an Ace (or a royal if you use the optional rule) or if they discard 2 other Dead Men's Deck cards with it. Thus, on their first turn as ghosts they can immediately play (1 card from when they died, and the 2 drawn from their drawing phase). If they choose to do so, then they cannot play any cards the next turn unless it is an Ace/royal. They will be able to play cards a little more than 2 out of 3 turns, until there are ghosts from another team.
- Living Players Using BANG! Against Ghosts: Now that ghosts can draw 2 cards on their turns, living players may now play as many BANG! as they desire to deplete cards out of the hands of ghosts. I could simply raise the limit to 2 on any specific ghost, but this seems like an unnecessary thing to remember; very few players would play more than 2 BANG! against a ghost.
- Negation System. Some BANG! players have been turned off by how complex the negation system for Death Mesa is. Eager to find a better solution, one critic has suggested 2 alternatives, which I quite like, and I have tried to tweek them. I would like it if you tried either of these negation systems to see if they are better than the current one.
- Color Duel System. Instead of adding the values of cards of certain colors and trying to create a greater value on 1 side or the other, the Color Duel system simply uses the opposition between the red and black colors. When a ghost (say, Ghost A) plays a card (say, a red), another ghost (say, Ghost B) may discard a Dead Men's deck card of the opposite color (say, a black) to initiate a duel with Ghost A. Ghost A can respond by discarding a red. Then Ghost B can choose to respond by discarding another black, and so on. At anytime, a dead Renegade may influence the duel by playing an appropriate card on behalf of Ghost A or Ghost B. This is similar to the new version of "Stand Off" in Robbers' Roost. When either Ghost A or Ghost B cannot or chooses not to discard anymore cards (and dead Renegades are no longer participating), that Ghost loses the duel. If Ghost A lost the duel, his originally played card is negated. If Ghost B lost the duel, the originally played card succeeds. Only 1 duel may be initiated to negate a card.
- Suit Duel System.Slightly more complex than the Color Duel System, the Suit Duel System makes it so that a specific suit counters (->) another suit. In this system, Spades -> Hearts -> Clubs-> Diamonds -> Spades. To bring this in context of the game: When a ghost (say, Ghost A) plays a card (say, a club), another ghost (say, Ghost B) can discard a card with the countering suit (in this case a heart) to attempt to negate the card. This begins a similar duel as in the color duel system. Ghost A can discard a card with the countering suit (in this case a spade) to counter the card discarded by Ghost B. Ghost B could then respond with a Diamond, and so on. At anytime, a dead Renegade may influence this countering match by playing a countering card for Ghost A or Ghost B. When either Ghost A or Ghost B cannot or chooses not to discard a countering card (and dead Renegades are no longer participating), that Ghost loses the duel. If Ghost A lost the duel, his originally played card is negated. If Ghost B lost the duel, the originally played card succeeds. Only 1 duel may be initiated to negate a card.
- "Buried Goods": I am making some rules changes to make it easier to gather and disseminate "buried goods." However, I would like some feedback on which adjustments work best. I will give my preference, but also provide some other options.
- General Store: When a General Store card is played, cards are revealed for all players, both for the ghosts and the living. The ghosts may select from the cards revealed as a living player would, but the card selected is added to their "buried goods."
- Successfully Playing Dead Men's Deck Cards: One idea suggested by Geekinsight with GFBR was for ghosts to be able to draw a card from the regular deck to add to their "buried goods" whenever they successfully play a Dead Men's Deck card that has a spade as its suit. The spade sort of looks like a shovel to compliment this idea. To help disseminate the "buried goods," you could parallel this idea by allowing ghosts to select a living player to randomly select a card from their "buried goods" whenever they successfully play a heart. This works well with the new negation systems. If the old negation system is kept, whenever a ghost successfully plays a 2-6 (or 2-7?) of any suit, he may choose either to draw a card from the regular deck and add it to his "buried goods" OR select a living player to randomly select a card from his "buried goods." I prefer this idea because cards with values 2-6/2-7 are much more likely to be negated than the higher value cards. This gives a ghost a bonus for being able to carry one of those cards through, and also influences the Renegade's decision to back certain cards up somewhat. You can try either method out, but let me know which one works better, so that I can make it an official rule.
Some of these rules and card clarifications I will add to the Guidebook/Player Aid within the next couple of days. I am also looking for some ways to improve gameplay for dead Renegades. Any suggestions?