Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Card Explanations: Barrel

Symbology: “BANG! “BANG!

Italian name: Barile.

Translation: “Draw!” when you are attacked by cards with BANG! symbols. If it is a heart, then the attack misses.

Playable: On your turn, during phase 2 only, unless you already have a Barrel in play in front of you.

Usable: Whenever you are the target of a card with a BANG! symbol, or by a card/ability that specifies an attack with the word BANG! involved in it. Thus, as the BANG! the Bullet rulebook states, “Neither Missed! nor Barrel have effect” against Indians!. Nor would it protect from a Duel (“You cannot play Missed! or use the Barrel during a duel. The Duel is not a BANG! card.”).

Suit and Value: Q♠, K♠ (BANG!), A♣ (Dodge City).

Card color: Blue.

Card Family: Barrel.

Included in: BANG!, Dodge City.

Roles greatly enhanced by playing this card: Sheriff, Renegade.

Characters greatly enhanced by playing this card: All 3 life point characters to some extent in helping them manage their hands better (they do not have to store Missed! up as much--El Gringo, Paul Regret, Pixie Pete, Apache Kid, Vera Custer, Claus the Saint, and Teren Kill--or discard cards defensively--Elena Fuente), Lucky Duke (Being able to “draw!” 2 cards and choose one gives him great protection from attacks), Jourdonnais (ability stacks with Barrel “draws!”), Sid Ketchum (helps him refrain from discarding cards to regain life points), Suzy Lafayette (gives her some protection after depleting her cards from a chain-draw), Vulture Sam (helps him turtle up until he is ready to attack), Chuck Wengam (helps him defensively when he chooses to drop life points), Bill Noface (helps him defensively when he drops life points by opting to take hits), José Delgado (can be discarded from hand to draw 2 cards), Uncle Will (He may play the Barrel as a General Store), Johnny Kisch (he can play a Barrel to discard up to 2 other Barrels in play), Big Spencer (almost essential for him since he cannot play Missed!), and John Pain (if he is under 6 cards in his hand, he draws the card he “draws!” for Barrel).

Characters less enhanced by using this card: Molly Stark (While it useful to get a free missed!, successful “draws!” do keep her from drawing a card for using a card from her hand out of turn).

Characters that cope well with others playing this card: Slab the Killer (2 missed! must be provided to avoid his BANG!, so the 25% of the time missed provides little defense against his attack), Willy the Kid/Doc Holyday/Lee Van Kliff (able to play multiple BANG! on their turns, a successful Barrel “draw!” does not necessarily keep them from placing another attack), Kit Carlson (He can stack a non-heart on top of the deck during his drawing phase, so that when he fires at a player with a Barrel they are guaranteed to get a unsuccessful “draw!”), Pat Brennan (He can steal Barrel during his drawing phase), Belle Star (Barrel provides no protection from her attacks), and John Pain (If he has less than 6 cards in his hand, the card “drawn!” for resolving Barrel goes into his hand).

Characters that cope poorly with others playing this card: Rose Doolan (Her reach does not help her get passed the Barrel), Jesse Jones/Flint Westwood (stealing from others’ hands does not affect the defensive power of the Barrel), and Vulture Sam/Greg Digger/Herb Hunter (Barrels keep others from being as eliminated as quickly, and their abilities activate upon player elimination; however, if a player is eliminated, Vulture Sam does get to draw his Barrel).

Works well against: BANG!, Springfield, Punch, Gatling, Buffalo Rifle, Derringer, Knife, Pepperbox, Howitzer, and Jail (unable to draw new defensive cards due to losing a draw phase, Barrel can give you some protection until your next turn).

Works poorly against: Indians! and Duel.

Works well in conjunction with: Missed!, Dodge, Bible, Iron Plate, Sombrero, Ten Gallon Hat, Volcanic (provides defenses after card depletion), Mustang, and Hideout.

Commentary: The Barrel is an excellent defensive card, and crucial for some characters like Lucky Duke and Big Spencer (who should try to always have a steal card ready to nab a Barrel when it comes into play). With its strong defensive ability, it is especially useful for the Sheriff and Renegade, who are trying to survive shots during their game as they maneuver to achieve their goals. Since it is played in front of you, the Barrel does not contribute to your card limit. It helps you from depleting Missed! from your hand and also enables you to be freer with depleting your hand (or building up a more offensive hand). This allows Sid Ketchum and Elena Fuente to worry less with card depletion. Likewise, it is still quite a beneficial card for offensive types that deplete their hands, such as Suzy Lafayette, Willy the Kid, Doc Holyday, Calamity Janet (if she so opts), and pretty much any character with a Volcanic. And it helps with characters that opt to lose life points for a better strategic position (El Gringo, Bart Cassidy, Chuck Wengam, and Bill Noface). So the Barrel is beneficial for many characters, depending on their situation. In terms of determining which cards the Barrel applies to, the official Dodge City FAQ states,
Q02. Can I use the Barrel when I am the target of Punch, Knife, Springfield, Buffalo Rifle, Howitzer, Pepperbox, Derringer?

A. Yes. As a rule of thumb, the Barrel works against all cards showing a BANG! symbol.
This guideline helpfully explains why the Barrel does not protect from Indians!. Barrel is specifically described as being unable to protect from BANG! during a Duel in the BANG! rulebooks. Like other cards in play, the Barrel can be directly discarded or stolen. Remember that you can give it some protection from Panic! through sight modifiers such as Mustang and Hideout.

Return to the Card by Card Explanations Portal


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  2. Glad you found this helpful.

  3. Can you have more than one Barrel in front of you at a time?

  4. Can I use the barrel more than once per turn? Like if someone with a Volcanic targets me twice wtih Bang!, do I get to "draw!" twice?

    1. I wanna know this too! did you ever figure it out?

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  6. Consider
    P1 = Kit Carlsson,
    P2 = Some player with 2HP,
    Px = Jourdannais (where x is player in some random position).

    Turn1: P1 has dynamite. Picks, does not blow up, passes it on to P2. Now uses his special ability, draws 3 cards. Chooses the card with "8 spade" and puts it back so that he plans for P2 to blow up. Selects the other 2 cards. Plays his turn. At the end of his turn he fires at Px.

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  8. Hello everyone,
    can I play 2 or more barrels and then extract more than once to try missing a Bang! ?

  9. Do we get to keep the card we draw?


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