Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Card Explanations: Jail

Symbology: ”BANG! ”BANG!

Translation: “Draw!” at the beginning of your turn. If it is a heart, read the manual (or if it is a heart, read the description and the manual).

Description: “Discard the card, play normally. Else discard the Jail and skip your turn.” (4th Ed.)

Manual Explanation: “Play this card in front of any player regardless of the distance: you put him in jail! If you are in jail, you must “draw!” before the beginning of your turn:
  • if you draw a Heart card, you escape from jail: discard
    the Jail, and continue your turn as normal;

  • otherwise discard the Jail and skip your turn.

If you are in Jail you remain a possible target for BANG! cards and can still play response cards (e.g. Missed! and Beer) out of your turn, if necessary. Jail cannot be played on the Sheriff."

Playable: On your turn, during phase 2 only, on any player except the Sheriff. In 3-player, since there is no Sheriff, the Jail can be played on anyone.

Resolved: At the beginning of the turn of the player Jail was played on. He “draws!” for Jail after dealing with Dynamite. The BANG! the Bullet rulebook states, “If you have both the Dynamite and a Jail in play, check the Dynamite first.”

Suit and Value: 4♥, 10♠, J♠.

Card color: Blue.

Card Family: Jail.

Included in: BANG!.

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

Characters greatly enhanced by playing this card: José Delgado (can be discarded from hand to draw 2 cards), Pedro Ramirez (he can chain-Jail the player to his right), Uncle Will (He may play the Jail as a General Store), Johnny Kisch (While unlikely, he could play a Jail to put a rival in Jail and free an ally from Jail).

Characters that cope well with others playing this card: Lucky Duke (Being able to “draw!” 2 cards and choose one makes it extremely unlikely that Dynamite will explode on him), Kit Carlson (while unable to protect himself, Kit Carlson can stack a heart on top of the deck to insure that an ally to his left in Jail gets out), Jourdonnais (his defensive ability works out of turn and does not require drawing cards), Bart Cassidy (defensive ability works out of turn, allowing him to draw cards when taking hits), Tequila Joe (last chance Beer can be played out of turn), Pat Brennan (while unable to protect himself, he can steal a Jail played in front of an ally), El Gringo (defensively, Jail is not too problematic since he can still steal cards from his attacker if he takes a hit), Teren Kill (defensively, Jail does not hurt him much as he does not need to draw cards to protect himself), Paul Regret (if he is out of range of his opponents, Jail has little impact on him), Bill Noface (taking some hits while in Jail is not too problematic if he is near full health; he can draw many cards on his next turn if this happens), Sid Ketchum (he can use his life point regaining ability out of turn), Vulture Sam/Herb Hunter/Greg Digger (their abilities activate upon player elimination, regardless of when it occurs; however, it will do them no good if they are the ones eliminated), Apache Kid (immunity to diamonds applies while in Jail), Molly Stark (she can still cards out of turn and draw more cards), Elena Fuente (while she can discard card from her hand as a Missed!, if she has few cards Jail could really hurt), Youl Grinner (unable to draw more cards, there is a good chance he will get cards from other players who will have more cards than him), Gary Looter (ability applies out of turn), and John Pain (If he has less than 6 cards in his hand, the card “drawn!” for resolving Prison goes into his hand).

Characters that cope poorly with others playing this card: Jesse Jones (in Jail, he cannot draw a card from another player), Paul Regret (if he is in range of his opponents, Jail can ruin him), Slab the Killer (nullifies his offensive ability), Willy the Kid (nullifies his offensive ability), Black Jack (he cannot draw cards while in Jail), Kit Carlson (While able to help the player to his left who is in Jail, Kit Carlson loses his ability while in Jail himself), Pedro Ramirez (Jail makes him lose his drawing phase; however, if he luckily “draws!” a heart, he can draw the Jail played on him and play it on another), Doc Holyday (ability only works on his turn), Belle Star (her offensive ability only works on her turn), Big Spencer (large amount of health makes him resistant to hits while in Jail, but the inability to play Missed! makes the extra health precious), Sean Mallory (unless he has had time to store up Beer or Missed! in his hand, Jail could really hurt him), Pat Brennan (while able to free others, he cannot use his ability in Jail), Pixie Pete (he loses his ability to draw 3 cards during his drawing phase), Vera Custer (if she is successfully placed in Jail, she has no ability until her next turn; see Q13 of the Dodge City FAQ for details), Claus the Saint (he cannot use his drawing and disseminating cards ability), Uncle Will (he cannot play a card as a General Store), Flint Westwood (he cannot swap cards with players out of turn), José Delgado (he cannot discard blue cards out of turn), and Lee Van Kliff (his replication ability only works during his turn).

Works poorly against defensive players with: Beer, Missed!, Dodge, Bible, Iron Plate, Sombrero, and Ten Gallon Hat.

Commentary: The Jail card is a Sheriff’s best friend. Immune to the card himself, he can use it to weaken and punish a pesky Outlaw for 1 round (he has a 75% chance of getting him in Jail). It is especially useful when an Outlaw becomes volcanic-ized, or when Willy the Kid has the Sheriff in range. It counters card-drawing abilities like Jesse Jones’, and allows the Sheriff and any of his allies (Deputy, Renegade) to focus fire on the Jailed person. Of course, they might focus fire on a weaker character, simply Jailing the other to get him temporarily out of the way. Outlaws can still use the Jail to silence the turncoat Renegade or Deputy, so that they can focus fire on the Sheriff, but it is clearly less useful for them. One particular character is very powerful with the Jail card--Pedro Ramirez. He can chain-Jail the player directly to his right if that player is not able to “draw!” a heart to escape Jail. The Jail will almost always be on top of the discard pile for him to pick up during his drawing phase if that player remains in Jail. An ally will need to play a card that will discard/steal it to remove it, or play a Dynamite, which will force Pedro Ramirez to “draw!” at the beginning of his turn, covering up the Jail that had been on top of the discard pile. As a file note, players in Jail can still play Beer on their turns as long as it is a last chance Beer. As Question 15 of the official BANG! FAQ resolves,
Q15. Can a Jailed player play a Beer in his turn?

A. Only if he is losing his last life point.

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  1. pretty comprehensive stuff

    you should add vera custer onto the list harmed by jail


  2. You are right, Kilan. Generally, I haven't placed Vera Custer and Greygory Deck on the lists since they copy other characters' abilities. I figured people would just look at the characters' abilities they copied to determine whether it hurt them or not. But because Vera Custer loses her ability to choose someone's ability while in Jail, she is left without an ability for the round. Good catch! Glad someone is watching over my work.

  3. Hey host, may I ask you a question.
    If I was jailed and I had green cards on the table, did I need to discard the green cards? (or even cards that exceed my life points)

  4. You do not have to discard any cards because of Jail. You simply lose your turn and the Jail card itself is discarded. Green cards remain, and you do not have to discard any cards do to your card limit. The discarding occurs during phase 3 of your turn, but because you have no turn, phase 3 does not occur either. Discarding, if needed, will occur when you have your next turn.

  5. Thanks for your explanation.

  6. My pleasure! I know some of the cards can be confusing, and I hope this site will clear things up.

  7. I play using a house rule for jail, whereby a player who is incarcerated cannot be the target of of Bang! effects, duels, Indians, the saloon and the general store. After all, what kind of justice is it if the Sheriff and his deputies can lock a man up and then unload their guns into the helpless prisoner? That said, I guess punches are still ok...

    I wonder if you feel that prison becomes far too weak under these circumstances?

    This could be mitigated by allowing the player who jails another player to mimic the effect of panic, as they confiscate the victim's property. Perhaps panic itself could lose its range limitation on a jailed player. I also quite like the idea of a jailed player being sprung out of jail in the confusion of an Indian attack, or perhaps freed by a team mate with a stick of dynamite.

    A little feedback on these house rules would be gratefully received.

  8. Here in Brazil we deactivate all the blue and green cards in front of the player when he is in jail.

    It's pretty logical that you can't be with your horse or your guns in jail.

    Once the jail is discarded, the blue and green cards are reactivated.

    Anybody else play this way?

  9. I have a question.
    If i am put in Jail and i failed to draw a heart.
    I skip only one turn (means i am free to play next turn) or every time to my turn i must test again until i draw a heart then i am released?

  10. Only the one time. After you have "drawn!" for Jail, it is immediately discarded.

  11. Can you put yourself in Jail? We had an instance come up where Suzie Lafayette (outlaw) was facing the sheriff, so she wanted to play the Jail (her last card) on herself so she could draw an extra card. Is this legal? If so, what happens after that - can she keep playing?

  12. If somebody is in prison, can another player (probably an ally) help him, by using cards such as cat baloo, panick etc.? so that the "prisoner" gets rid of the "prison card" and comes out of the prison before even his turn comes? thanks for your help.

  13. can you be put in jail twice so have to draw twice in one turn to get eg 2 different players both jail you then its your turn.

  14. Can you free someone from jail with a cat balou to the jail card?

  15. If the turn is just the villain and the sheriff and the bandit hit the letter Jail
    Necessarily the blue cards go to the board, the bad guy is holding? It makes sense, but so is the rule?