Sunday, September 18, 2011

Character Guide: John Pain

John Pain BANG! card game character

Character Name: John Pain.

Inspired by: John Wayne, enough said.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Neutral.

Ability: "If he has less than 6 cards in hand, each time any player "draws!", John adds the card just drawn to his hand."

Activation: When any player causes a "draw!" or resolves a "draw!" due to a card a player played (event cards excluded).

Cards enhanced by John Pain's ability: Barrel, Jail, and Dynamite.

Good roles for John Pain: All.

Characters that counter John Pain well: Pat Brennan (he can remove heavy "drawing!" Barrels and Dynamite), characters with defensive abilities not dependent upon "draws!" (Molly Stark, El Gringo, and Elena Fuente), most card transmutation characters that can discard Barrel and Dynamite in useful ways (Jose Delgado, Sid Ketchum, Doc Holyday; not Uncle Will), and characters that constrain the number of cards in hands (Youl Grinner and Gary Looter).

Characters that John Pain counters well: Jourdonnais (anytime he "draws!" for a BANG!, John Pain will likely draw the card), Lucky Duke (John Pain draws both cards that Lucky Duke "draws!"), Teren Kill (picks up the "drawn!" card when resolving whether Teren lives or not), Belle Star (see explanation below), Uncle Will (General Store will reveal too many "draw!" cards), 3 life point characters that desperately need Barrel (Sean Mallory, Vera Custer, Pixie Pete, and Claus the Saint), Big Spencer (needing a Barrel for defense, John Pain can draw many cards as a result), and characters that depend on Dynamite strategies (this often goes with player elimination abilities, like with Vulture Sam, Greg Digger, and Herb Hunter).

Special Consideration with Belle Star: Belle Star's ability makes card in play in front of other players have no effect on her turn. However, this does not mean that cards in play in front of other players cannot be utilized on her turn. Why would this be useful? Because John Pain can still "draw!" cards from his and other players' ineffective Barrel "draws!" -- in other words, while a heart "drawn!" from a Barrel will not provide a missed! when Belle Star attacks someone, John Pain can still gain the "drawn!" card.

2-player value: Okay. Depends on the "draw!" cards he has and and can get into play.

General Strategy as John Pain: John Pain is a nuisance like many of the Wild West Show characters in altering how the rest of the other BANG! players play. Youl Grinner often makes players expend more cards, while Gary Looter encourages players to insure they use cards so that they do not have cards over their limit during their discard phases. John Pain makes players be concerned whether or not they have cards affecting "draws!" in play--namely Barrel, Jail, and Dynamite. This is very difficult on characters that need the extra defenses a Barrel provides, or the havoc that Dynamite creates. It also constrains abilities that are dependent upon "draws!" such as Jourdonnais, Lucky Duke, and Teren Kill. John Pain's goal should be for him (and his allies) to get high "drawing!" cards in play: Dynamite and Barrel. This, of course, means that John Pain should try to gain steal cards and use them whenever necessary to steal those from an enemy. General Store can be especially useful in getting 1 of these "draw!" cards for himself or one of his allies.

With Dynamite, John Pain needs to remember that 2 Dynamites can be in play simultaneously, as the Dodge City rules specify (see specific Dynamite rules). 2 Dynamite are never in play in front of 1 player; rather, 1 Dynamite hops over the player with a Dynamite already in front of him. Dynamite is the best time for John Pain to draw cards because players have no choice but to "draw!" in an attempt to resolve it. Since he will be racking up tons of cards, he should try to use as many cards as possible during his turn to gather more. This is because he has a 6 card limit for this drawing bonus, and so he should try to maximize the amount of cards he can get from it. A Volcanic will be very useful here, in helping both get rid of BANG!, while also helping John Pain accrue tons of ammo to fire at his rivals.

When rivals have Barrels (or a "draw!" ability), John Pain could try to shoot at them and see if they are willing to "draw!" on his shots. Smart ones will decline the opportunity. There may also be situations where John Pain could shoot at a well defended ally who possesses a Barrel. If John Pain really needs to get a better card, he could expend the BANG!, have his ally "draw!" and then hope to get a better card with the "drawn!" card. Of course, the ally might have to still expend a defensive card, but it could be useful depending on John Pain's needs and sight constraints. The Barrels in front of John Pain and his allies also create a diversion for John Pain's rivals. Each time they shoot at one of them who has a Barrel, John Pain will draw a card. Fire will likely be directed to the ally without the Barrel as a consequence, so John Pain should prepare for that.

Playing against John Pain: Tread carefully when playing against John Pain. Consider the situation very carefully before playing a Barrel, and do not automatically use it as you are prone to do. Weigh how a "drawn!" card could benefit John Pain before you utilize the Barrel. The same goes with "draw!" abilities like Jourdonnais and Lucky Duke. Look at the consequences before using their abilities. Teren Kill doesn't have a choice with his, so he is simply out of luck when "drawing!" for his last life point. You must also be concerned about firing at John Pain or his allies when they have Barrels in play. Since they are guaranteed to use the Barrel, so that John Pain can gain the card, decide whether you should shoot at that player and not another lacking the Barrel instead. Using a Volcanic+BANG! on a player with a Barrel seems like an especially bad idea in most scenarios. Try to remove those Barrels wherever possible.

When it comes to Dynamite, I would recommend never playing it when John Pain is your rival. If you have a card transmutation abilities (like Sid Ketchum's), discard it for the extra benefit. If another player puts a Dynamite into play, try to discard it immediately, or steal it, and discard it during a discard phase. You fortunately have 1 round before the Dynamite activates and the "drawing!" begins, but hurry up since John Pain will about to become a demon. Remember that you cannot knock out 1 Dynamite by putting another Dynamite into play.

While Jail activates a "draw!", it is only a 1 time occurrence, so I would not fret too much. It can be a good means of silencing a John Pain who has already racked up 6 cards. Throw him in Jail, and he cannot gain the "draw!" benefit. He will have to sit in Jail for the following round unable to gain any new cards either.

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  1. if vera copy the pain's ability, what happen? who takes the card?

    1. Very interesting! Hadn't thought of that. That would almost definitely have to be a house rule there, since I can think of no good rule already in place that would solve this. Obviously, if one has six or more cards, it would go to the other one. If both are under six, perhaps it goes to the one with the lowest number of cards in their hand, and if tied, the one closest to the player, and if tied again, go clockwise around the table? That's pretty confusing, but would probably make the most sense thematically.

  2. what if Suzy Lafayette lose all of her cards and she draw an othet. John will take it and Suzy will draw again. :) It will loop till John does not have 6 cards? :)

    1. No, no, you mix up drawing with "drawing!". Notice the "!" in the rules!
      At the start of your turn you draw 2 cards. When Suzy Lafayette has no cards in hand, she draws a card. When you draw, you add the card to your hand. John Pain gets none of these cards.
      When you have a Barrel and get shot at, you "draw!". When you want to get out of Jail, you "draw!". When you "draw!", the drawn card is discarded. You don't add it to your hand.
      Very important detail. The difference between draw and "draw!"! ;)

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