Sunday, September 25, 2011

Design: Playing Card Stats

Following up on the OO/Excel spreadsheets I created for character abilities, I have created spreadsheets for the playing cards in BANG!. This should be useful for modders, who want to think about what card types/values are used (and for balancing), as well as players of BANG!, helping them recognize card type trends and card count. As with the previous spreadsheets, I have tried to be very meticulous in my descriptions of the cards. The statistics include BANG!, Dodge City, Robbers' Roost orange module (RRO), Robbers' Roost purple module (RRP), and Robbers' Roost complete (RR). It does not cover any of the event cards, such as those is A Fistful of Cards, High Noon, and Wild West Show.

The spreadsheet contains the following information on playing cards:
  • Card Names.

  • Expansion included in.

  • Color.

  • Card Type. There are 19 types that I broken the cards into: Basic Attacks, Special Attacks (like Duel, Indians!), Defensive, Life Point Modifiers, Discard, Steal, Draw, Gun, Offensive Sight Modifiers, Defensive Sight Modifiers, Random Damage (Dynamite), Turn Skipper (Jail), Perma-Defensive (Barrel), Duel Modifier (Standoff), Special Defensive, Disabler, Special Steal, Passer, and Swapper.

  • Value Trend. This tales you if cards with a specific name tend to have a certain suit, color, and/or number value. For instance, "Cat Balou" tend to be higher-valued diamonds. With some cards I note percentages where suits are heavily split. So I note BANG! are 38% clubs/45% diamonds, and Missed! are 38% clubs/54% spades. This can be useful for a modder in the following ways: (1) When adding cards to balance the new cards he introduces to BANG!, he can be given a good idea of what values he should assign; (2) When adding new cards that are a similar type to cards in BANG!, he is given a starting point for assigning a value them. For players this can be useful in considering, for instance, what cards Apache Kid is immune to.

  • Values. This column provides in an itemized manner the values of cards with the same name. NOTE: BANG! and Dodge City values are not separated here. If this is desired, I can split them into another column.

  • RR Values. This column provides in an itemized manner the values of cards with the same name in the RR expansion. I recognized that many modders would not want these values included in the BANG!+DC values. This would help them create their own modules. On the other hand, I wanted to include the values to (1) show how RR integrates into BANG!, and also (2) provide the resources for making modules compatible with RR. I hope the BANG! Community will aim at compatibility amongst its modding projects.

  • Range. This column explains at what distance seen a card can be played. When it is played on one's self specifically, I give it a value of "N/A." When it applies to any player seen at distance 1, I give it "1." If it can reach within a distance (such as with Toss, Dive, or Push), I put "within [insert distance seen]." When it depends on the gun in play, I put down "Gun-based" (although it is of course modified by the offensive/defensive sight modifiers as well; gun-based is simply a lazy way of putting it). If it reaches all players, all players, or any player at any distance, I put down "Any."

  • Impacts. This column notes whom the played card impacts. This typically involves one of the following values: self, 1 player (which could include one self), 1 other player, 1 random player (for Dynamite), all other players, other players in a line of fire (for Cannon and Artillery), and all players. Sometimes it is a combination. For the orange and purple cards the impact value is more specific: attacking player, attacker, defending player, 1 other hit player (for Gaping Wound), player whose turn it is (Confiscate, Hit Me), and player with defensive sight modifier (for Track Down).

  • Activator. This column notes which agent makes the card playable: one self (like in Gatling), another (like in Missed!), or both (like in Beer: playable on your turn, or when you lose your last life point due to another player's attack).

  • Activating Event. The column describes the specific event that makes this card playable. Often, this is as simple as it being one's playing phase or one being the target of a basic attack. However, this can be more complicated, such as for last chance Beers. This is especially for orange cards, which can only be played at many specific events: when another player takes a hit, when a player targets another player with a basic or special attack, when a player plays a card to avoid an attack, when a player plays any card, another player's drawing phase, and so forth.

  • Extra Details. Several cards have extra details about them that are important to note. For instance, only 1 BANG! can be played during a playing phase by default. Beer have no effect if played when only 2 players remain. Jail cannot be played on the Sheriff. Some cards in both Dodge City and Robbers' Roost require discarding a card to play them (Springfield, Rag Time, Brawl, Bandage, Warpath, etc.). Wells Fargo, Stagecoach, Pay Day, and Hit Me activate Wild West Show event cards. In this column, I put in these extra details for playing cards. I also place the benefits of having a specific blue card in play here.

  • Outcome of Playing. This column explains what happens when the card is played. This is often just a breakdown of the text or symbols on the cards. Some other items are noted, such as when a gun comes into play it replaces any non-duplicate gun card already in play (if a duplicate, it could not come into play in the first place). I note the initial/latent effects for the purple cards here.

  • % Columns. The card data concludes with 6 columns breaking down the probability of drawing a specific card from a specific deck setup. For instance, there are 25 BANG! in the base game, so there is a 31.25% chance of drawing it from a complete 80-card base deck. These deck set ups can vary; hence, the 6 columns. However, in BANG! + Dodge City there are 29 BANG!, so there is a 24.20% chance of drawing a BANG! from a complete 120-card BANG! + Dodge City deck. Quite a difference, no? Since there are several deck setups, I created columns showing drawing probabilities for drawing a specific card in a deck setups for BANG!, BANG! + Dodge City, BANG! + Dodge City + Robbers' Roost orange module, BANG! + Dodge City + Robbers' Roost purple module, and BANG! + Dodge City + Robbers' Roost complete. The last column explains the reason for certain shifts of drawing probabilities in Robbers' Roost.

After the Card Data, I provided another tab for a little "Meta Card Data." This tab only provides 1 sources of information. First, it notes how many cards belong to specific types in the different deck setups. So in BANG!, there are 5 cards with unique names belonging to the gun card type. In BANG! + Dodge City + Robbers' Roost there are 7. Secondly, I note the probability of randomly drawing a certain type from a complete deck setup. The earlier card data probabilities only noted the chances of drawing a card with a specific name, like BANG!. This data notes the chances of drawing the type (like "basic attacks") from a complete deck. It explores the probabilities in the 5 different deck setups like before.

The hope is that this spreadsheet will enable you to both mod and play BANG! better. As with the character ability stats, I would love to get some feedback on this spreadsheet. It has taken a good chunk of time to put together, but I am sure there are typos, inconsistencies, and some poor labels. Feel free to post comments here.

Like before, I have made the spreadsheet available in both Open Office Calc and Microsoft Excel formats.


  1. I thought this Blog is good. Probably it's very good. Well done!

  2. I listed all the cards and only got 119, so I checked it twice, still 119...
    If you don't mind checking the deck for me, I'm having real trouble here.

  3. Eerie, I count only 28 bangs represented in the graph. When you clearly state 29 in your post and the percentage column coincides with this number. If you could tell me what the last bang is, that'd be great.

  4. Ugh! I will check through my BANG! cards and get with you on this. If you have already checked it, please let me know so I can make the correction.