Monday, February 28, 2011

Character Guide: Sid Ketchum

Sid Ketchum

Name: Sid Ketchum

Inspired by: Possibly Tom Ketchum, cowboy, cattle driver, train robber, and murderer hung in 1901 for attempting to rob a train. However, "Black Jack" was Tom Ketchum's nickname, and so seems to be Black Jack's nickname. It seems strange that Tom Ketchum inspired two characters. I am sure there were more Ketchums and Black Jacks that could have been the inspiration for these two.

Life Points: 4

Ability Type: Defensive

Ability: At any time, he may discard 2 cards from his hand to regain one life point. If he is willing and able, he can use this ability more than once at a time. The BANG! FAQ spells out that Sid Ketchum can use his ability out of turn: "Q26. Can Sid Ketchum use his ability even outside his turn, like a Beer card? A. Yes, he can."

Activation: Whenever Sid Ketchum has 2 cards in his hand and chooses to play them. These cards can be discarded even like a last second beer (See Emiliano Sciarra's discussion for this).

Cards enhanced by Sid Ketchum's ability: All cards except Beer, but especially Wells Fargo and Stagecoach

Card weakened by Sid Ketchum's ability: Beer (except in 2-player), Volcanic

Cards more effective when played against Sid Ketchum: Panic, Cat Balou (when targetting his hand), Jail

Cards less effective when played against Sid Ketchum: Duel, General Store

Characters who counter Sid Ketchum well: Jesse Jones

Ideal Roles for Sid Ketchum: Sheriff, Renegade

2-player Value: Okay. While it may seem very beneficial to still be able to gain life points when your opponent cannot from Beer cards, Sid Ketchum has to discard 2 cards to do so. Since Sid Ketchum will be the other player's only target, this may not be as useful as it seems. It can be good to get rid of cards in excess or cards that cannot otherwise be played (extra BANG! or Beer that can be played but has otherwise no effect), but it is far more limiting than before. It is only particularly useful if Sid Ketchum can create distance between himself and the other player. Sid Ketchum might try to use the cards as last second beers, and if he is not shot, use the ability when he gets more cards.

General Strategy as Sid Ketchum: As with many characters, the most important thing to do first as Sid Ketchum is to remember that he can use his ability whenever he has 2 cards in his hand. The ability to voluntarily discard cards is also very useful. Remember that each player can only have 1 card in play in front of him that has a given name. If he has another card with that name in his hand, then he cannot play it, so it is stuck in his hand unless he Cat Balous it from his own hand or he discards it when he is over his card limit. It is much better as Sid Ketchum to be able to discard this card to gain life points instead of just burning it. This is also true of Beer if Sid Ketchum survives until there is only 1 player left. Other players have to discard the card or use it with no effect, while Sid Ketchum can at least discard it to contribute to the cards needed to activate his ability. I enjoy having Sid Ketchum discard Saloon to gain health as well.

While Sid Ketchum has more "lasting power" due to his great defensive ability, I wouldn't draw too much attention to him. It is better to try to attack players who are in Sid Ketchum's range, but he is not in theirs. This way Sid Ketchum will only have to focus on using his ability when hit by "no-distance" cards such as Duel, Indians!, and Gatling. When it comes to Duel, it is often better for Sid Ketchum to just take the hit, unless he has a great chance of hitting the other opponent and he is not opening himself up for attacks from other players. Each BANG! card Sid Ketchum expends is essentially 1/2 a life point, and not having them in his hand for possible Indians! should really make him think twice before you play any of them. When a player next to Sid Ketchum attacks his, instead of responding back with aggresion if that player is in range, it can be a good idea to attack another player (which preferably cannot hit Sid Ketchum back). This will often surprise the initial player who attacked Sid Ketchum, and have make him wonder if he is on Sid Ketchum's team. I would only recommend doing this if there is another person that that player can target. Many times in BANG! we shoot at another player simply because we have excess BANG! cards and have only 1 player we can reach. Your confusion will probably not overcome this hurdle.

I wouldn't get too anxious to convert all of Sid Ketchum's cards to life points as soon as he can. Even cards that do not look (even are not) useful can be good to keep in Sid Ketchum's hand. Since other players do not know what those cards are, they create a sort of "imposing front" that may keep other characters from acting against Sid Ketchum. If Sid Ketchum removes all or most of the cards from his hand, then other players will have no problem attacking him. Keeping the cards in Sid Ketchum's hand is less problematic since he can play the cards at any time, even as less second beers. Of course, by keeping the cards in his hand Sid Ketchum is still taking a risk: perhaps a player will Cat Balou or Panic a card from his hand so that Sid Ketchum can no longer convert it. Such is BANG!

General Strategy against Sid Ketchum: When playing against Sid Ketchum, the main thing to do is to remember that his cards are his life points. Anything you can do to get him to expend his cards is in some sense taking away Sid Ketchum's life points. If he plays BANG! because of a Duel or an Indians! he has expended 1/2 a life point for each card. Thus, Cat Balous and Panics from his hand are very impactful, especially if the stolen card is an offensive card that you can use right back at him. Jails are very effective against Sid Ketchum as they keep him from replenishing cards during his drawing phase. Along these lines, you should be very careful when playing a General Store. If Sid Ketchum's health is low or you are trying to weaken him severely, you need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of giving Sid Ketchum another card. Oh, and as a good strategic rule (albeit not a kind one), I wouldn't remind Sid Ketchum when and how he can use his ability.

Besides this, Sid Ketchum is not the worst character to face one on one. The biggest difficulty is if you are stuck with Sid Ketchum and one of his team mates alone. Attacking Sid Ketchum is difficult because he can always burn the 2 cards he draws each turn to gain the life point you took away back, while his team mate shoots away at you. If you are stuck in this situation, for which I feel sorry for you, try to eliminate the more offensive character first and then try to deal with Sid Ketchum.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Death Mesa está Llegando en Español muy Pronto

Pani, un aficionado de BANG! y este blog, ha acceptado el trabajo de traducir Death Mesa en español. Estoy cierto que su aptitud es mejor que mi español infantil. Me ha contado que el ha traducido una mitad del manual, y imagino que despues traducirá las cartas. Como antes, proveeré las cartas en hojas de PDF. Cargaré los archivos en la red y pondré los enlaces en una página web.

Character Guide: Bart Cassidy

Name: Bart Cassidy.

Inspired by: Butch Cassidy, infamous leader of the Wild Bunch Gang, train robber, bank robber, and partner of the Sundance Kid.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Defensive.

Ability: Each time he loses a life point, he immediately draws a card from the deck.

Activation: When Bart Cassidy takes a hit.

Cards enhanced by Bart Cassidy's ability: Beer, Saloon, Missed!, Duel, Dynamite, Volcanic (somewhat).

Cards less effective when played against Bart Cassidy: Volcanic, all attack cards, Dynamite.

Characters who counter Bart Cassidy well: Jesse Jones.

Ideal Roles for Bart Cassidy: Sheriff, Renegade.

2-player Value: Not bad if you have some health by the time this occurs. Picking up some cards when you have to take hits at this point can be crucial in turning the tide on your opponent to win the game.

General Strategy as Bart Cassidy: The most basic thing to remember as Bart Cassidy is to remember his ability. When Bart Cassidy takes a hit, draw a card! You cannot expect the other players to tell you to do this. Besides Bart Cassidy's basic defensive benefit, you need to think of how to use it wisely. Bart Cassidy doesn't want to use it all of the time because having one less life point still means a greater constraint on his card limit. Thus, a great time for Bart Cassidy to take a hit is when he has a Beer card in his hand. He can immediately replenish the health lost and get an extra card--sweet! The drawn card can sometimes translate into a greater defensive (getting a Missed!, Beer, or Barrel card) or offensive position (it can be great to pick up a BANG! when Bart Cassidy has a Volcanic out after all). Even if Bart Cassidy doesn't have a Beer, there are also better times to take a hit rather than others. For instance, when another player plays a Duel against Bart Cassidy--he may not want to deplete tons of cards out of his hand just to not take a hit, when he will pick up a card from the hit anyway. Bart Cassidy's opponent may in addition have some Indians! stored up, and that can hurt if he depletes all of his BANG! I recommend trying to create distance from Bart Cassidy and other players, so that you only choose to take hits on "no distance" cards (Duels, Indians!, Gatling). On the flip side, certain cards like Duel and Dynamite are more advantageous for Bart Cassidy to play. Bart Cassidy may be able to afford the risk of dueling another player with 1 to no BANG! in his hand. Even if he loses the duel he initiates, he can still get a card draw. Oddly, maybe you could try to duel an opponent and lose it, just to try to pick up another BANG! to shoot at them with your Volcanic (they could have BANG! in their hand but no Missed! after all). If the Dynamite Bart Cassidy plays explodes on him, he still gets to draw 3 cards from the explosion (as long as Bart Cassidy has enough life points to survive the blast; he draws after losing the life points, not before).

General Strategy against Bart Cassidy: There are not many particularly specific strategies to effectively apply against Bart Cassidy. Since he is trying to store up Beer in his hand to have no eventual repercussions from taking hits, Cat Balouing, Panicking, or otherwise stealing/discard from his hand with a character ability (such as with Jesse Jones) can be a great idea. Also think of how to hurt his Beer acquisition. When a General Store is in play, it can be an especially good idea not to let Bart Cassidy pick it up if you can help it. Watch Bart Cassidy's life points closely: when Bart Cassidy's health is lower, Dynamite becomes safe to play because he will probably not survive the blast and so get no 3-card benefit from the lost life points. When you hit Bart Cassidy, you will need to try to hit him hard and not let him recover. Chances are that you will not be able to eliminate him too quickly in a round, as he has bound to pick up at least 1 Missed!, BANG!, or Beer, but team mates (if you have any) will need to try to focus fire on him to put him down.

Dodge City cards enhanced by Bart Cassidy's ability: Canteen, Whisky, Tequila.

Dodge City cards less effective when played against Bart Cassidy: All new attack cards (green and brown).

General Strategy Adjustments for Bart Cassidy: Bart Cassidy's strategy does not change too much with the addition of Dodge City. There are now some new brown and green cards to help him regain life points (Canteen, Whisky, Tequila), which can help him when he chooses to voluntarily take hits. The new green attack cards give him some time to prep for when his enemies have gained some fire power, which can also aid him in his decision making. Some of the new cards hit a player at any distance (Howitzer, Buffalo Rifle, Springfield), so Bart Cassidy (as before) has to be cautious with thinking that he can avoid hits solely through distance modifiers. Nonetheless, the new Hideout card could be handy to stack with a Mustang. Like usual, Bart Cassidy should try not to store up too many cards that regain life points in his hand as they can get easily discarded or stolen. The moment he loses a life point, he should try to regain it as quickly as possible to aid not only his card limit, but to keep that Beer (or similar card) from getting removed from him.

General Strategy Adjustments against Bart Cassidy: Your strategy against Bart Cassidy remains the same, you just have new cards to help you execute this strategy. Can Can, Conestoga, Brawl, and Rag Time can help you remove cards from Bart Cassidy's hand, and hopeful help you nab life point modifiers. You have many new attack cards under your belt to help you build offensive combos against Bart Cassidy, many of which are green cards. These cards have the unfortunate problem of warning Bart Cassidy a round in advance, so think about what you are communicating with those cards. If Bart Cassidy is out of range, you have a few new cards that hit players at any distance to help you. As with the original game, try to coordinate your attacks against Bart Cassidy with your team mates. Although he draws a card with each hit, there is a high chance that these cards are offensive, as they are the majority of the cards in the deck. This means that Bart Cassidy will have a lower card limit on his round, encouraging him to dump attack cards back at those who shot at him. So if you can knock him out before he gets to his turn, this is best.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Friday, February 25, 2011

El Dorado Expansion: Re-Released with New English Translation (Download Now!)

El Dorado was the first unofficial expansion for BANG!. It was designed by BANG! aficionado Jidan over at in 2006, and has been mentioned here and there since. In many ways, El Dorado was the spiritual ancestor to Wild West Show. El Dorado already conceived of how the event cards could be altered by the actions of a player. Instead of playing a Wells Fargo or Stagecoach to flip over the next event card, El Dorado had players either play or discard an Ace. El Dorado also added a new role into BANG!, but not one that was permanently passed out with the rest at the beginning of the game. The “Grave Digger” was a role that could be adopted by the first player who died when it, as an event card, was in play. The Grave Digger was met with mixed reviews, but it was definitely a staple of El Dorado.

An English translation of El Dorado was put together by Rangi in 2006, and the expansion used art from the western film, Lemonade Joe. It even came with a classy tuck box! While it allowed English players to fiddle with El Dorado, much of the language was confusing, using terms such as “random distance” for instance. Some cards could not be understood, and others left huge holes in the gameplay. While Jidan answered a few of the questions English players had, many were not addressed, and he has long since abandoned updating El Dorado. However, before doing so he updated the Czech version with both new art and some new cards.

In an effort to make El Dorado more accessible to English speakers, I reinterpreted and rephrased the old El Dorado text. It should now be wasy to understand all the cards. Where there were conceptual holes in some of the event cards before, I have filled them in with my own interpretations and from what I have been able to garner from Jidan’s comments at I have also updated the English version with the updated art from Jidan’s czech version. Two examples of this are below: the old version is on the left, the revised version on the right.

Besides this, I have also taken the liberty to change certain cards. I felt that certain cards, such as Desperados and Cavalry, unacceptably allowed for players to flip their role cards over. I think that having to trust that your deductions are correct is crucial to the core of BANG! and so I altered them to no longer involve revealing roles. Nonetheless, I tried to capture the essence of such cards, providing ways in which the Sheriff still benefited from Cavalry, and players who shot at the Sheriff benefited from Desperados. While I would have removed Winifred from the El Dorado deck, Jidan already did so in the Czech version. Thus, I included “Hold Up” instead. I confess that I was not able to understand the Czech on this card the best, despite consulting dictionaries, but I think I came to an acceptable altenative to the original. Finally, on the forums there was some discussion of problems with “Grave Digger.” The first was the problem of players trying to die quickly to become the Grave Digger.

The second problem was the difficulty of determining what should occur when a Deputy, the Grave Digger, and the Sheriff remained in the game. Some have suggested removing Grave Digger from the game because of these problems, but I think he is a special element of El Dorado that should remain. I have tried to deal with this challenges in a satisfactory way in the rules below.

I hope that you will enjoy this re-release and retranslation of El Dorado. If you enjoyed Wild West Show, A Fistful of Cards, or High Noon, I am sure that you will find that El Dorado is up your alley! It is also easier to produce--it doesn’t really matter if event cards are on any nice card stock or not. If there are any improvements you think I can make to the English translation, or you note any other conceptual problems, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment here at The BANG! Blog or by writing me at


El Dorado Guidebook

El Dorado Card Sheet #1

El Dorado Card Sheet #2

El Dorado Backs Card Sheet

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Character Guide: Rose Doolan

Name: Rose Doolan

Inspired by: None known; Bill “Doolin” was the founder of the famous Wild Bunch gang, but it is not clear that Rose Doolan has any connection to Bill.

Life Points: 4

Ability Type: Offensive

Ability: Rose Doolan is considered to have an Scope (Appaloosa in older versions) in play at all times; she sees the other players at a distance decreased by 1. If she has another real Scope in play, she can count both of them, reducing her distance to all other players by a total of 2.

Activation: Continuous, but surmountable

Cards enhanced by Rose Doolan’s ability: Panic!, BANG!, Volcanic, Scope/Apaloosa

Cards less effective when played against Rose Doolan: Mustang

Characters Rose Doolan counters well: Paul Regret

Ideal Roles for Rose Doolan: Outlaw, Deputy

2-player Value: Not great. You can still reach your opponent if they grab a Mustang (which is nice), but besides that, your ability isn’t useful.

General Strategy as Rose Doolan: Rose Doolan’s main benefit is that she can reach further than other players. To translate this into a player strategy: Rose Doolan should shoot at those who cannot shoot at her. This works especially well early game when other players do not have guns, and when there are more players in the game. Anyway, this main strategy will require gun control on behalf of Rose Doolan: getting a gun that has a good range, keeping guns (and the Scope/Appaloosa) out of the hands of those further away from Rose Doolan, and getting a Mustang to increase her distance from others as well. Stealing a Mustang should be easier for Rose Doolan than others, because she is the only person who can Panic it from her neighbors without a scope. Rose Doolan can also Panic from neighbors two distance away from her, and unless they have a scope, they cannot Panic the card she stole back. So generally Rose Doolan should shoot and steal from those who are in her range, but for whom she is not in theirs; that way Rose Doolan can pick them off and not be attacked herself. She can do an excellent job of this once she gets a Volcanic, as it immediately has a range of 2. Hopefully Rose Doolan’s next door neighbors will be at peace with her and let her shoot over their heads. She shouldn’t provoke them unless it is absolutely necessary. If Rose Doolan is an outlaw, she should not be too greedy with getting a gun in the General Store and leave it for a teammate if possible. If it leaves her open to attack, she may wish to grab it herself anyway, but getting a teammate to help with targeting the Sheriff is crucial.

General Strategy against Rose Doolan: Rose Doolan is not the most difficult of opponents to confront. If you are directly next to her, she would have been able to hit you anyway (likely, unless you have a Mustang), so then her ability has no real advantage. Thus, if you are right next to her and she is an opponent you should be in a superior position. Try to get guns in the hands of players that are further away from her, and Cat Balou any mustang she might try to obtain herself. It will be harder to know if Rose Doolan is your enemy if she shoots right over your head when you are next to her. If Rose Doolan attacks one of your known teammates then you will have a good idea. If you are further away from Rose Doolan and she is attacking you, try to get a gun to reach her, add some distance between you with a Mustang, and make sure to keep more Missed! in hand than usual. Her range really only helps for BANG! and Panic; the latter you can’t avoid, but the BANG! you can prepare for with more Missed!.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Robbers' Roost: More New Characters for the week

NOTE: Now that RR has gone through significant revisions, all these characters except Maggie Mae have been eliminated. This post is kept here for historical purposes (tracking RR's development) alone. For the characters actually in the RR expansion, go the official page.

As I mentioned that I probably would, I have some new characters to introduce this week. One is pretty different (Gunplay Maxwell), and I hope you will enjoy it: his ability is unlocked based on his gun range in comparison to another person's gun range. Besides him, the other 2 characters' art is not my own. I just found these sketches online (and I thought they fit the BANG! style enough), so don't give me credit for them! I hope you will notice that I have added a lot of female characters to BANG! They were a little lacking in the original game and its expansions. And the discerning reader to my Robbers' Roost characters may have noticed that all of my characters are actually based upon real historical outlaws, lawmen, horse stealers, etc., or on some pun (such as "Loan Arranger" for the Lone Ranger), or on some Western actor (Charleston Heston for Charlton Heston). I'll give their inspirations when I finally get to doing Robbers' Roost character guides, but Dodge City, Wild West Show, and the Bullet characters have precedence there (not to mention the original game characters that I am still plowing away on). Anyway, I hope you'll like these new characters.

Gunplay Maxwell Robber's Roost Character
Gunplay Maxwell. 4 Life Points. Whenever he plays a BANG! against a player who has a gun with a greater range than his, that player cannot play or use any spades or hearts to avoid his attack (this nullifies successful Barrel "draws!").

Bella Siddons Robber's Roost Character
Bella Siddons. 3 Life Points. Whenever she has less than 2 cards in play in front of her, she may discard a card from her hand to draw the blue or green card from the discard deck that is closest to the bottom. This card can immediately be brought into play.

Maggie Mae Robber's Roost Character
Maggie Mae. 3 Life Points. If the second card she draws is red, she may swap a card in play in front of her for a card in play in front of another player. She must show that the second card that she drew was red immediately if she wishes to use this ability (she does not need to show the card, only its suit).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Robbers' Roost: Additional Green Cards

NOTE: Now that RR has gone through significant revisions, most of these cards have been eliminated. Artillery remains as a green card, while Pay Day, On the House, and Show Time have become purple cards (with some changes). This post is kept here for historical purposes (tracking RR's development) alone. For the cards actually in the RR expansion, go the official page.

Robbers' Roost will add several new green cards to the deck (14 total). Many of these will already come from Dodge City, but half are new. Those I will introduce today.

Pay Day Robber's Roost Card
Pay Day. Draw 2 cards from the deck. All other players draw 1 card.

Charm Robber's Roost Card
Charm. Play this card to avoid any card played against you.

On the House Robber's Roost Card
On the House. Gain 2 life points. All other players gain 1.

The Flop Robber's Roost Card
The Flop. Reveal 3 cards from the top of the deck. All players may choose 1 or 2 cards from their hand to complete the flop and make the best poker hand; these cards are to be placed face down in front of them. When all players have decide whether or not they are going to participate (and the participants have selected their cards), all participants reveal the 2 cards they selected. The player with the best hand wins the cards in the flop. The other cards are returned to each player's hand.

Show Time Robber's Roost Card
Show Time. Discard a card from all other players.

Artillery Robber's Roost Card
Artillery. BANG! all characters within a line of fire. In other words, select a player who you wish to be the end point of an attack. Select a direction from which to attack him (from your right or your left). All players up until that end point are banged! As you can imagine, Artillery can function as a Gatling as you wish: just select the end point to be the player immediately to your left or right, and then have the attack proceed from the opposite direction.

Face Off Robber's Roost Card
Face Off. Duel.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Robbers' Roost: Another Day for New Characters

NOTE: Now that RR has gone through significant revisions, all these characters have been eliminated. However, Madam Moustache may reappear late. This post is kept here for historical purposes (tracking RR's development) alone. For the characters actually in the RR expansion, go the official page.

I introduced some new characters to Robbers' Roost yesterday, and will do so again today (and perhaps later on this week). Behold 3 new ones! 1 (Eva Place) is based on an earlier Boot Hill character with some modifications.

Eva Place Robber's Roost Character
Eva Place. 4 Life Points. Instead of "draw!" she may play a card in her hand as the effect of "draw!" She may also "draw!" first, and if the result is undesirable she can play a card in her hand as the effect of "draw!" but must discard another card with it (from her hand or in front of her).

James Reed Robber's Roost Character
James Reed. 4 Life Points. Once a round he may call the name of a card during another player's drawing phase. If that player has that card in his hand, he must give 1 to him.

Madam Mustache Robber's Roost Character
Madam Mustache. 4 Life Points. When she is about to have card stolen or discarded from her hand, in play in front of her, or from amongst her orange cards, she chooses which card to lose, but it must be from the area originally selected (ie, from her hand, in play in front of her, or amongst her orange cards).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Robbers' Roost: A New Set of Characters

NOTE: Now that RR has gone through significant revisions, all these characters except Sherry Scott (now Anne Rogers). This post is kept here for historical purposes (tracking RR's development). For the characters actually in the RR expansion, go the official page.

While I have posted many of the Robbers' Roost characters, I have many more still to add. Characters are one of those easy, yet fun things, to add to the BANG! game. Easy at least in terms of conceiving of them and producing them; balancing is always a different story. Anyway, I have gotten back to drawing new characters for your enjoyment.

York Kelly Robber's Roost CharacterYork Kelly. 4 Life Points. He may use two BANG! to shoot all players within the range of his gun. This "ranged" gatling does not contribute to his 1 BANG! limit per turn.Sherry Scott Robber's Roost CharacterSherry Scott. 4 Life Points. At the start of her turn, she can select 1 blue card in play in front of a player and copy its benefit, so that it is as if she possesses the card. At the start of her next turn, this ability disappears.Cort Boudreaux Robber's Roost CharacterCort Boudreaux. 4 Life Points. At the start of his turn, if the card on top of the discard deck is a club, he may draw an extra card; a spade, he may discard a card from a player's hand; a heart, after his drawing phase he may discard 2 Missed! to gain 1 life point; a diamond, after his drawing phase he may give a card from his hand to any other player.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Character Guide: Jesse Jones

Jesse Jones

Edit (3/29/12):: Added Dodge City info.

Character Name: Jesse Jones.

Inspired by: Jesse James, American outlaw, leader of the James-Younger Gang, bank robber, murderer, and train robber.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Neutral.

Ability: "During phase 1 of his turn, he may choose to draw the first card from the deck, or randomly from the hand of any other player. Then he draws the second card from the deck."

Activation: During his drawing phase -- first card.

Cards enhanced by Jesse Jones' ability: Panic!, Cat Balou, attack cards.

Cards more effective when played against Jesse Jones: Jail.

Ideal Roles for Jesse Jones: Good for all.

Characters Jesse Jones counters well: Pedro Ramirez, Calamity Janet, El Gringo, Bart Cassidy, Black Jack, Kit Carlson, and Sid Ketchum.

2-player value: Excellent, you can steal fire power and defensive cards from your opponent. However, your opponent can cleverly store up useless Beer in his hand, weakening your steal ability to some extent.

General Strategy for Jesse Jones: Jesse Jones' ability really makes him a thorn in the side of his opponents: Jesse Jones can steal stashed away Beer, Missed!, Cat Balous, and Panics. The flip side of this is that many other players will hate Jesse Jones and often attack him first (whether they perceive a threat or not). Thus, be selective when using Jesse Jones' ability at the beginning of the game; you don't want to reveal your role too soon or make unnecessary enemies (if Jesse Jones uses his ability on the Sheriff too early as an Outlaw it can be really hard for his team mates to be prepared). Early on, I recommend stealing from characters who cannot reach Jesse Jones, and often the further away the better. Even if they intensely hate him for it, chances are they will not be able to retaliate against Jesse Jones. Once he decides to use his ability to really hurt others instead of annoy them, he should remember to use his ability in conjunction with vicious card combos (Indians!-BANG!, Duel-BANG!, Duel-Indians!-BANG!). When he steals from them, Jesse Jones will hopefully remove the card that could protect against his other cards. Adjust what cards that Jesse Jones would play against them according to the card that he stole from them. If you are Jesse Jones' ally, it is a good idea to target the characters whom he steals cards from, as they will likely have less defenses. If you are being defensive as Jesse Jones, then thug cards from players that are attacking you in hopes of depleting their ammo.

Playing against Jesse Jones: Since Jesse Jones' ability activates during his drawing phase, Jails are more effective against him. As with El Gringo, sometimes (although very rarely) it can be a good idea to deplete your cards before Jesse Jones' turn. If Jesse Jones is against you, he will no longer get to draw any cards from you on his turn. The problem is that you are now wide open for attacks, so weigh out the pros and cons well. If Jesse Jones has targetted you, be careful which cards you stash in your hand. You usually need at least both a BANG! and a Missed! in your hand for purely defensive purposes (fend off BANG!, Indians!), but other cards are not as necessary. When Jesse Jones is in play, don't store up those Cat Balou, Panic!, Indians!, Gatling or even Volcanic like you used to. Play those blue cards, as he can't steal cards from in front of you; only from your hand. If he is stealing from you, Beers can be very risky to keep in your hand too (although they are a pleasure to keep in your hand if you are stuck with Jesse Jones in a two-player standoff; he steals a beer and they don't do him any good). I recommend trying to keep your hand with BANG! and Missed by your discard phase. That way if Jesse Jones steals from you, you still have some defensive measures in place.

Pay very close attention to the cards that Jesse Jones is stealing from you and see if they are played/discarded. If they are not, you can begin to get a good idea of what cards are in Jesse Jones' hand, and from there, you can deduce the cards that you need to play to defeat him. If you have an intelligent ally that is getting stolen from, try to repeat the actions that he is using against Jesse Jones, as he will likely be employing this strategy (unless he is just trying to stay alive, which is often also the case!).

Dodge City cards enhanced by Jesse Jones' ability: Can Can, Conestoga, Brawl, Rag Time, the new attack cards.

Dodge City Characters that Jesse Jones Counters Well: Doc Holyday (Depletes his capacity to convert 2 cards to a BANG!), Tequila Joe (Nabbing his stored up Beer can seriously hurt him), Bill Noface (He somewhat neutralizes his card benefit), to some extent Apache Kid (Hurts his ability to store up non-diamonds that could hurt him), Elena Fuente (He removes 1 card she can use as a Missed! before attacking her), to some extent Molly Stark (By removing cards she can play out of turn from her hand, he keeps her from getting a card benefit), and to some extent Pat Brennan (Pulling cards from his hand puts pressure on him not to use his ability to steal a card in play).

General Strategy Adjustments for Jesse Jones: There are not many strategy adjustments for Jesse Jones in Dodge City. The same general rules apply: think about how using your ability could reveal your role, use the card you steal from a player to determine what action you could take against him that could cause maximal damage, and chain your ability with other steal or discard cards to severely weaken a player. As for the latter, Dodge City does provide you with both more Panic!/Cat Balou and new cards such as Brawl, Rag Time, Can Can, and Conestoga, so use those to your advantage.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Robbers' Roost: Calamity Cards

NOTE: Now that RR has gone through significant revisions, all these cards have been eliminated. This post is kept here for historical purposes (tracking RR's development) alone. For the characters actually in the RR expansion, go the official page.

In the spirit of Jail/Prison in the original BANG!, Robbers' Roost will contain a series of "calamity" blue cards that can be played on other players to weaken them on their next turn (or the whole round). You play most as you would Jail, but many of them do not require any "draw!" Some of the "calamity cards" you can see below, and a few resemble event/scenario cards in A Fistful of Cards or High Noon.

Poison Robber's Roost Card
Poison. Until your next turn, whenever the target player is the target of a card or ability that can increase his life points, "draw!" If black, no life points are regained.

Handcuffed Robber's Roost Card
Handcuffed. Play in front of another player. Until your next turn, this player cannot use or utilize cards in play in front of him.

Distracted Robber's Roost Card
Distracted. Play in front of another player. At the beginning of that player's next turn, "draw!" If hearts, discard Distracted and play normally. Else that player can only use and play cards that affect the player who laid Distracted. Discard Distracted at the end of this turn.

Bound Robber's Roost Card
Bound. Until your next turn, a target player cannot put cards in play in front of them or use their orange cards. Discard on your next turn.

Drunken Haze Robber's Roost Card
Drunken Haze. Until your next turn, a target player must lay 2 BANG! to shoot another player or to avoid Indians! Discard on your next turn.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Robbers' Roost: New Blue Cards to Enhance Gaining or Retaining Cards

NOTE: Now that RR has gone through significant revisions, all these cards have been eliminated. Too many blue cards were seen to bog down the game and benefit Mr. Delgado far too much. They may reappear sometime in the future as "accessory cards." This post is kept here for historical purposes (tracking RR's development) alone. For the characters actually in the RR expansion, go the official page.

Following up on my last post on new guns in Robbers' Roost, I thought I would introduce some of the other blue cards that will be introduced into Robber's Roost. I'll probably do this over three posts. Today, I will show blue cards that provide benefits in terms of gaining or retaining cards.

Ammo Belt Robber's Roost Card
Ammo Belt. Increases the maximum amount of cards you can hold (your card limit) by 1. NOTE: There will be 2 of these in the Robbers' Roost expansion.

Cowboy Boots Robber's Roost Card
Cowboy Boots. All your Missed! count as Dodge (you draw a card from the deck whenever you play a Missed! card in response to an attack).

Hammock Robber's Roost Card
Hammock. If you don't play or use any cards during your turn, draw a card at the end of your discard phase.

Lucky Dice Robber's Roost Card
Lucky Dice. If your second card drawn is a club, you may show it to draw another card.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Robbers' Roost: 4 New Guns

NOTE: Now that RR has gone through significant revisions, the Colt Lightning and Robert Wheeler have been eliminated. Only the Bulldog and James Dougall remain in a modifed form. This post is kept here for historical purposes (tracking RR's development) alone. For the cards actually in the RR expansion, go the official page.

Now that I have finished the Alpha release of Death Mesa, which I hope many will enjoy (as well as critique and improve), I can return to working on Robbers' Roost. I have already shown the orange cards that will be added, and many of the characters I am suggesting to add to the game, but I have not shown any of the blue, green, and brown cards I also think could be fun to add to the game. Today, I wanted to share the 4 guns I plan on adding to the BANG! deck. There would only be one of each of these guns in the deck. All but 1 have special abilities, while the 1 has a limitation that I think you might find interesting.

Colt Lightning
Colt Lightning. 2-5 Range. You cannot shoot any player you see at distance 1.

James Dougall
James Dougall. 1 Range. 2 Missed! must be played to avoid BANG! fired from this gun.

Bulldog. 2 Range. Discard 2 BANG! to Gatling.

Robert Wheeler
Robert Wheeler. 1 Range. You may play 2 BANG!, but they must be shot at the same target.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Death Mesa (Alpha Version) Officially Released

Death Mesa Expansion
As promised, Death Mesa (Alpha Version) is officially ready for release! I have updated the cards, the Death Mesa page, and Death Mesa Guidebook to incorporate new changes that I have made. The expansion is available in one large 8 megabyte zip file, or as a series of 9 PDFs. Download according to your preference. I recommend downloading the Guidebook first to determine your production method, and from thereon downloading the files that you need. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this expansion, and I hope that the quality of it will gear you up for Robber's Roost!

Death Mesa Screenshot of Card Sheets 1

Download the Death Mesa Expansion (Alpha Version) now.

For those who download and play with Death Mesa, please give me some feedback on the expansion, so that I can consider how to improve it for future releases. You can simply post your feedback on this post, or e-mail me.

Death Mesa Screenshot of Card Sheets 2

While Death Mesa is currently only available in English, I am considering a Spanish translation (and perhaps an Italian translation) for the future. Devuelve en el futuro para la traducción!

Death Mesa Screenshot of Inside the Guidebook

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Character Guide: Vulture Sam

Character Name: Vulture Sam.

Inspired by: Some outlaw gangs were referred to as "vultures," suggesting their tendency to scavenge, pillage and steal other's loot.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Neutral.

Ability: "Whenever a character is eliminated from the game, Sam takes all the cards that player had in his hand and in play, and adds them to his hand."

Activation: When another player dies, and has cards in play in front of them and/or in their hand.

Cards enhanced by Vulture Sam's ability: Dynamite, all attack cards (killing hits bring a greater reward).

Ideal Roles for Vulture Sam: Sheriff, Renegade (Vulture needs to survive to use his ability).

Characters who counter Vulture Sam well: Offensive characters who target him right away (Slab the Killer, Willy the Kid).

2-player value: It depends on your initial setup when the 2-player fight begins. If you gained a good card base from the eliminated players up to that point, then yes; if not, you are at a severe disadvantage.

General Strategy for Vulture Sam: As Vulture Sam needs other players with cards to die for him to gain them, Vulture Sam needs to outlive his opponents to benefit. And the more players in the game, the more potential cards Vulture Sam can scavenge from their deaths (so he is typically better in larger games). Thus, Vulture Sam's initial goal should be create a defensive base: get out a Barrel through drawing or stealing one, gather Missed!, Beer, and make sure to have a BANG! in hand at all times to avoid hits from Indians! Vulture Sam should try to get a Mustang, and use Cat Balous/Panics to control his distance from other players by affecting their gun cards. As other characters lose health (2 or less), Vulture Sam may wish to switch to an offensive base. This is especially true if he is not an Outlaw. Vulture Sam should try to get an attack combo (consisting of some mix of Duel, BANG!, Indians!, Gatling) and then pop off the other player in hopes that he is an Outlaw. That way Vulture Sam gets both their cards and the 3 card bonus. Even if Vulture Sam is an outlaw, it is nice to get their cards a little bit sooner. Vulture Sam will usually get some blue cards that he can use right away. While the 3 card bonus is useful, unless Vulture Sam has a Volcanic he will often have to discard some of his bonus cards. If there are several players with lower health, Vulture Sam should target the player that is his enemy, or an ally who will not survive (whose usefulness is expended), who also has cards in play in front of him that Vulture Sam could benefit more from (a Mustang, or Scope, for instance, or a gun with a specific range or ability like a Volcanic).

After Vulture Sam has eliminated a player, he should try to switch back some to a defensive base (as long as their are other players shooting at each other), as attention will be drawn to him now that he has gained so many cards. Once another player's life is down, Vulture Sam can switch again to the offensive and get their cards. I recommend throwing out Dynamite as Vulture Sam has little chance of being hit by it, and if it blows up on another player, there is a high chance of that player dying and giving Vulture Sam a lot of cards. Players that die from Dynamite tend not to have already expended all of the cards in their hands, and so Vulture Sam can get a much greater reward from their deaths. As a quick aside, Vulture Sam does not pick up the Dynamite in front of a player when it explodes and kills them. The BANG! FAQ specifies,
Q14. If the Dynamite explodes eliminating a player, does the character Vulture Sam draw the Dynamite along with all other cards of the player eliminated?
A. No. To complete the effect of the Dynamite you have to discard it after it explodes. So when Vulture Sam gets all the cards of the player killed, the Dynamite is already in the discard pile.

Even if Vulture Sam is a Sheriff and kills his Deputy with the Dynamite, he is not seen as culpable and so gains all of the Deputy's cards (so while not the best scenario, it is better for Vulture Sam than it would be for other character Sheriffs). Vulture Sam does need to worry about killing his Deputy with other cards, however. He does not get to kill them accidentally, discard his cards, and then pick up their cards. He draws their cards and then all of his are discarded. There is no "easy way out" for killing the Deputy this way. The BANG! FAQ explains:
Q18. If Vulture Sam eliminates a Deputy, as a Sheriff, does he discard all his cards before or after getting the cards of the Deputy just eliminated?
A. First Vulture Sam gets all the cards from the Deputy just eliminated. Then, he discards all of his cards (which now include the cards just obtained from that Deputy).

As players get eliminated, Vulture Sam should become very powerful and get a Volcanic. Eventually, there will not be many players to snatch cards from anymore, and Vulture Sam will need to make a pretty aggressive transition. By using the cards he gets with a Volcanic, he should be able to start knocking out other players. If Vulture Sam can chain their deaths and get card pick ups, he should be very well fortified and have a good stock of ammo. Vulture Sam needs to make sure if he gets down to 2 players left, then he needs to have a strong base, because if you doesn't, his ability can no longer help him. Vulture Sam becomes a character without an ability, which can be very dangerous in 2-player.

Playing against Vulture Sam: Excluding any really small games (and you may wish to even then), kill Vulture Sam first (or at least very early on). At least shoot at him, and don't let Vulture Sam "turtle up" and then switch to an offensive mode when another player's health is low (Duels are good for this). If not, always pay attention to the cards in play in front of other players whose health is getting low. You know that if/when they die, those cards will by default go to Vulture Sam. If one of those cards is really dangerous (ie, a Volcanic) try to Cat Balou those cards promptly before their death so that Vulture Sam does not get it. Vulture Sam can have quite the onslaught if he gets those cards and a card bonus in conjunction with a Volcanic. He can be a killing machine that racks up more and more cards if you are not careful. Although this is not typically done, you may wish to Cat Balou or Panic (and then discard) a Dynamite if it is in play, as chances are it will not explode on Vulture Sam and then significantly advantage him when it kills another player. If Vulture Sam does pick up a bunch of cards, try to Jail him when he is strong, and try to play cards that will deplete his stronghold in between his turns (Indians!, Cat Balou, BANG!, Panic). This is absolutely necessary when the amount of living players is low. Knock him down to have few advantageous cards, and if you two end up being the only left, he is now at the disadvantage (even if you have about the same card base). For now he has no character ability and you have one (that is hopefully useful in 2-player gameplay). As long as he does not get really lucky with his cards, and you play with yours right, you should have a good chance of beating him and winning the game.

Dodge City Characters that Counter Vulture Sam Well: Pat Brennan (His ability to steal crucial cards from Vulture Sam and players before they die can be really rough), Belle Star (Vulture Sam cannot turtle against her), to some extent Herb Hunter (He is less vulnerable to Vulture Sam upon a player's death, since he also draws 2 cards).

Vera Custer and Vulture Sam: The Dodge City FAQ explains what occurs when a player is eliminated when both Vulture Sam and Vera Custer are in play, and Vera Custer had copied Vulture Sam's ability:
Q03. If Vera Custer has currently the same ability of Vulture Sam and another player is eliminated, who takes his cards?
A. The cards of the eliminated player must be divided between Vera Custer and Vulture Sam. Who among Vera and Sam is next to the killed character, in clockwise order, chooses the first card (either randomly from the hand of the killed character, or among her “in play” cards). Then, the other one takes another card, and so on, until all cards of the eliminated player have been distributed between the two.

General Strategy Adjustments for Vulture Sam: The Dodge City expansion is generally favorable towards Vulture Sam. The green cards help further the turtling up strategy used in the regular game. Now, he can play the green cards in front of him, helping build both defenses and an offensive arsenal. There are other helpful cards in the expansion too, such as Hideout and Binoculars. Like before, Vulture Sam should not try to draw attention to himself. He should try to let the other players do the fighting, and prep himself with a good offensive combo. Then, when a player is really weak, he should pop out and try to take the kill. With Dodge City, Vulture Sam might also be able to grab a few more cards when players are eliminated. The green cards, not subject to the card limit when in play in front of players, are transferred to Vulture Sam on the event of their owner's demise. They may have been played before the player's death, but there is at least some chance that he will get them. After all, most of the green cards take a round to activate. After gaining the spoils of a kill, Vulture Sam should judge whether or not it is worth trying to mow down another player, or if he should relax again and turtle up. This may not work well once people see how much of a threat he is. As a last thing to point out, the probability of drawing Dynamite is up with Dodge City, so try to get Dynamite in play.

General Strategy Adjustments against Vulture Sam: Few things change for the Vulture Sam's rival in Dodge City. You simply have new cards to execute what you were doing before. Use the new stealing and discarding cards to weaken Vulture Sam's card base if he is able to build it up. Use offensive combos to knock him out early in the game, or when his card supply runs low. The green cards can be to your favor and against you with Vulture Sam. If a player has green cards left over when he is eliminated, then those cards go to Vulture Sam. On the flipside, they help protect you from elimination and from Vulture Sam if he guns at you after picking cards up. There is another Dynamite in Dodge City to watch out for, so try to remove it from play without it exploding on someone.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Character Guide: Black Jack

Black Jack

Character Name: Black Jack.

Inspired by: "Black Jack" Ketchum, member of the Hole in the Wall Gang.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Neutral.

Ability: "during phase 1 of his turn, he must show the second card he draws: if it’s Heart or Diamonds (just like a 'draw!'), he draws one additional card (without revealing it)."

Activation: During his drawing phase.

Cards enhanced by Black Jack's ability: Duel, Volcanic.

Cards more effective when played against Black Jack: Prison.

Ideal Roles for Black Jack: Good for all.

Characters who counter Black Jack well: Jesse Jones.

2-player value: Decent if you have some health. 50% turns you will get more cards, but with your opponent knowing one of your cards at this juncture in the game, it can be really bad too.

General Strategy for Black Jack: With drawing 1 more card approximately 50% of your turns Black Jack can store up more cards he needs, as well as play more cards. Depending on Black Jack's role, he may want to gather a more defensive or offensive blue card base (and offensive combos) before he attacks (if the other players don't make him respond immediately). Then Black Jack can store up for a Volcanic, wait for when he draws a lot of bang during a draw phase and then unleash the fury on a weaker opponent. Since the second card in Black Jack's hand is shown to his opponents, unless he has a good reason for storing it, I often would have him play it to show that the revealed knowledge gain from having to show it was not as valuable. They would have known anyway. They can do unfortunate things with that knowledge--Black Jack doesn't want an Indians! panicked from his hand. Similarly, if Black Jack is over his card limit and the card shown wasn't that useful, he should discard it so that his opponents don't learn anything else about his hand.

Playing against Black Jack: Since Black Jack's ability activates during his drawing phase, Jails are more effective against him, as well as cards or abilities that snatch cards from Black Jack's hand. You may want to attack Black Jack early on, so he does not start building up card combos or create a strong card base. Put Black Jack on the defensive so he can't easily set up a stronghold and try to overwhelm you. Duels early on are nice, as well as Indians!, especially when you are dealing with a defensive Black Jack. Pay attention to the second card that Black Jack must show every drawing phase--it tells you one of the cards in his hand, and can let you know how effective a variety of actions can be against him--Indians!, duel, BANG!, Panic, Cat Balou, etc. This showing is even more useful to you when Black Jack has almost no cards in his hand, from depleting his cards or being restrained by his card limit. Of course, it is also better when the second card shown is black (clubs or spades) for then you know a higher share of his hand.

Dodge City Characters that Counter Black Jack Well: Belle Star (the extra card Black Jack gains to play in front of him won't do him any good on her turn)

General Strategy Adjustments: Dodge City makes Black Jack a better character I believe, and this is because he has many new cards (especially the green cards) that he can play in front of him. This allows Black Jack to build a stronger base before pursuing his objectives and before his opponents will likely attack him. When he draws 3 cards, it also makes it easier for him to play the cards that require discarding a card to play them. He may be able to use excess cards (cards over his card limit) to play these cards.

General Strategy Against Adjustments: Follow the same general strategy against Black Jack as outlined above. Always pay attention to the card he must show you on his drawing phase, and from their plan how best to attack him.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Character Guide: Kit Carlson

Kit Carlson

Edit (3/29/12): Adding in Dodge City Info and edited some strategy against Kit Carlson.

Character Name: Kit Carlson.

Inspired by: Kit Carson, American frontiersman and colonel who battled the Navajo.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Neutral.

Ability: "During phase 1 of his turn, he looks at the top three cards of the deck: he chooses 2 to draw, and puts the other one back on the top of the deck, face down."

Activation: During his drawing phase.

Cards enhanced by Kit Carlson's ability: Dynamite, Duel, Volcanic, draw cards.

Cards more effective when played against Kit Carlson: Prison.

Cards less effective when played against Kit Carlson: Dynamite, Barrel.

Ideal Roles for Kit Carlson: Good for all.

Characters Kit Carlson counters well: Jourdonnais.

Characters who counter Kit Carlson well: Jesse Jones

2-player value: Great, you can pick the right cards to let you survive and win, and give your opponent cards that will work less effectively against you.

General Strategy: A key point to remember about Kit Carlson's ability is that when he looks at the top 3 cards of the deck and picks 2, the card he does not choose is not discarded, but placed on top of the drawing deck (see the thread with Emiliano Sciarra's approval of this Kit Carlson interpretation). Many people play with the last card being discarded, which is an interesting way to play, but it is not technically Kit Carlson's ability, and really changes the strategy with him. For if the card was discarded, Kit Carlson would not be able to set others up, and two, and other players might easily read Kit Carlson's hand and intentions from the card that he discarded.

With that out of the way, let me move on. Kit Carlson is very good at gathering the cards he needs in either an offensive (gathering BANG! for Duels/Volcanic, or for planning combos like Duel-Indians!-BANG!) or defensive mode. On top of this, Kit Carlson also controls the next card on top of the deck. Initially, you might think that this only affects the next player's draw phase, but there is more to it than that. Think of how this could apply to Dynamite! If Kit Carlson survives a Dynamite "draw!", he gets to draw 3 cards that he might potentially put on top of the deck. Within a round or two, there is a good chance that of those 6 cards that one of them will be a 2-9 of Spades, and then Kit Carlson can basically guarantee that the player to his left has the Dynamite explode on them if he so desires.

Furthermore, Kit Carlson can plan ahead to shoot a character who has a Barrel or Jourdonnais, and guarantee that their "draw!" will fail by not choosing a card with a heart suit and placing it at the top of the deck. I am sure there are even wackier strategies than this; imagine Kit Carlson setting up a Volcanic for Bart Cassidy, then shooting at him, Bart Cassidy taking the hit, and picking the Volcanic up! Kit Carlson's ability is very versatile and the smart player needs to be aware of this. Every drawing phase will require some planning. If Kit Carlson is not going to create a "draw!" or some card draw by some other ability or card (Conestoga, Wells Fargo, General Store), then he needs to consider which card he is going to give to the player to his direct left. If it is an opponent Kit Carlson will want to give him cards challenging his plans; with an ally, he will want to give him cards helping his plans. This can sometimes come in conflict with his capacity to gather cards that are less common and allow you to build a blue card base. Of course, at the beginning of the game there is more of a "grace period" for this worry, but it is still problematic.

In general, however, I would start Kit Carlson with searching for blue cards that he can play in front of him, and then placing them down. Then, gather up a defensive (a mix of Missed!, Beer, BANG!, Prison, Cat Balou) or offensive hand depending on your goal, as you balance out considerations with the card you handing the next player. As you can imagine, having a wider selection than other players on your draw phase, you can get more BANG! for an attack with a Volcanic. On the flip side, people will likely know you are storing up cards, and may use Duels, Cat Balous, and Panics to deplete Kit Carlson's stash. Mustangs are always a good protection from theft. When attacking players with Barrels, remember the strategy I discussed above.

Playing against Kit Carlson: Since Kit Carlson activates his ability during his drawing phase, placing him in Jail nullifies his ability. Since he will be storing up cards, it can be a good idea to Cat Balou or Panic cards from his hand. If you are playing against a defensive Kit Carlson, playing a Duel against him can be a good idea as he will likely have less BANG! in his hand; follow it with an Indians! if you can. If you are directly to his left, you may want to be very frank about your role if he is your ally, so then he can give you cards to help you out. If you are not his ally, deception can be a good strategy, as then he can give you cards than you can then turn against him. Of course, that will be a one time deal, because once you turn on Kit Carlson he will not make that mistake again. If you do not opt for the deception route, be very careful with what you discard/pick up in General Stores; try to fake him out that way to get what you need.

Finally, pay attention to when you can discover what cards Kit Carlson is opting not to take into his hand; this can give you some idea of how his hand is built. You will most likely discover these cards during your own draw phase if you are to his immediate left. "Drawn!" cards can also be helpful, but take them with a grain of salt if they seem clearly designed to affect the "drawn!" result.

Dodge City cards enhanced by Kit Carlson's ability: the extra Dynamite and the extra Volcanic.

Dodge City Characters that Kit Carlson Counters Well: Belle Star (Greater card selection makes it easier for him to get cards to protect him against Belle) and Apache Kid (Greater card selection makes it easier for him to get non-diamond cards to hurt Apache Kid).

Dodge City Characters that Counter Kit Carlson Well: To some extent Elena Fuente (Whatever card Kit stores up for Elena for her draw phase she can play as a Missed!).

General Strategy Adjustments for Kit Carlson: There are not many strategy adjustments for Kit Carlson in Dodge City. The additional Dynamite can make your ability to stack a "drawn!" result for the player to your immediate left more likely. You can provide some useful cards for new characters, such as stacking a Beer up for Tequila Joe, a blue card for Jose Delgado, or an out of turn playable card for Molly Stark.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Character Guide: El Gringo

Character Name: El Gringo

Inspired by: Ross Logan, the vengeful gringo in Requiem for a Gringo

Life Points: 3

Ability Type: Defensive

Ability: "Each time he loses a life point due to a card played by another player, he draws a random card from the hands of that player (one card for each life point). If that player has no more cards, too bad!, he does not draw. Note that Dynamite damages are not caused by any player."

Activation: When El Gringo is hit

Cards enhanced by El Gringo's ability: Missed!, Beer

Cards less effective when played against El Gringo: All attack cards, Volcanic

Cards more effective when played against El Gringo: Dynamite

Ideal Roles for El Gringo: Sheriff, Renegade

Characters El Gringo Counters Well: Willy the Kid

Characters that Counter El Gringo Well: Jesse Jones, Suzy Lafayette (potentially)

2-player value: Good, depending on the amount of health you have.

General Strategy: El Gringo is one of the best characters because of his defensive ability, especially when El Gringo is Sheriff. He must learn the best times to take hits, such as when El Grango can disrupt the strategy of his opponent. For the former, you can imagine an opponent playing an Indians! or Gatling before attacking El Gringo's ally with a BANG! El Gringo may then opt to take the hit to take a card out of his opponent's hand that may disrupt his attack. Similarly, El Gringo may consider taking hits from duels. The quality of cards El Gringo will pick up depends on the intelligence of his opponent, but El Gingo will often get Missed! since these are difficult cards to discard. Taking hits is a great idea when El Gringo has a Beer in hand, as he can steal a card and then he can get his health back.

El Gringo can help limit the amount of times when he can consider taking a hit by getting some helpful defensive cards in play such as Mustang and Barrel. The defensive sight modification will limit the amount of shots fired his way and the Barrel can be a nice buffer for some of the shots. If he wants to take a hit, he can not utilize the Barrel. Finally, I wouldn't play Dynamite as El Gringo, as he is the character most likely to suffer from it. El Gringo doesn't get any cards for being blown up by a Dynamite blast, and as a 3 life point character, the Dynamite will probably be fatal.

Playing against El Gringo: When El Gringo is in the game, be very careful of the order in which you play/use your cards. Whenever you play a card that can hurt El Gringo, you run the risk of losing cards from your hand. Thus, before you play any potentially damaging card for El Gringo, play other other cards first: blue cards, panic, cat balou, often Beer, Wells Fargo, Conestoga/Stagecoach, and often General Store. Once these are out of the way, you still need to consider the order in which you play these potentially damaging cards, as you do not want El Gringo to pick up certain cards over others. Thus, I suggest the following order for playing cards against El Gringo:

1. Gatling or Indians! (This is a toss up, so you may need to pay close attention to the cards that have been picked up and others' behavior; generally, Gatling can be more powerful as there are more BANG! than Missed!)

2. Gatling or Indians! (see above)

3. Duel

4. BANG!

Sometimes it is beneficial to deplete all of your cards down to 1, and then attack El Gringo. He doesn't get any cards when you do so, but then again, you also leave yourself wide open unless you have the right defensive setup. It is often valuable to Cat Balou from El Gringo's hand to knock out any Beer he may have stored up. Also, Cat Balou or Panic his Mustang so others can finish him off if you happen to weaken him. Dynamite is also a fantastic thing to throw out on El Gringo because (1) he is a 3 life point character and so the blasts are more devastating, and (2) he doesn't pick up any cards for losing life from Dynamite even if he happens to survive. Keep other general strategy items in mind, such as not playing Saloon (except in dire circumstances) when El Gringo is below full health.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Character Guide: Paul Regret

Character Name: Paul Regret

Inspired by: Paul Regret, a gambler in the John Wayne film, The Comancheros

Life Points: 3

Ability Type: Defensive

Ability: "he is considered to have a Mustang in play at all times; all other players must add 1 to the distance to him. If he has another real Mustang in play, he can count both of them, increasing all distances to him by a total of 2."

Activation: Continuous, but surmountable

Cards enhanced by Paul Regret's ability: Mustang, blue cards

Cards less effective when played against Paul Regret: Panic, Volcanic

Cards more effective when played against Paul Regret: Duel, Indians!, Gatling

Ideal Roles for Paul Regret: Sheriff, Renegade

Characters who counter Paul Regret well: Rose Doolan, Willy the Kid

2-player value: Great if you can remove your opponent's gun.

General Strategy: Paul Regret's main benefit is his distance, and this can work especially well early game, even if Paul Regret's turn begins towards the end of the round, as few characters will be able to reach you. Paul Regret's distance ability makes most blue cards (obviously not Prison or Dynamite) more useful for him, as they are not likely to get stolen (there is only 1 scope, and what is the chance the persons right next to you will get it?). Paul Regret only has to worry about those 3 Cat Balous. Try to get a Mustang out to stack with Paul Regret's ability, and other defensive cards like Barrels are good ideas too. You may wish to get a gun to shoot over those who are right next to you, so as to not make enemies with your immediate neighbors who will be more able to attack you. In general, the whole purpose with Paul Regret is distance control: shoot at those who cannot shoot you, and make as many people unable to reach you as possible. Paul Regret's opponents will likely use a Duel to reach him, and in this case I often recommend taking the hit, since his card limit is lower, making Paul Regret have fewer BANG!, and thus more likely to get slammed by an Indians! before he gets to have another turn. But you can always gauge the cards in your opponents' hands and make the best judgment here.

Playing against Paul Regret: Since Paul Regret only has 3 life points, a lot of cards that hit all other players (Gatling, Indians!) are really effective against him, since Paul Regret's card limit is lower. Duels are also more effective against Paul Regret, as he is less likely to have a lot of BANG! cards. If you can do so, hitting Paul Regret with Duel-Indians!-Bang! (or similar) combos is the way to go. To help you reach Paul Regret, try to grab guns or a scope. Since panics won't be very effective against Paul Regret, use Cat Balous instead, especially if Paul Regret has a Mustang (making him terribly difficult to reach). If Paul Regret is your main target, consider even storing up a Cat Balou for when that Mustang will pop out. If you are having a really hard time getting Paul Regret, a Dynamite (which is always more fatal for 3 life point characters), can be a good idea to throw out.

Dodge City cards enhanced by Paul Regret's ability: Hideout, the extra Mustang.

Dodge City cards more effective when played against Paul Regret: Howitzer, Buffalo Rifle, Springfield.

Dodge City cards less effective when played against Paul Regret: Derringer, Punch, Knife

Dodge City Characters that Counter Paul Regret Well: Belle Star (Paul Regret cannot increase his distance further from her), Pat Brennan (he can immediately steal a gun, scope or binoculars to reach Paul Regret to shoot/steal from him, as well as remove Paul Regret's distance modifiers like Mustang and Hideout).

General Strategy Adjustments: Paul Regret does not scale well for Dodge City. Many players online have debated about increasing Paul Regret's life points up to 4 to compensate, but Emiliano Sciarra says that the adjustments only place him to about 3.5 life points. But since there is no half a life point, and the powers that be round down, he has stayed at 3 life points. It is often difficult to balance the 3 life point characters, because the main issue with raising them to 4 life points is how powerful they will be as a 5 life point Sheriff. Often, it is decided that they should remain a 3 life point character, but then they only tend to be decent as a Sheriff. I guess the hope is that in the other roles team mates will help them (sorry Renegades!).

Anyway, Paul Regret has trouble in Dodge City due to producing difficulties in managing distance between players. Dodge City adds a distance 3 Remington, a distance 4 Rev. Carabine, and a Binoculars (which stacks with a Scope) to the deck. Heavy to manage against a Scope and a Binoculars will be particularly difficult. There is, on the flip side, another Mustang and a Hideout (which stacks with a Mustang) to bring some distance away. But more Cat Balou, the Can Can, and Brawl have been added to the deck to remove players. The new Rag Time steals a card from any player at any distance, so Paul Regret is not as panic-immune as before. Unfortunately, there are also cards that attack at any range added to the deck, which are deadly for Paul Regret, namely Springfield, Buffalo Rifle, Howitzer, and of course more Indians! Since these cards are not BANG!, they can be combined with BANG! and others (Duel, Gatling) to hit Paul Regret several times in one turn. Finally, there is another frustrating Dynamite added to the deck.

Of course, things are not all bad for Paul Regret with Dodge City. Some new cards he is generally immune to, such as the Knife, Punch, and Derringer which all only reach at distance 1. Unfortunately, this just does not balance things out. Paul Regret should still try to follow the strategy generally outlined above, trying to steer himself as best as possible with these new cards. He now will definitely want to try to grab some defensive green cards to get in play in front of him before jumping to the offensive. And stacking his Mustang with a Hideout would be fantastic if it is possible.

General Strategy Against Adjustments: Dodge City turns things in your favor for eliminating Paul Regret. Supplied with more guns, a Binoculars, several cards that reach at any distance (Springfield, Buffalo Rifle, Howitzer, more Indians!), and another Dynamite, you have even more ammo than before to hit Paul Regret. Probably even more importantly, you can combine those cards to hit Paul Regret several times in a turn, and your team mates (if you have any) should have a greater ability to help you out. Use the new Rag Time, Can Can, and Brawl to remove cards from in play in front of Paul Regret, especially to remove his distance modifiers. If he has none of those, and no defensive green cards in play in front of him, use those cards and Cat Balou to remove cards from his hand before you and your allies attack him. A good combo or tag team could knock him out in 1-2 rounds. Of course, this is wishful thinking where the stars align for your good. Paul Regret is still a threat in Dodge City, it is just that if you pay close attention you should have greater opportunities to eliminate him than before.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal