Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Character Guide: Uncle Will

Uncle Will BANG! card game character

Character Name: Uncle Will.

Inspired by: Will Niebling, former CEO of Mayfair Games, which published BANG! in the United States until 2010.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Neutral.

Ability: "Once during his turn, he may play any card from hand as a General Store."

Activation: During his turn, when he has a card in his hand to play.

Cards enhanced by Uncle Will's ability: All cards in his hand (except General Store itself); especially blue/green duplicate cards.

Cards more powerful when played against Uncle Will: Jail.

Good roles for Uncle Will: Outlaw, Renegade.

Characters that counter Uncle Will well: Jesse Jones (Removes cards from his hand to play as a General Store), José Delgado (when Uncle Will plays General Stores there is a good chance of him revealing blue cards that José Delgado can use to draw more cards), Elena Fuente (General Stores give her a free Missed!), Sid Ketchum (General Stores provide him with 1 out of 2 cards to discard to gain a life point), Doc Holyday (General Stores provide him with 1 out of 2 cards to discard to play a BANG!), somewhat Slab the Killer and Willy the Kid (General Stores tend to reveal 1+ BANG!).

2-player value: Not great. While he can play certain cards to have some use versus no use (duplicate cards, Beer), in conjunction with his general ability, the General Store play can backfire. It is only useful if 1 of the 2 cards revealed is far better than the other, and you cannot guarantee this.

General Strategy as Uncle Will: Uncle Will is very much a strange team-oriented character like Claus the Saint. Both of them provide cards for all other players when they use their abilities. However, Claus the Saint's ability makes it so that only he sees all of the cards, and he chooses to whom each card goes. Uncle Will's dissemination of cards is very much contingent on the order of players to his left, as this is the order in which a General Store is resolved. On the flip side, Uncle Will does not always have to use his ability on his turn; Claus the Saint must do so always, even when his allies are dead! Uncle Will also has 4 life points, while Claus the Saint has 3, so their characters do balance out somewhat. Nonetheless, the success of each character is largely dependent on getting the right cards to the right allies at the right times.

Uncle Will can try to use the early grace period in BANG! to his advantage. He could play General Stores quickly to nab some excellent cards to play in front of him (a decent gun, a Mustang, a Barrel, etc.). However, once it is clear who is whose ally, Uncle Will needs to be much more careful when playing General Stores. If his allies follow quite quickly after him in the General Store succession, then he should play them quite frequently. These extra cards for his team mates can be very beneficial: giving Willy the Kid and Slab the Killer extra BANG!, giving Sean Mallory more cards to store up, providing Elena Fuente with a free Missed!, getting cards for Sid Ketchum and Doc Holyday to convert into a life point/BANG!, providing José Delgado with blue cards to discard, and so forth. Of course, these characters could be Uncle Will's rivals, so he needs to take their abilities into consideration. When Uncle Will's rivals are close in order when he plays General Store, it is generally not a good idea for him to use them (except in crises). Uncle Will should try to cut his way over on the left towards his allies, so he can give them better cards during General Stores in the future. This can be a very difficult thing to do when Uncle Will is an Outlaw and the Sheriff is immediately to his right, so some situations don't lend themselves too well to this strategy.

Not all of the General Stores played have to be made with helping allies. Uncle Will can try to use his General Store strategically after building up a decent hand. For instance, if he gathers many BANG! in his hand, he should try to discard a card that lacks an offensive use to play a General Store. Then, he might have a good opportunity of drawing a Volcanic or a Panic, Conestoga, or Rag Time, which will enable him to steal a Volcanic from one of his nearby opponents. A General Store can also be played as a defensive move, as a sort of last ditch effort for Uncle Will to gather a Beer, other life point modifier, or Missed!

Uncle Will should also be selective in the card he chooses to play as a General Store. You should typically not try to play a BANG! or Missed! as a General Store if you only have 1 in your hand. Blue/green duplicate cards are especially useful to play as General Stores, since you could not play them in front of you even if you wanted to do so. They end up being stuck in your hand, and so Uncle Will's ability helps clear up his hand from any duplicates.

Playing against Uncle Will: Uncle Will is not the most difficult opponent to have. He is typically only a threat when played by a skilled BANG! player who knows when and when not to use his ability. "Noobs" will tend to use Uncle Will's ability too often, and help his rivals more than his allies. Since each time Uncle Will uses his ability a General Store is played, you can take advantage of Uncle Will's ability by trying to get close to his left side. Kill rivals that lie in between the two of you on that side, so that you can get better use out of Uncle Will's General Store.

When Uncle Will has a fortunate setup where his allies are close at hand on his left side, pressure Uncle Will, so that he cannot play as many General Stores. Steal and discard cards from his hand, and also shoot at him, to make it difficult for him to play cards as General Stores. It will be difficult for him to afford to play them in this way. You can also throw Uncle Will in Jail to keep him from hooking up his buddies.

Besides this, also try to pick off Uncle Will's allies. He will be less likely to want to play a General Store when it benefits many other players that are not his team mates. He will rarely ever want to play one when it is only his rivals that are left. The Renegade Uncle Will has a little more leeway here, perhaps play General Stores to balance out the rivaling teams, or to get really powerful cards after building up a hand.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Monday, May 30, 2011

Character Guide: Johnny Kisch

Johnny Kisch BANG! card game character

Character Name: Johnny Kisch.

Inspired by: While one might expect Johnny Kisch to be a reference to country guitar player Johnny Cash, the true inspiration for him is Jo Nikisch, CEO of Abacus Spiele, the German publisher of BANG!.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Neutral.

Ability: "Each time he puts a card into play, all other cards in play with the same name are discarded."

Activation: During his turn, when he plays blue/green cards with the same name as blue/green cards in play in front of other players. Thus, if Johnny Kisch already had a Barrel in play, and then another player plays a Barrel, the new Barrel is not discarded because Johnny Kisch already has in play. The discarding only occurs at the event when Johnny Kisch plays the card himself.

Cards enhanced by Johnny Kisch's ability: Iron Plate, Jail (depends on circumstance), Mustang, Remington, Rev. Carabine, Schofield, Volcanic, Barrel, Panic!, Conestoga, Rag Time.

Cards less powerful when played against Johnny Kisch: Iron Plate, Mustang, Remington, Rev. Carabine, Schofield, Volcanic, Barrel.

Cards more powerful when played against Johnny Kisch: Jail.

Good roles for Johnny Kisch: Sheriff, Renegade.

Characters that counter Johnny Kisch well: José Delgado (he tends to play his blue cards; not put them into play, thus limiting the effectiveness of Johnny Kisch playing blue cards against him), somewhat Bella Star (While Johnny Kisch can nullify her cards, his ability to generally alone possess the cards in play in front of him does little good to protect himself on her turn).

Characters that Johnny Kisch counters well: Lucky Duke (easier to remove his Barrel benefit), somewhat Slab the Killer and Willy the Kid (Johnny Kisch can significantly impact their gun ranges), somewhat Sid Ketchum (Discarding the cards in play in front of him removes cards that Sid Ketchum can use to regain life points), somewhat Vulture Sam (It is hard to turtle up when Johnny Kisch plays cards that remove his ability to build up a good defensive/offensive mix).

2-player value: Decent; there are still many important blue cards that Johnny Kisch can discard through his ability, especially guns and Mustangs.

General Strategy as Johnny Kisch: Johnny Kisch's ability allows him to remove powerful cards in front of other players. On the whole, his ability will tend to remove important defensive cards (such as Barrel and Mustang), and other players' guns. The latter is especially useful in countering other players' ranges: he is able to shoot at other players, but they cannot reach him. However, since Johnny Kisch has no choice which players are influenced by his ability (it impacts all), he needs to be careful not to severely harm one of his allies by removing one of their crucial cards. This is less important when Johnny Kisch is the Renegade or even the Sheriff.

Johnny Kisch also has to consider when to play blue/green cards when he gets them. Green cards are not that problematic, since only 1 (Iron Plate) has a duplicate. However, several blue cards do have duplicates. If Johnny Kisch plays blue cards in play in front of himself immediately, then he is able to reap of their benefits right away. However, he does miss the opportunity to remove the cards with the same name in front of other players. Thus, he may wish to keep a useful blue card in his hand until another player lays one down. For instance, if he is not being shot at yet, the Barrel is not too crucial to play down. It might be good for Johnny Kisch to hold on to the Barrel until another player has one in play.

If Johnny Kisch chooses to play a blue/green card without any others having one in play, he should remember that he can still use Panic! cards to pick up this card later. It is unlikely that Johnny Kisch will always play cards in front of him when other players already have the same cards in play. Likely, other players will play cards that Johnny Kisch already has in play. In this latter situation, Johnny Kisch can use the Panic! to his advantage (and similarly the Conestoga and Rag Time cards, although it is unlikely he would want to use those cards in this way as much as he would with the Panic!). Using the Panic! card on his card in play that other players have in play allows him to take that card into his hand and replay it in front of him. Doing so will now discard the other duplicate cards in play in front of other players. This can be helpful in discarding an important card from multiple players (such as Barrel or Mustang), or discarding an important card from a player who is out of the Panic!'s 1 range.

The Panic! card can be used in other useful ways (as well as the Scope and Binoculars, which can extend its range). If two other players have the same card in play, and Johnny Kisch can reach one of them with a Panic!, then he can steal one of the cards and then play it to discard the card from the other player.

If Johnny Kisch picks up a Jail card when an ally has been placed in Jail, Johnny Kisch can play the Jail on one of their rivals to not only place the rival in Jail, but also remove the imprisonment of his ally. Johnny Kisch's ability does not claim that the card put in play must be put in play in front of Johnny Kisch. If he brings a card in play in front of any player, it nullifies the others. Thus, it applies to Jail as well. This is admittedly a rare instance, but still useful when it comes.

Other players should also consider how their abilities interact with Johnny Kisch, and Johnny Kisch should consider how he can impact others' abilities. For instance, if Johnny Kisch's ally was Pedro Ramirez and positioned to his left, he could give Pedro Ramirez a good blue/green card by playing a blue/green card that was already in play in front of some other player as his last move. That way the card would be discarded and be on top of the discard pile at the beginning of Pedro Ramirez's turn for him to pick up. If Kit Carlson was an ally on the right of Johnny Kisch, then he could place on top of the deck a blue/green card for Johnny Kisch to pick up on the beginning of his next turn. This could be useful in discarding cards in play in front of their rivals. If Uncle Will was an ally to Johnny Kisch and close to his right, then Uncle Will could play a card as a General Store in the hopes of revealing a blue card that Johnny Kisch can play to discard cards from other players.

Playing against Johnny Kisch: Johnny Kisch's ability does not apply to all blue/green cards in play in front of characters, as not all blue/green cards have duplicates. Thus, it is safer and more important to play blue/green cards in play in front of you that do not have duplicates. The Winchester is the only gun that doesn't have a duplicate (There are 2 Volcanics, 3 Schofields, 2 Remingtons, and 2 Rev. Carabines), so it is the safest gun for you to play in front of yourself. Replace other guns if possible with the Winchester. You can also increase your gun range by also getting the Scope or Binoculars; there is only 1 of each. Card counting the number of certain cards that have been discarded can also let you know if you are in danger of Johnny Kisch playing a card that you have in front of you. Be careful when you play a General Store. Check if there are any cards that can be picked up in the store that are the same as an important card in play in front of you or an ally. If there is such a card, work to insure that Johnny Kisch does not pick this card up from the General Store.

Other cards with similar effects are important to consider. There are 3 Mustangs in the deck, but only 1 Hideout. There are 2 Iron Plates, but only 1 Sombrero, 1 Ten Gallon Hat, and 1 Bible. Thus, if a General Store is played and cards with similar effects are revealed, pick those which lack duplicates (Sombrero v. Iron Plate). Similarly, if you use a green card to defend yourself, use the Iron Plate before the Sombrero. That way, if Johnny Kisch plays the Iron Plate later, you won't lose another defensive card. On the whole, green cards are very safe to play against Johnny Kisch. The Iron Plate is the only green card with a duplicate. The rest are one of a kind, so do not fear playing them. In some ways, Johnny Kisch is a more powerful character when playing without the Dodge City expansion because of this.

Johnny Kisch's ability to discard a card by playing a card with the same name does not always work to his advantage. Take the case of Dynamite. If one is already in play, it does not really help Johnny Kisch to play another. While it may stop "draws!" on Dynamite for a round, the "draws!" will continue again the next round, starting with Johnny Kisch. Since the "draws!" are random, there really comes little benefit from Johnny Kisch playing it instead of someone else. So Dynamite is a decent card that can be put into play that Johnny Kisch's ability does little to correct. Johnny Kisch's ability will not work against Jails played against him. Since he can discard other Jails through his ability only by playing other Jails himself, he will not have the opportunity to do so if he is in Jail himself.

Besides being careful about which cards you play/pick up, and the order in which you play them, you can also try to weaken Johnny Kisch's advantage when he has discarded some of your cards, by stealing/discarding the card he played. This at least levels the playing field after he has done his damage.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Friday, May 27, 2011

Slab the Killer and Vulture Sam: Updated Character Guides

I have updated the character guides for Slab the Killer and Vulture Sam to include Dodge City information. I also fixed some errors in the original guides, and added in a few more tips. I included BANG!/Dodge City FAQ material where applicable.

BANG! #6 in Card Game Sales, Q1 2011

ICv2's Internal Correspondence #75 market report noted that the game biz roared in Q1 of 2011, and that the following card games were the top 10 best-selling:
  1. Dominion

  2. Munchkin

  3. Thunderstone

  4. Ascension

  5. Killer Bunnies

  6. BANG!

  7. Dixit

  8. Resident Evil

  9. Seven Wonders

  10. Guillotine

It kills me that Killer Bunnies beats BANG!, but such is life. This is a report of what people buy, not the quality of their taste. Not that many of the games in this list are not excellent. But I thought it good to know that BANG! is still a very popular game even 9 years later. As for how this list was compiled, the source website claims, "The charts are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Death Mesa: "Patch" 1.02

EDIT: I have placed in some new rules to help balance ghosts drawing 2 cards now.

EDIT: Given some more feedback by some Death Mesa player, I have added some very significant rule adjustments that should make it easier for BANG! players to play with Death Mesa. Changes include the number of cards ghosts draw, negation rules, and more!

Following up on my correspondence with Geekinsight, and the play testing of other fans, I wanted to include some rule changes and card clarifications for Death Mesa in a new patch. As with the prior 1.01 patch, I am hoping as more people play Death Mesa that they will file some new complaints that I can try to address and tweek in the rules book. Just leave a comment or e-mail me to give your complaint.

Card Clarifications (Rewordings of Cards without Changing their Effects).
  1. Seance: Some have been confused by the initial wording of this card. I have changed this to be " Pick 2 cards at random from a living player's hand to be secretly shown to you and another living player of your choice. No other action can occur until the cards are returned."

  2. The East Wind: There was an issue with the nature of the "must" described in this card. I have clarified it to read: "Select 2 living players. Until your next turn, whenever they try to attack each other, they must play 2 cards with bang symbols. They choose which card occurs when they play 2." The conditional before the must should now help. As an extra item of clarification for this card, the cards with bang symbols described must be able to be legally played against the other player. Thus, if I was one of the rivals selected by the ghost, I couldn't play a Derringer and a Punch against the other selected player to attack him, if he was 3 distance away (and I didn't have a Scope-Binoculars combo).

Optional Card Changes (House Rules for Certain Cards).
  1. Bad Moon Rising: Some players have not liked this card because of its effect being too random. As a result you could apply one or more of the following house rules: (1) Hearts "drawn!" for Bad Moon Rising do not add a card to other players, but like diamonds simply produce no effect. (2) Bad Moon Rising does not apply to all players, but to only 1 living player of the ghost's choice.

  2. Last Testament: In an effort to gather more "buried goods," you may play this card so that after you bestow one of your "buried goods" on a living player, you draw another card from the regular deck to add to your "buried goods." This helps give another card to add to "buried goods," besides the Curse and Death and Taxes cards (Rob Grave has you disseminate another players "buried goods").

  3. Hidden Stash: In an effort to allow greater dissemination of "buried goods," you may play this card so the living player you select can either draw from the regular deck or from your "buried goods."

  4. Unfinished Business: It has been hard for some players to remember who the last player was whom they attacked. This can be made easier by allowing Unfinished Business to be played either (1) on any player they attacked while alive, or (2) on any player that they can deductively prove must die for them to win in their role.

Rules changes.
  1. Ghosts Drawing Cards.: When a player dies, he now immediately draws 1 Dead Men's Deck card. Ghosts now draw 2 Dead Men's Deck cards on their turns. However, if they wish to play more than 1 Dead Man's Deck card during their turns (Warn! and Mirage, if not played on their turn, is not censured by this), they must discard a Dead Men's Deck card for each additional card they wish to play.

  2. Ghosts Playing Cards when only 1 team is dead.: To balance out with the new drawing rules, ghosts when only 1 team is dead (including just a dead Renegade) can only play a Dead Men's Deck card if it is an Ace (or a royal if you use the optional rule) or if they discard 2 other Dead Men's Deck cards with it. Thus, on their first turn as ghosts they can immediately play (1 card from when they died, and the 2 drawn from their drawing phase). If they choose to do so, then they cannot play any cards the next turn unless it is an Ace/royal. They will be able to play cards a little more than 2 out of 3 turns, until there are ghosts from another team.

  3. Living Players Using BANG! Against Ghosts: Now that ghosts can draw 2 cards on their turns, living players may now play as many BANG! as they desire to deplete cards out of the hands of ghosts. I could simply raise the limit to 2 on any specific ghost, but this seems like an unnecessary thing to remember; very few players would play more than 2 BANG! against a ghost.

  4. Negation System. Some BANG! players have been turned off by how complex the negation system for Death Mesa is. Eager to find a better solution, one critic has suggested 2 alternatives, which I quite like, and I have tried to tweek them. I would like it if you tried either of these negation systems to see if they are better than the current one.

    • Color Duel System. Instead of adding the values of cards of certain colors and trying to create a greater value on 1 side or the other, the Color Duel system simply uses the opposition between the red and black colors. When a ghost (say, Ghost A) plays a card (say, a red), another ghost (say, Ghost B) may discard a Dead Men's deck card of the opposite color (say, a black) to initiate a duel with Ghost A. Ghost A can respond by discarding a red. Then Ghost B can choose to respond by discarding another black, and so on. At anytime, a dead Renegade may influence the duel by playing an appropriate card on behalf of Ghost A or Ghost B. This is similar to the new version of "Stand Off" in Robbers' Roost. When either Ghost A or Ghost B cannot or chooses not to discard anymore cards (and dead Renegades are no longer participating), that Ghost loses the duel. If Ghost A lost the duel, his originally played card is negated. If Ghost B lost the duel, the originally played card succeeds. Only 1 duel may be initiated to negate a card.

    • Suit Duel System.Slightly more complex than the Color Duel System, the Suit Duel System makes it so that a specific suit counters (->) another suit. In this system, Spades -> Hearts -> Clubs-> Diamonds -> Spades. To bring this in context of the game: When a ghost (say, Ghost A) plays a card (say, a club), another ghost (say, Ghost B) can discard a card with the countering suit (in this case a heart) to attempt to negate the card. This begins a similar duel as in the color duel system. Ghost A can discard a card with the countering suit (in this case a spade) to counter the card discarded by Ghost B. Ghost B could then respond with a Diamond, and so on. At anytime, a dead Renegade may influence this countering match by playing a countering card for Ghost A or Ghost B. When either Ghost A or Ghost B cannot or chooses not to discard a countering card (and dead Renegades are no longer participating), that Ghost loses the duel. If Ghost A lost the duel, his originally played card is negated. If Ghost B lost the duel, the originally played card succeeds. Only 1 duel may be initiated to negate a card.

  5. "Buried Goods": I am making some rules changes to make it easier to gather and disseminate "buried goods." However, I would like some feedback on which adjustments work best. I will give my preference, but also provide some other options.

    • General Store: When a General Store card is played, cards are revealed for all players, both for the ghosts and the living. The ghosts may select from the cards revealed as a living player would, but the card selected is added to their "buried goods."

    • Successfully Playing Dead Men's Deck Cards: One idea suggested by Geekinsight with GFBR was for ghosts to be able to draw a card from the regular deck to add to their "buried goods" whenever they successfully play a Dead Men's Deck card that has a spade as its suit. The spade sort of looks like a shovel to compliment this idea. To help disseminate the "buried goods," you could parallel this idea by allowing ghosts to select a living player to randomly select a card from their "buried goods" whenever they successfully play a heart. This works well with the new negation systems. If the old negation system is kept, whenever a ghost successfully plays a 2-6 (or 2-7?) of any suit, he may choose either to draw a card from the regular deck and add it to his "buried goods" OR select a living player to randomly select a card from his "buried goods." I prefer this idea because cards with values 2-6/2-7 are much more likely to be negated than the higher value cards. This gives a ghost a bonus for being able to carry one of those cards through, and also influences the Renegade's decision to back certain cards up somewhat. You can try either method out, but let me know which one works better, so that I can make it an official rule.

Some of these rules and card clarifications I will add to the Guidebook/Player Aid within the next couple of days. I am also looking for some ways to improve gameplay for dead Renegades. Any suggestions?

Death Mesa: Reviewed on Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Geekinsight at GFBR has been playtesting Death Mesa and wrote 2 reviews of his experience at Giant Fire Breathing Robot. His first review noted both positive things about the expansion and some of the downsides of it in his initial estimation. The second corrected some of his remarks in the first review, while also aptly noting where Death Mesa could use some improvement.

As for the first review, Geekinsight noted the following positive things about the expansion:
Death Mesa does a good job with keeping the dead players in and feeling useful. After all, if the dead players felt like they couldn’t impact the game, then they would be just as bored as if they were out of the game completely. I also like the idea of a separate “dead man’s deck” of powers that the dead players draw from.

However, Geekinsight also noted some defects. He felt that some of the cards were "completely overblown with power," and so the ghosts were too powerful, distorting teamplay. He also thought the concept of the "buried goods" needed some work.

But he added:
Still, as an “Alpha” version proof-of-concept piece, I like it. I’ll be watching for a revised Beta version hopefully in the near future.

Read the full initial review here.

I was a little confused by the cards that Geekinsight thought were overpowered, and so I asked him which ones in the comments section of the review. He noted Seance and the East Wind as being too powerful, but he understood them incorrectly. He thought that Seance stole 2 cards from a living player and gave them to another (instead of simply showing them to another living player), and the East Wind bled cards from 2 rivals and potentially prevented them from attacking team mates (versus simply making it more difficult for 2 rivals to attack one another). I blame this on my poor wording of the cards, which I will update in a 1.02 patch.

Geekinsight and I began a good e-mail correspondence back and forth with one another about Death Mesa. I clarified the seemingly overpowered cards to him and he thought the cards were much better balanced afterwards. We found out that he also forgot to play with the rule that living players could play BANG! to discard Dead Men's Deck cards from ghosts. He was very positive and thoughtful, helping me envisage some new ways to play with, gather, and disseminate the "buried goods," which I agree with him needed some work. He kindly noted, "With just a few kinks to work out, I think it would be an absolutely mandatory expansion [to BANG!]." He playtested Death Mesa again with a better understanding of the cards and the rules, and wrote a second review.

In the second review, Geekinsight claimed he "had a much improved experience." In some detail, he observed:

With the clarifications personally provided by the creator, as well as an additional rule that we overlooked allowing living players to force dead players to discard, the ghosts ended up being at just the right level of powerful. Frankly, in our first games we were hoping our teammates died. They had a much improved impact on the game as a ghost. Now, that changed. While ghosts were still a factor, and certainly able to influence play, they were not the unstoppable juggernaut. It was always better to have a living teammate than a dead one, even if a dead one was still able to provide some aid.

This is exactly what I hoped Death Mesa would do with the ghosts, in terms of their level of power. Besides this, Geekinsight noted that the "buried goods" mechanic still needs some work. I will be introducing some different options to improve this mechanic soon, some of which were provided by Geekinsight. These too will appear in the 1.02 patch. The review concluded:
It’s certainly playable, and I think even in its current form, it improves the Bang! experience. But it isn’t perfect just yet. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from downloading it and giving it a play. I’ve found Martin to be exceptionally open-minded and willing to discuss any feedback. Perhaps with all the input we’ll get a new and improved Beta version.

I think Geekinsight's estimation of Death Mesa is correct, and I hope that with both his and many other's help that it can be much improved.

Read the second review here.

Geekinsight also has scheduled an interview with me about BANG! and Death Mesa tomorrow evening. I will provide a link to the interview when it is completed.

Learn more about Death Mesa.

O. K. Corral Espansione è Ora Disponibile in Italiano

Superkaze has provided a new Italian translation of the custom O. K. Corral expansion, which I have reviewed before and provided as a download for those who speak English. He has said the following:

Ciao a tutti.
Preso dal gioco ho cercato in rete altre carte create dai giocatori, ed ho trovato in giro delle immagini inerenti ad una espanzione utilizzabile ad ogni giro, come avviene per Mezzogiorno di Fuoco e Per Un Pugno di Carte.
Tale espansione si chiama O.K. Corral, ed è in inglese.
Ho provato a contattare l'autore senza successo.
Nel tempo libero ho tradotto i testi delle carte, inizialmente solo in inglese, e ho creato le nuove immagini, con la descrizione sia in italiano che in inglese...

I have made his translation available for download on the BANG! Blog. Download it here (scaricare l'espansione).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Calamity Janet and Bart Cassidy: Updated Character Guides

While I have finished the character guides for the Dodge City characters, many of the original game characters still require updates adding in strategy differences for when Dodge City is included. I have updated the guides for both Calamity Janet and Bart Cassidy. Enjoy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Robbers' Roost: POD Progress #3

Robbers' Roost BANG! Card Game POD Progress

Now that I have firmed out the accessory cards, I have decided to follow some fan's suggestions and just add them to the core of Robbers' Roost. This will of course require me to update the Guidebook (yargh). In the meantime, I have figured out their suits and added the appropriate cards for balancing. Thus the 16 new cards are:
  • BANG! (3)

  • Beer (1)

  • Missed! (1)

  • Sombrero (1)

  • The Flop (1)

  • Indians! (1)

  • Cat Balou (1)

  • Panic! (1)

  • Cold Deck (1)

  • Bear Trap (1)

  • Lasso Rope (1)

  • Iron Knuckles (1)

  • Lucky Dice (1)

  • Ammo Belt (1)

There are 2 replacements:
  • Cowboy Boots (Accessory version) for Cowboy Boots

  • Spyglass for Rattlesnake

Many of these new cards are in the cardsheet above. I hope this will appease many of the fans bummed out by the cards I removed from Robbers' Roost. Expect more updates soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Design: BANG! Card Game Symbols Pack

BANG! Card Game Symbol Examples

As part of the recurring pattern of me disclosing my design files, I have enclosed today a pack of BANG! card game symbols. Not only does this include the original BANG! symbols, it also includes a few I introduced, such as the symbol referring to a dead player in Death Mesa, the line of fire symbol used in Robbers' Roost, and a few that I never ended up using such as the discard a card from your hand symbol, and the "draw!" a club symbol. I believe I have compiled all of the symbols (except the Book symbol, and distance modifiers that I will add soon) from the original BANG! card game. If there are any others missing, feel free to inform me. You can see the majority of the symbols contained in the pack in the image above. All the symbols, at the moment are in Photoshop format (.PSD), but I will probably release a .JPG format soon.

Download the BANG! Card Game Symbols Pack

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Design: BANG! Custom Playing Card Art Pack

BANG! Custom Playing Card Art Pack Samples

I mentioned a few days ago that I would release an art pack for custom playing cards, just as I did for the character cards. This pack consists of 201 wild west themed art files, most full color to work with the BANG! playing cards. Samples of the art in this pack are available in the picture above. I know that a few have had some trouble downloading the character art pack. I hope there are no issues with this pack; if there is, post it in the comments section and I will get on it.

Download the BANG! Custom Playing Card Art Pack

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Robbers' Roost: Update on Accessory Cards

Robbers' Roost BANG! Accessory Cards

Following up on my earlier post where I introduced the idea of accessory cards to replace some of the Robbers' Roost cards I kept and others I removed from the expansion, I have finished the concepts and art for the 8 accessory cards I wish to have:
  1. Cold Deck: If you dislike the result of “draw!”, you may discard 2 cards from your hand and choose 1 of them to be the new result.

  2. Lucky Dice: If the first card you draw during phase 1 is a club, you may show that card to draw an extra card.

  3. Cowboy Boots: All your Missed! count as Dodge.

  4. Spyglass: When you play Spyglass, select 1 player who you now see at a distance -1. When that player is eliminated, select another player. Note: This is the replacement for the Stake Out idea.

  5. Lasso Rope: Whenever a card is played against you and resolved, you may discard a card from your hand that has a higher value than the card played against you to draw that card into your hand.

  6. Iron Knuckles: Once on your turn, you may discard 2 cards from your hand to Punch.

  7. Ammo Belt: You may place a BANG! on top of the Ammo Belt, which does not contribute to your card limit. This BANG! can only be used on your turn.

  8. Bear Trap: When you play Bear Trap, select 1 player who now sees you at a distance +1. When that player is eliminated, select another player. Note: This is the replacement for Rattlesnake.

Now that I have finished these accessory cards, the question will be where to put them. I am tempted to simply added them to the base Robbers' Roost expansion and add more balancing cards.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Robbers' Roost: More POD Progress

Robbers' Roost BANG! Card Sheet

This next cardsheet I have designed for the POD contains orange cards. I have been changing some of the wording to be clearer, such as for Dive, which originally stated that you could take a hit for a player at distance 2. But this seemed to be specific to that exact distance, so instead I have changed the words from "at distance 2" to a player whom you see "within distance 2." I am also debating removing Stand Off from Robbers' Roost, and either adding more of the other orange cards or introducing a new orange card to the mix as a replacement. Is there any objection to removing Stand Off, which I think is of questionable value and confusing to explain?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Design: BANG! Card Game Custom Character Art Pack

I wanted to keep adding to the BANG! card game modding community by offering a zip file containing 87 sketches of western characters with character borders and bullets as well. Some examples of these sketches are in the picture above. This should help you along in making your own BANG! card game characters. To modify these characters so that they look more like the BANG! card game characters, I recommend looking at the first part of my tutorial on making your own BANG! character cards. I should release another art pack this coming week for BANG! playing cards. If I collect more western characters, I will also release another character pack in the future.

Download the BANG! Card Game Custom Character Art Pack

Friday, May 13, 2011

Robbers' Roost: POD Progress

Robbers' Roost BANG! card game POD Sheet 1

Now that Blogger is back up after over 24 hours of being in Read Only mode (although I have noticed that Blogger has yet to restore some post changings and comments made in the past 2 days), I thought that I would post some progress on making a POD version of Robbers' Roost. I am definitely working on getting this out in a reasonable time frame, so those looking to get their own copy should look up! Posted above is a picture of the first card sheet for the POD that I have designed. You should notice that the cards are arranged to the bottom right, in preparation for the cards being trimmed. I will likely work on getting a prototype that I can get mailed to me without getting trimmed, so that I can first focus on any necessary color adjustments. Then, I will work on getting the card trimming in order. I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Design: BANG! Card Game Borders (Original)

BANG! Card Game Border Pack Original Size

EDIT (8/2/11): I am no longer hosting the files on Adrive. The Google Docs method is working once more, and does require biweekly updates. It should work fine now. Yesterday I provided a pack containing 2.5 x 3.5 BANG! playing card borders. The sizes of those borders did not match the original BANG! cards, but were designed for making cards with a POD. The borders I have released today are designed to match the original BANG! cards. As with the other pack, I have provided borders for gun, blue, green, orange, character, grey, and brown cards. If you print with them, however, you will have to trim the cards yourself (or have someone else do the trimming) and use a corner rounder to have the cards match the size of the original BANG! cards.

Download the BANG! Card Game Border Pack (Original Size)

Robbers' Roost: Accessory Cards

I have been getting some complaints about not including some of the concepts I had for Robbers' Roost cards in the final product. I chose to remove those concepts to focus more on the orange cards, and to not have an obscene amount of cards in front of players. I noticed when I had so many new blue and green cards that many players seemed to be impenetrable fortresses because of the lucky card draws they had, while others were not so lucky and were at an extreme disadvantage. I toyed around with letting people add these cards in anyway in a bonus pack, but I may have come up with a solution that makes the issue of too many cards in play less problematic. While many of the green and blue cards will still be brushed under the rug, never seeing the light of day, a few I have chosen to turn into "accessory" cards. Accessory cards are much like gun cards in that you can only have 1 in play in front of you at a time. If you play a different accessory card, it immediately discards the one you had in front of you previously. They also have similar art: a blue border without bullet holes like the guns, with the addition of a black line around them. Furthermore, they have the black silhouette art of the gun cards. So far I have 7 accessory card ideas; whether they will all stay is anybody's guess. Most of them are descendents of previous ideas:

  1. Ammo Belt: You may store a BANG! on top of your Ammo Belt, which is an extension of your hand.

  2. Cold Deck: You may discard any card from your hand to be the result of "draw!"

  3. Lucky Dice: You may show the first card you draw. If it is a club, draw an extra card.

  4. Cowboy Boots: All your Missed! count as Dodge.

  5. Hammock/Sleeping Bag: If you don't play or use any cards during your turn, draw a card at the end of your discard phase.

  6. Hunting Knife: Whenever you eliminate a player you draw 2 cards.

  7. Iron Knuckles: Discard 2 cards from you hand to Punch.

As you can tell from this list, I have converted the Cowboy Boots into an accessory card. Whether I will include these cards in a bonus pack, special edition, or just add them to Robbers' Roost is up for debate. The more I add, the more the cost goes up, and the more cards from the original BANG! I have to add to balance. We will see. I welcome your feedback regarding this idea and how to incorporate them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Design: BANG! Card Game Borders (2.5 x 3.5)

BANG! card game playing card borders

EDIT (8/2/11): I am no longer hosting the files on Adrive. The Google Docs method is working once more, and does require biweekly updates. It should work fine now.

EDIT: A character border is now included in the pack.

As I have started to chip away at making a POD version of Robbers' Roost, I thought I would also release some of my design files to the public. This way, interested persons could use them to help them make their own custom BANG! cards. It will also help me upload the necessary files to finish some of the tutorials I want to make. Today, I will be releasing BANG! card game borders for 2.5" x 3.5" cards. Note that this is not the standard size for BANG! cards. Rather, this is what would be used by a modder wanting to use a card template or POD and isn't concerned about card trimming. I will release borders that are identically sized to BANG! cards tomorrow. Both border packs include borders for:
  • Gun Cards.

  • Blue Cards.

  • Green Cards.

  • Character Cards.

  • Brown Cards.

  • Grey Cards. These are used in Death Mesa, and if someone wanted to add their own to the Dead Men's Deck, they could do so.

  • Orange Cards. These are used in Robbers' Roost, but modders should feel free to make their own orange cards.

I am aware that there are other borders for the event card decks. I will get to adding these later. Since they are not used in Robbers' Roost or Death Mesa, getting those files up is a detour from my current project.

Download the BANG! Card Game Border Pack (2.5 x 3.5)

Character Guide: Pixie Pete

Pixie Pete BANG! Dodge City Character

Character Name: Pixie Pete.

Inspired by: No clear inspiration.

Life Points: 3.

Ability Type: Neutral.

Ability: During phase 1 of his turn (his drawing phase), he draws 3 cards instead of 2.

Activation: During his drawing phase.

Cards enhanced by Pixie Pete's ability: Volcanic, Duel (when he plays it).

Cards more powerful when played against Pixie Pete: Jail, Dynamite, Duel (when played against him).

Ideal role: Sheriff.

Characters that counter Pixie Pete well: Jesse Jones (removing a card from his hand nullifies Pixie Pete's ability somewhat), Slab the Killer (his BANG! take 2 Missed! to avoid; it is unlikely that Pixie Pete as a 3 lifepoint character without a defensive ability will be able to evade the attack), Belle Star (the defensive cards that Pixie Pete has a knack at drawing and playing in front of him will not protect him against Belle Star's attack)

2-player value: Excellent. Drawing 3 cards is especially important at this point in the game, helping Pixie Pete find the right cards to protect himself and finish off his opponent.

General Strategy as Pixie Pete: Pixie Pete is somewhat like Black Jack, but he always draws 3 cards and never has to show any of them. Given, the possibility of drawing Wells Fargo, Stagecoach, etc., Pixie Pete can draw and play many cards on his turn. On the flip side, Pixie Pete has only 3 life points, which also means he has a 3 card limit. This places Pixie Pete in the strange position of being able to play more cards, but unable to store many cards up. Fortunately, Pixie Pete can use the blue cards and green cards from Dodge City that he can play in front of himself to his advantage (as they do not contribute to his card limit). So Pixie Pete should try not to make himself more of a target than he already is (players tend to see a character that draws 3 cards a turn as a threat): Pixie Pete should play as few offensive cards at this point as possible. He may opt to discard excess BANG! in the early game. In the mean time, Pixie Pete needs to gather cards to play in front of himself. Pixie Pete should also be able to nigh ensure that he has a BANG! and Missed! in his hand by the end of his turn (to protect Pixie Pete from the random BANG!, Indians!, or Gatling).

Once Pixie Pete has some defensive base in play in front of him, he can alter the mix in his hand to contain offensive combos. Pixie Pete may try to store a Volcanic, and hope to draw several BANG! during a future drawing phase, but this is a difficult thing to do with the 3 card limit. Once Pixie Pete have a decent offensive mix from the cards in your hand and in play in front of you, he should use an attack combo on an opponent. He doesn't need to worry too much about expending cards as he has a good chance of replenishing them on his next turn. Pixie Pete just needs to try to have some defenses in place once he unloads. If a player throws out a Dynamite, Pixie Pete will have a good chance of drawing a Cat Balou or Panic! (or other of their type), which he should seriously consider using on the Dynamite.

Playing against Pixie Pete: Pixie Pete one has a few clear weaknesses. First, he is a 3 life point character, which makes him much more vulnerable to Dynamite, offensive attack combos, and having cards discarded or stolen from his hand. Also, unlike most 3 life point characters, Pixie Pete's ability is not clearly defensive. This makes Pixie Pete far more vulnerable during the early game, before he has a bunch of blue and green cards in play in front of him to protect him. So you may choose to try to eliminate Pixie Pete at this time, because he will quickly gain the cards needed to protect himself with drawing 3 a turn. However, it is not wise to just eliminate a possible team mate because you fear his ability. Pixie Pete's ability does allow him to have a more powerful offense with drawing 3 cards a turn, but the card limit does curb the effectiveness of him storing up a Volcanic. Pay close attention to Pixie Pete's number of cards in his hand, and make sure to attack him when he is below what his limit allows. If you coordinate well with team mates, you should be able to knock off one of his life points. Pixie Pete's ability, like other card drawing abilities, is only active during his turn. Thus, Jail is more effective in neutralizing Pixie Pete than many other characters.

Return to the BANG! Character Guides Portal

Friday, May 6, 2011

Character Guide: Belle Star

Character Name
: Belle Star. 

Inspired by: Belle Starr, an American Outlaw and crack shot, who joined the Cherokee Starr clan, from whom she learned how to organize and execute cattle rustling and robberies. She was brutally murdered at the age of 40. 

Life Points: 4. 

Ability Type: Offensive. 

Ability: "During her turn, cards in play in front of other players have no effect." As the rulebook explains, "This applies both to the blue as well as to the green-bordered cards." Activation: Whenever it is her turn. 

Cards enhanced by Belle Star's ability: Volcanic, Panic!, Punch, BANG!, all guns 

Cards more powerful when played against Belle Star: Jail. Cards less powerful when played against Belle Star: All defensive green cards, Barrel, Mustang, Hideout. 

Ideal roles: Outlaw, Deputy. 

2-player value: Excellent; the distance modifiers and Barrels that are very useful at this point in this game only benefit Belle Star. 

Characters Belle Star Counters Well: Lucky Duke (an ineffective Barrel against her attacks is devastating to Lucky Duke's ability), Vulture Sam (he cannot turtle up well against her attacks or get big defensive bonuses against her when other players are eliminated), Pixie Pete (3 life point character and the defensive cards he plays in front of himself have no effect on her turn). 

Characters that Counter Belle Star Well: Jourdonnais (has nigh a permanent Barrel), Apache Kid (Ability nullifies diamonds played against him), Elena Fuente (Her ability applies to defensive cards in her hand), Molly Stark (Her ability applies to defensive cards in her hand), Calamity Janet (She can use BANG! in her hand to defend herself against Belle Star's attacks), El Gringo

General Strategy as Belle Star: Belle Star is a very powerful offensive character because the cards in front of other players have no effect on her when it is her turn. Thus, players cannot effectively use cards from in play in front of them when Belle Star fires at them. I suppose they could choose to use them anyway, but then they would simply be a waste. Barrels could be "drawn!", but no heart "drawn!" could provide the necessary Missed! This devastates Lucky Duke, who cannot profit from the 2 cards drawn on Barrels when Belle Star fires at him. Thus, Belle Star is a character who is a great counter to players who have had time to build up a strong defensive base and get many cards in play in front of them. Belle Star can help deal out some serious damage to a Sheriff if she is an Outlaw. However, this also makes Belle Star a bigger target by her opponents. They will be more likely to simply take hits from Belle Star where necessary to cover damage from other players, but also shoot at her more as she is a higher threat to their strategy. Thus, the general strategy for Belle Star should be to lie a little low and gain some defensive cards herself at the beginning of the game. Since building up defensive cards will benefit her and not her opponents, Belle Star shouldn't worry too much about doing this. She should strive to gain a Barrel, distance modifiers, and defensive green cards. Of course, Belle Star does need to be concerned about the status of her team mates, if she has any, so she cannot wait forever. 

When Belle Star shifts to the offensive, there are a few things she should try to do. Belle Star should try to have at least 2 attack cards to use against an opponent at once. The green-bordered attack cards can help with this. Since other players are bound to be more certain to have Missed!/Dodge in their hands when Belle Star is in play, Belle Star could profit from using cards that steal or discard cards from other players' hands (Panic!, Cat Balou, Can Can, Conestoga, Brawl, Rag Time). When using these cards, she should have a good chance of nabbing a Missed!, Dodge, or Beer from their hands. After depleting her opponent's hand, Belle Star should follow up with 1 or more attack cards to deal out damage. There are plenty of useful combos, but the best tend to pair an Indians!/Duel with another attack card. To maximize the effectiveness of her combo, Belle Star should pay attention to the cards she was able to remove from her opponent's hand before attacking them.

Except when Paul Regret is in play, Belle Star can always steal cards from the players adjacent to her with a Panic! She should try to keep a Panic! in her hand for when one of them gathers an extra useful card in play in front of them (especially the Volcanic). 

Playing against Belle Star: While Belle Star is very effective on the offense, she doesn't have any benefit on the defense. Belle Star's ability only applies on her turn, so all of the offensive cards you have in play in front of you (green attack cards, scope/binoculars, guns) will affect Belle Star. With this in mind, recognize that taking time to build up defenses is really only to Belle Star's advantage. She will be able to use her ability to nullify your defenses, but you cannot nullify hers. Thus, if it is clear that Belle Star is your opponent, it is not a bad idea to attack her in the early game. As with Willy the Kid, it can be good to put a shot her way just to see the way that Belle Star reacts, even if you do not have a good idea what role she is. This, of course, works better if you are the Sheriff. 

If Belle Star lives past the early game and she has built a defensive base, you will have to start worrying. You can blunt the edge on her ability to make an offensive push by throwing Belle Star in Jail (since her ability only works on her turn, she gets no benefit from it when she is in Jail), and by using Indians! and Duel against her. This is especially important when you are adjacent to Belle Star, since you cannot use your distance modifiers effectively against her. Missed! and Dodge become more important cards to have in your hand, as you cannot rely on Barrels and green defensive cards to protect you. Of course, Belle Star will respond to this by discarding and stealing cards from your hand. You should try to do likewise, while also being mindful of offensive green cards in front of Belle Star that you can nab. This should again get rid of ammo that Belle Star will use against you. Thus, your general strategy against Belle Star is to try to remove her attack power, keep her defenses low, and hit her with a strong offense yourself. This is not easy when Belle Star tends to have a stronger offensive ability than other characters. But fortunately, as listed above, there are several defensive characters that have an edge against Belle Star as well.

Character Guide: Elena Fuente

Character Name: Elena Fuente. 

Inspired by: No clear connection to any western character. The last name does echo the Fuentes brothers in The Return of Ringo, some outlaws who took over the town of Mimbres and took over the town's gold. "Fuente" in Spanish means "fountain," associated with water, the ability to slip away. 

Life Points: 3. 

Ability Type: Defensive. 

Ability: "She can use any card as a Missed!" This may seem to indicate that she can also use cards from in play in front of her as Missed!, but the Dodge City rules clarify that "she can use any card in her hand as a Missed!" So she cannot use cards in play in front of her as Missed!. 

Activation: Whenever she has the opportunity to use a Missed!. 

Cards enhanced by Elena Fuente's ability: All cards except Missed! and Dodge. 

Cards more powerful when played against Elena Fuente: Cat Balou, Panic!, Rag Time, Conestoga, Can Can, Brawl, Dynamite, and Duel. 

Cards less effective when played against Elena Fuente: Attack cards (besides Indians! and Duel) and Volcanic. 

Ideal roles: Sheriff, Renegade. 

Characters that counter Elena Fuente well: Jesse Jones (can remove cards that can be played as Missed! from her hand), Slab the Killer (his BANG! take 2 Missed! to avoid; this is a lot of cards out of Elena's hand when she is a 3 lifepoint character).

Characters that Elena Fuente counters well: Belle Star (her defensive cards come from her hand, so that Star's ability is not very effective against her), Willy the Kid (as long as she has cards in her hand she can avoid Willy's BANG! spray), and Doc Holyday (she can avoid his 2 BANG! a turn). 

2-player value: Excellent. Since there are no longer effective Beers, abilities allowing you to avoid shots are especially useful. Remember that Elena can still used the ineffective Beers as Missed!

General Strategy as Elena Fuente: While Elena Fuente is not bound to get eliminated in the first round, she shouldn't take many risks that get people's attention. Elena Fuente's goal should be to get cards in play in front of her, and depending on her role, aim for cards of more of an offensive or defensive type. So that Elena Fuente doesn't have to expend so many cards from her hand when shot, she should try to get an Iron Plate, Sombrero, Ten Gallon Hat, or Barrel out there, and more importantly distance modifiers like Mustang and Hideout. A long distance gun is also a good idea, for when Elena Fuente does starting pulling the trigger, hopefully she will select a target that is in her range, but she is not in his. 

If Elena Fuente's role allows her to be conservative (Sheriff, Renegade), then she should try never to have less cards in her hand by the end of her turn than her card limit allows. That way Elena Fuente is ready for any onslaught that might come from some character's ability, or from a suddenly appearing Volcanic. Of the cards that Elena Fuente keeps in her hand, she should try to keep as many BANG! as possible. That way she is not only protected from normal enemy fire, but also the Indians! and Duels that other players are bound to play against her (as her ability only uses cards as Missed!, not BANG!). Elena Fuente will thus be prepared for these alternate attack strategies, and also be ready to shift to the offensive if a good opportunity arises. With duels, on the whole, Elena Fuente may wish to just take the hit instead of deplete cards that can be used as Missed! for future attacks. 

While having a Beer in Elena Fuente's hand isn't a bad idea to recover health when she takes a hit, she should not try to save the Beer once she has lost a life point. Her opponents are bound to try to steal or discard cards from her hand, and it would be a shame for her to lose a Beer when Elena Fuente could have recovered the life point. Thus, last second beers are not recommended for Elena Fuente. 

Dynamite is a terrifying risk for 3 life point Elena Fuente. She might want to steal or discard it to remove it from play whenever possible. 

Playing against Elena Fuente: Elena Fuente is a very difficult opponent to kill. Fortunately, there are some actions you can take that will be to your advantage. First, while you will be unable to kill Elena Fuente in the first round, it isn't a bad idea to try to knock Elena Fuente out quickly before she has many cards in play in front of her that make it difficult for others to attack her (defensive green cards or distance modifiers). If it is a slow game or if people really want to wait for players to reveal their roles, then this will not work very well against Elena Fuente. In that case, you will want to monitor very carefully Elena Fuente's card limit. If she is playing smartly, Elena Fuente will rarely over extend herself during her turn so that she almost always has 3 cards (unless she is Sheriff) in her hand by the end of her turn. However, if there is an instance where she goes below 3, take advantage of it. Attack her at these moments. If you are on a team, then hopefully your team mates will also pay attention to when Elena Fuente's card limit goes down. They should attack then as well, so that you have good coordinated attacks that will not only make Elena Fuente lose life points, but also make her take some time to recover her cards. 

You can best take advantage of low card limit moments for Elena Fuente in 2 ways. First, you can use other cards (and abilities) that will further diminish Elena Fuente's cards, such as using cards that can discard or steal cards from her hand (Cat Balou, Panic, Rag Time, Conestoga, Can Can, and Brawl). By doing so first, you will be much more likely of hitting her with your shots, and you may even gain more ammo to shoot her with (or a saved up Beer). Second, you can use cards that take off life points, but cannot be avoided by using Missed! Thus, Indians! are powerful against Elena Fuente, and Duels are also devastating for her. Elena Fuente needs BANG! to avoid these cards, and although she may have 1, it is unlikely that she can win a Duel against a 4 life point character playing a Duel on his turn, who is bound to have many more cards in his hand. 

If this isn't working for you, you can always throw out a Dynamite. While it is always risky, Elena Fuente cannot use her Missed! to avoid the Dynamite blast. As a 3 life point character, the Dynamite also has a good chance of eliminating Elena Fuente too.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Death Mesa: Player Aid

EDIT: The Aid has been edited to include the new 1.03 Patch rules. Last Testament explanation was also added.

EDIT: I fixed some typos and wording issues to the player aid. Thanks to the BANG! fans who have helped catch the errors.

I mentioned yesterday that I was working on a player aid for Death Mesa. I wanted to have a document that would be much easier for BANG! players to take to the game versus an unwieldy, full-color, 13-page PDF document.

Anyway, I finished the player aid today. The aid is a simple 2-sided trifold document that is designed to fit right inside a BANG! box (I am sure it will fit inside the Bullet as well). Just download the aid and print it out. Then cut along the edges, and fold the document along the lines. The aid provides a basic explanation of the rules, cards, and adjusted victory conditions. Here are shots of the 2 sides of the aid:

Death Mesa BANG! Player Aid Side 1

Death Mesa BANG! Player Aid Side 1

Download the Death Mesa Player Aid

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Death Mesa: New "Patch" 1.01

On the day I released the POD version of Death Mesa, I mentioned I would be updating some of the rules. I wanted to get these updates in before the first 11 people got their copies of Death Mesa. These changes have come from playtesting it with friends. I am hoping as more people play Death Mesa that they will file some new complaints that I can try to address and tweek in the rules book. Just leave a comment or e-mail me to give your complaint. I will try to create a support forum for Death Mesa soon.

As for the changes to Death Mesa, some of them are optional. If you find that a certain rule is problematic for you, I encourage you to try the alternative and see if it improves thing. As the playtesting sorts things out, I will suggest a new general rule for that. Anyway, on with the "patch" (download the new Guidebook; NOTE: this link has the update up to Patch 1.03):
  1. Reintroducing Vulture Sam: I don't like removing characters from a game just so that an expansion can work. Vulture Sam originally had been removed so that when characters were eliminated they would retain "buried goods" that could be handed off to the living. I found a new solution to keep Vulture Sam in the game when Death Mesa is being used. Vulture Sam picks all of the cards from the eliminated player like usual, but then the eliminated player draws the same amount of cards from the draw pile as the amount of cards the Vulture Sam picked up to constitute his buried goods. Thus, if Vulture Sam picked up 3 cards from in play in front of the eliminated player and 2 cards from his hand, the eliminated player would draw 5 cards to add to his buried goods.

  2. 1-Team Dead Men's Deck Card Rules: Originally, the Death Mesa Guidebook claimed that:
    When there is only 1 dead player (or the dead players are all of 1 team, whether Outlaws or Deputies) then to play any Dead Man’s Deck card the played cards’ value must be equal to or greater than 11 (normal black jack scoring here, so only an Ace is worth 11 on its own).
    This has been adjusted to be as follows:

    When there is only 1 dead player (or the dead players are all of 1 team, whether Outlaws, Deputies, or just a Renegade), to play any Dead Man’s Deck card the played card must either (1) be an Ace, or (2) have another Dead Man’s deck card discarded with it.

    If this is seen to be too slow/difficult still, an optional rule is:

    When there is only 1 dead player (or the dead players are all of 1 team, whether Outlaws, Deputies, or just a Renegade), to play any Dead Man’s Deck card the played card must either (1) be royal (J, Q, K, or A), or (2) have another Dead Man’s deck card discarded with it.

    The ghost should never have to wait too long to play a card now, and it simplifies adding up the values at this point. The Guidebook also had an added stipulation for 4-player games, where when there was only 1 Team eliminated that they had to play cards, which had values adding up to 14. This stipulation has been completely removed. Playtesters complained that it made it too hard for that 1 team.

  3. Change to the Seance Card: The card seance originally was explained thus:
    Seance. Pick 2 cards at random from the hand of a living player to be shown to another living player of your choice. The cards are passed face down between the 1 player and the other. No other players are to see the cards but that player you chose.
    To fit more thematically, this card has been changed so that the dead player first gets to the look at the cards, and then he shows them to another living player. Now it is more like the dead speaking to (and thus revealing the cards) to the living. The explanation for Seance is now as follows:
    Seance. Pick 2 cards at random from the hand of a living player. Look at them and then show them to another living player of your choice. The cards are passed face down to that player. No other players are to see the cards but that player you chose.

  4. Optional: Remove BANG! Discard: If ghosts are perceived as being too weak, you may remove the rule from the game, which allows living players to discard 1 card on their turns from ghosts by playing a BANG! I would recommend keeping this rule in play for at least the 4-player games.

  5. Optional: Change Renegade Victory Conditions: One playtester thought that it was too hard for the Renegade to win with many ghosts working against him. He thought that it would be easy for Outlaw(s) to swoop in and steal the victory. He suggested the following change: If the dead Outlaw team kills the Sheriff, then the Renegade and the Outlaw team win collectively. However, if the Renegade kills the Sheriff alone, he achieves ultimate victory alone. If you had this problem, you can institute this law yourself.

  6. Various Fixes: Made changes to various typos and awkward phrases. Added new information on methods of production, and updated the info on Robbers' Roost.

Download the new Death Mesa Guidebook