Friday, August 12, 2011

Robbers' Roost: Character Edits and Playtesting Request

I have reworded and adjusted the abilities of several Robbers' Roost characters. This was done to avoid confusion, as well as for balance. Here are the changes:

Lil' Sure Shot: She carries 2 guns by default (2 Colt .45), and can fire both on her turn. She can play 2 gun cards, even if they are duplicates. Once she has 2 gun cards in play, only 1 BANG! is needed to fire both.

Adjustments here make her more competitive with Willy the Kid. Willy can play any number of BANG! at distance 1 at the beginning of the game. Lil' Sure shot can do 2 at distance 1 at the beginning of the game. A gun card will increase Willy's range for all his BANG!; a gun card increases Lil' Sure Shot's range for 1 of her BANG!. However, once she has 2 gun cards, only 1 BANG! is needed to fire both her guns. Finally, to fit more thematically were Lil' Sure Shot's dual-wielding ability, I specify that she may have a duplicate gun card in front of her.

Queen Anne: She may discard 2 cards with bang! symbols to discard a card from any player she sees within distance 2.

Earlier, I adjusted her ability so that she had to discard 2 BANG!, but I have broadened it so that it applies to any 2 cards with bang! symbols. These can be from her hand or ones she has in play (green cards). So, she can use her ability slightly more often (at least without nixing all of her BANG!), but still at the expense of knocking out her fire power.

Laura Billion: After she uses a green, brown, or purple card, place the card in front of her. At the end of her turn, she may select 2 and “draw!” On royals, Laura draws the 2 into her hand at the beginning of her next turn.

Laura's ability is now optional, and the "drawing!" (like in the previous change) only occurs once (this helps balance her better against John Pain). So that she does not get an undue obscene benefit (5 cards gained by the "draw!"), I have made it so she can only receive 2 of her choice.

Porter Rockwall (previously Porter Rockwell): He may discard 2 cards to discard a BANG! or play a BANG! at any player, regardless of distance. BANG! that are played do contribute to his BANG! limit.

Simple rewording for clarity's sake.

Anne Rogers: At the start of her turn, Anne can copy the effect of a blue card in front of another player, so that it is as if she possesses its benefit. At the start of her next turn, this benefit disappears.

Anne's ability and wording was changed, so as to avoid any complications with duplicate card "possession" (if she copies a gun card, did she lose her previous weapon? What happened if she copied a Mustang and had a Mustang?). Now, she copies the effect of the blue card. This gives her some interesting stacking bonuses: she could have a Mustang in play and copy another player's Mustang to be seen by others at a distance +2. She could have a Volcanic out and copy a Winchester. Then, she could keep her Volcanic, but choose to shoot at a player she sees at distance 5. If this was done, she could only fire 1 BANG! for her turn.

Maggie Mae: If the second card she draws is royal, Maggie may swap a card she has in play for a card another has in play. Maggie must show that the second card she drew was royal immediately if she wishes to use this ability.

Mostly reworded her ability, but I wanted to point out some powerful results of her ability that I need to spell out in the guidebook. A powerful, but not obvious, consequence of her ability is how she can benefit from green and purple cards. The swapping of the cards does not mean that she steals the card and then plays it. The card garnered from swapping remains in play the whole time. This means she can swap for a green card and use it that turn. Similarly, swapping for a purple card means the immediate effect will not occur, only the latent at the beginning of her next turn. This is extremely beneficial for avoiding initial effects requiring a sacrifice, such as Investment, Loan, and Moonshine. Thus, she could hurt a player significantly by swapping out a card for 1 of those 3. She would get the highly beneficial latent effect without the initial sacrifice, and the player she swapped with still had to pay the initial cost!

Finally, there is the issue of Jack West. I had created a special ability for a character that will be used in the upcoming Czech expansion published by Albi (Valley of Shadows). I don't mind the overlap, but to make Robbers' Roost as unique as possible for all players, I thought every ability should try to be unique. As a result, I am working on a new character ability. I would like your feedback on which one you like most.

  1. The first possibility is a resistance to steals/discards. I could see this coming in 1 of 2 forms: (a) Whenever another player tries to steal or discard a card he has in play, Jack takes that card into his hand. A card is selected at random from his hand to be stolen or discarded. If the initially selected card is not chosen, it returns to play. (b) Whenever another player tries to steal or discard a card from his hand or in play, Jack chooses which card he loses. However, the chosen card must be in play if the initially selected card was in play; likewise, if the initially selected card was in his hand.

  2. Another possibility is a card disabling ability. It would run something along the lines of: "During his turn, Jack may discard 2 cards to disable any card (take it out of play). Flip the card over, so its back is showing to indicate that it is disabled. The card may be reactivated by its owner discarding 2 cards on his turn. However, Jack may reactivate his cards at no cost on his turn." Disabling is a new effect that has not been used in BANG! before. It nullifies a card temporarily, but does not remove it from its owner. However, it does take it out of play, and so a player may put in play another copy of that card. If the disabled card was reactivated, one of them would have to be discarded. Also, being out of play, the disabled card cannot be stolen or discarded. This is beneficial for Jack, since he could disable his Volcanic, and play a different gun card to reach a player further away. Also, he could prepare a backup Mustang or Barrel, in case he has one stolen/discarded.

  3. A card drawing ability: "If he plays and uses cards of only 1 suit during his phase 2, he draws a card at the end of his phase 3. If the drawn card is the same suit he was playing and using during phase 2, he draws another."

  4. A powerful defensive/offensive ability: "Anytime Jack is hit by another player, he may "draw!" On royals, his attacker loses a life point." Jack would definitely only have 3 life points if he was given this ability. This defensive ability could be inverted, so that "Anytime Jack hits another player, that player must "draw!" On spades, that player loses another life point."

Any opinions on which 1 you think is best? I prefer one of the first or second options myself, but I am interested to see what you think.


To the next item of business! I need to have the Robbers' Roost characters playtested before I have people printing them off using printing services. If I updated 2 8.5" x 11" card sheets with them, would anyone bother printing them out, playing with them, and reporting how the play tests go?


  1. #1 seems best suited to a character card.

    Inverted #4 has potential, too.

    Could Option #1 be as simple as "cannot have cards in play or in hand stolen"? Essentially immune from Panic/RagTime, but still open to CatBalou.

  2. I don't like full immunity cards, personally. There should be still a chance that a card of a certain type can affect them. And while immunity from theft is definitely useful, it only applies to what: 7/120 cards? I think it needs the wider application to discards/abilities too, to be really useful.

  3. #1:Option a) is simply too weak. He still loses a card.It doesn't matter which one it was as much as his opponent succeeded in taking a card from him. Option b) was put into Boot Hill for a reason. You probably already know but a new character for VoS is Henry Block:Each time a player takes a card from him, that player gets Bang!ed. Now that's resistance.
    #2:I'm not sure how this helps him. It's basically Jack discarding 2 cards from hand to make his opponent discard two cards from hand. It's not exactly a "beneficial move" for him, since he must discard 2 cards to disable him own cards. It sure is an interesting concept though.
    #3:This certainly needs more prodding at. He would be okay in 1vs1, but a definite low-tier in bigger games. I'd cross this one out.
    #4:If you're gunning at this, take the offensive one. Sounds like the best you've got so far. Good Luck.
    Post, Traveler

  4. I mostly like option 1.a, but I would change the wording so that using the ability is optional. Imagine a player attempts to discard something in play in front of me that I don't really care about (something like a green bordered Missed card). That card is then shuffled into my hand, and the player ends up randomly discarding a cad I do care about (like a Barrel, Mustang, Volcanic, etc.). I wouldn't want to be forced to jeopardize valuable cards.

    Option 1.b is, I think, perfect as is. Not too powerful, since it doesn't prevent the discard entirely, but has the benefit of discouraging discard attempts.

    Option 2 is interesting, but I fear it would overcomplicate the game (or at least add more complication to an already complex game). I don't have a dedicated group of people I play Bang! with, so I usually consider new rules/expansions in terms of how difficult it would be to explain to a new player. Sure, I could just keep this character separate, but then why do I even have him? On the other hand, it is only the one character with the ability, so it might not be too bad.

    Option 3 is also interesting. I'd like to play test it. At first I thought maybe it would never come in to play, and thus be pointless. But if you only play 1 card during phase 2, it's guaranteed, and if you play 2, it's still relatively likely they will be of the same suit. Could be a lot of fun.

    For option 4, either defensively or offensively, I would say instead of losing a life, the player becomes the target of a Bang!, giving the player at least a chance to avoid the extra damage.

  5. How about every time he loses a card due to stealing or discarding, he takes the card into his hand.

    Ex: someone Panics one of his cards, then he takes the Panic from the discard pile.

    Ex2: someone Cat Balous one of his cards, then he takes Cat Balou from the discard pile.