Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Character Guide: Flint Westwood

Flint Westwood BANG! card game character

Character Name: Flint Westwood.

Inspired by: Clint Eastwood, who played in famous roles such as Joe (the man with no name) in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Life Points: 4.

Ability Type: Neutral, although more powerful in an Offensive sense.

Ability: "During his turn, he may trade 1 card from hand with 2 cards at random from the hand of another player." The card from his hand is not at random. As the Notes card provided in the expansion explains, "The card from your hand is your choice, not at random."

Activation: During his phase 2, whenever he has at least 1 card in his hand. This ability may only be used once during his turn. This is only cleared up in the FAQ:
Q27. How many times can Flint Westwood use his ability during his turn?
A. Only once.

Cards enhanced by Flint Westwood's ability: BANG!, Indians!, Buffalo Rifle, Derringer, Knife, Pepperbox, Howitzer, Springfield, Punch, Gatling, Duel, Cat Balou, Brawl, Panic!, Rag Time, Can Can, Conestoga, and General Store.

Good roles for Flint Westwood: All.

Characters that counter Flint Westwood well: Jourdonnais (native defensive ability built in against Flint Westwood), somewhat El Gringo (after having cards stolen and taking a hit, he will steal a card back Flint Westwood), somewhat Slab the Killer (he only needs 1 BANG! to dish out damage), Calamity Janet (losing a BANG!/Missed! to Flint Westwood is less problematic when you can use them interchangeably), to some extent Pat Brennan (he can gather defensive cards to have in play, and remove Flint Westwood's offensive sight modifiers), at times Bill Noface (losing health to Flint Westwood can help his card drawing, which he can expend all mostly during his turn), Youl Grinner (Flint Westwood's card swapping ability won't work well against Youl, as forcing him to have fewer cards will just make Youl accumulate more until his turn), Teren Kill (native defense makes it difficult for Flint Westwood to finish him off, and less important for Teren Kill to have cards in his hand to be stolen), and John Pain (card swapping with him won't hurt him much if "draw!" cards are in play).

Characters that Flint Westwood counters well: Elena Fuente (His ability will remove at least 1 card she can use as a Missed!), Suzy Lafayette (He can stack in her hand a card that she cannot use during her turn--cards from the Missed! family), Willy the Kid (Flint Westwood can pillage his built up BANG! supply), Pixie Pete (destroys his card bonus ability, and weakens his defensive hand), Sid Ketchum/Doc Holyday (removes cards they can use to convert to regain life points/play BANG!), Tequila Joe (can steal his stored up Beer quite easily), Molly Stark (he can steal a majority of the cards that she would play out of turn for a bonus), Uncle Will (General Stores played point out to Flint Westwood who to steal from), Big Spencer (can remove any stored up life point modifiers/efficacious defensive cards from his hand), and Lee Van Kliff (deplete BANG! and replicatable cards from his hand).

2-player value: Excellent. Card advantage will help him a lot here. However, his rival would be wise to store non-efficacious Beer in their hand for Flint Westwood to pick up.

General Strategy as Flint Westwood: Flint Westwood is another very OP character added in Wild West Show. Think of him as a better version of Jesse Jones meeting a better version of Pixie Pete. Flint Westwood can always draw 3 cards a turn like Pixie Pete: 2 from the deck and another from another player (the 1 card for 2 balances out a 1 card gain). This works well in providing him the additional card cost for cards like Springfield, Brawl, and Rag Time. However, unlike Pixie Pete he has 4 life points. Secondly, his third card bonus significantly hurts another player. Like Jesse Jones, he steals from a player's hand. He steals 2 at random instead of 1, and while he must give 1 card from his hand to that player, that card is of his choice. This means he can pass a card that will not be that advantageous to that player (or to himself) for 2 that that player has been storing up. In essence, Flint Westwood is quite the hooker.

Due to being OP, Flint Westwood should expect that he will be a greater target. If Flint Westwood is on a team, it will likely be to his advantage to declare his allegiances through his actions earlier on, so that his own allies do not try to weaken him out of fear. Of course, he may still wish to wait somewhat before revealing his role through his actions, so that his allies have some time to build a hand/card base, but it should be quick. When using his ability in the early game, Flint Westwood needs to recognize that it will make enemies. Try to swap cards with those who cannot reach Flint Westwood with BANG!, and swap with multiple players so that the pilfering is equally balanced. Flint Westwood doesn't want to hurt your allies too much, after all. When swapping, Flint Westwood should always have 2 things in mind: (1) Do I need this card? (2) Is this card very useful for the target player's setup? The answers to these questions should typically be "no" if Flint Westwood is going to swap out a card for 2 of another player's.

While role revelations are still getting sorted out, Flint Westwood should try to get some defensive cards in play. General Store can be useful to gather powerful cards. He can first pick up a useful card for himself, then use his swapping ability to have a good chance to steal a powerful card picked up by another player. Defensive cards in the hand are less important to focus on gathering. Flint Westwood tends to pick up Missed! with your card swapping abilities since those cards are defensive, played out of turn, and cannot easily be discarded. So gathering those is actually not that difficult. If Flint Westwood needs a Missed!, he should swap with someone he hasn't swapped with in a while. If he wants to get rid of a Missed!, he shouldn't swap up with a player he is trying to kill. Otherwise, Flint Westwood knows that firing a BANG! at him will immediately be ineffective.

Once a defensive base is established, Flint Westwood can shift towards using his swapping ability in a very offensively powerful way. Upon picking his target, Flint Westwood can look at what attack cards he has in his hand that he wants to use against his rival. Then, he can swap out a card that cannot defend against his attack cards for 2 that potentially could. A good card for Flint Westwood to swap out would be a weaker gun card if his opponent already has a stronger gun card in play. If he has other discard/steal cards in his hand, then he can deplete his opponent's hand even further. After this, he can now play his offensive cards. This should likely make his target take significant damage. For instance, say Flint Westwood had a Duel, BANG!, Indians!, and Missed! in his hand. He could swap out the Missed! for 2 cards from his rival. He picks up a Missed! and a BANG!. Then, he plays an Indians! and the Duel. With no BANG! in his hand, the rival takes 2 hits. Flint Westwood also knows afterwards that his opponent has a Missed! in his hand; he should use this knowledge for future decisions. He should be able to finish off opponents pretty quickly this way. When he needs Missed! to cover himself, simply swap from other players' hands as needed.

Playing against Flint Westwood: Flint Westwood is a very strong rival, but there are some things you can do to play well against him. First, recognize that Flint Westwood's ability only targets cards that are in your hand. As a result, it will be key for you to have cards in play to combat him. This means gathering green offensive and defensive cards, so that you can prepare against his attack after swapping with you. If he grabs your BANG! and plays Indians! or Duel you are out of luck, but you can protect yourself against his other attacks through green defensive cards, Barrel, and defensive sight modifiers (Mustang, Hideout).

Also, since he tends to grab half of your out of turn hand (potentially more if you have a 3 card limit, potentially less if you have 5+ card limit), do not store up cards that you typically would. For instance, there is sometimes a desire to store up Beer for "last chance" opportunities. Since Flint Westwood has such a good chance of nabbing that away, use the Beer as soon as it can be efficacious. That way he will not be stealing it from you. Other powerful cards such as Panic! and Cat Balou you should not store up. Use them on your turn, or expect Flint Westwood to steal them from you and then use them immediately on you again to further devastate your hand or the cards you have in play.

You may try to build a hand that is more resistant to the Flint Westwood's card swapping. For instance, you could try to keep duplicates of cards in play in front of Flint Westwood in your hand, so that Flint Westwood grabs them but cannot use them. The difficulty with this is that he could steal the other cards in your hand and leave you with just the duplicates: then you are wide open. So that strategy is risky at best. What of other hands to build? Since he grabs about 50% of your cards, the most resistant hand would consist of 2 Missed! and 2 BANG! if you are a 4 card limit character. However, it will be rare for you to be able to have such a hand. Building up the Missed! cards may or may not be that difficult. Upon drawing them, you cannot get rid of them easily. This means they will tend to build up in your hand. As a result, you will have to expect Flint Westwood to steal them. This isn't too problematic if Flint Westwood is not being attacked himself, since he will likely be swapping Missed! from his hand to gather cards. When he is being attacked, he will be less likely to hand out the Missed!, so then you need to be more concerned. This is where your defensive cards in play will be very useful. BANG! are more frequently drawn than Missed!, and with them you will have to decide whether to expend them so Flint Westwood does not pick them up, or keep them in your hand as a defense. If you have 2 BANG!, I recommend keeping them in your hand defensively. If you have 1, I recommend expending it. Of course, part of that decision will depend on the other characters and rivals that are in the game. Not having BANG! in your hand does open you up to special attacks.

Some last considerations will be obvious: since Flint Westwood's card swapping ability applies during his turn, placing him in Jail can give your reprieve from his ability for a round. When Flint Westwood (or anyone else) plays a General Store, be careful what you pick up. Flint Westwood will be examining the cards drawn by other players, and if they are powerful he will probably try to use his card swapping ability on them. If you are before him in the order, there is nothing to worry about as long as you play or put into play that card on your turn. If you are after him in the order, all bets are off. If you have what he wants, you may be his target.

Character Rebalance: If you think Flint Westwood is too OP (he is), try out some of these rebalances:
  • Once during his turn, he may select 2 cards at random from a player's hand. He may exchange a card from his hand for 1 of the selected cards. Otherwise, the selected cards are returned to their owner.

  • Once during his turn, he may discard a card from his hand to draw 1 card at random from the hand of another player.

  • Once during his turn, he may give 1 card from his hand to another player. Then, he selects 2 cards at random from that player's hand. He keeps all brown cards; all others are returned.

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  1. Can Flint Westwood trade with a player with fewer then 2 cards in there hand as a manor of passing a powerful card to an ally?

    1. He can not trade if a player only has 1 card. His power requires that the target for his trade have at least 2 cards to trade to Flint Eastwood. This is very specific in his power description, "During his turn, he may trade 1 card from hand with 2 cards at random from the hand of another player."