Monday, November 21, 2011

More Accomplice Ideas

I have finished a few more ideas for accomplices. This is just the initial phase where I try to only strike down ideas that clearly don't work. General balancing of them will take some time.

As for production, I am tempted to make it an 18 card deck, but have another accomplice on the card backs. This maximizes the printing value. Thoughts? Can you see any problems with doing it this way? Will someone try to cheat and switch their accomplice mid-game? But someone call always try to cheat if they wish and this seems like a less plausible way of doing it (more likely to get caught). Anyway, here the new ideas are below:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Valley of Shadows: Group Shipping Order to the USA

EDIT (03/14/2012): Order has still been stalled due to Martin Blazsko (Valley of Shadow's designer) not giving me a correction of my translation and not giving me information on possible group deal pricing with ALBI. Sorry, this has been out of my hands.

EDIT (02/15/2012): To receive your own deck, e-mail me at with your physical addresses. That will allow me to calculate the cost of shipping to your address from my location after I receive the decks from Martin Blazko, and thus the total cost. Thus, your cost is: Cost of Deck(s) + (# of Decks you want)/20 of international shipping cost + local US shipping to your house + any additional optional fees (stickers, sticker placements). Payment can be done 1 of 2 ways: via money order, or by "donating" to me via PayPal (bottom near the top of the right hand column of this website). Of course, do not pay until you know the total cost. Thanks!

The official Czech expansion to BANG!, Valley of Shadows, has been out for a couple of months now. Unfortunately, the publisher only ships to the Slovakia and the Czech Republic. I have been talking with the expansion designer, Martin Blasko, to ship some over to me in the United States. The expansion costs $7+shipping, which will be determined by the amount of decks shipped. I am hoping to get a group order on this; it will help cut down on the costs of international shipping. The plan will basically be to get a bunch of people committed to get decks of Valley of Shadows. We will divide the costs of shipping. I will pay for the whole order and have them all shipped to my address, but only after people have donated their share of the cost to me via Paypal (look at the Donate button on the right hand column of the site). After the decks are shipped to me, I will ship them on to the rest of the group.

I have revised the English translation of Valley of Shadows with Martin Blasko. I plan to have this translation printed on stickers that can be applied to the Czech cards. You can do this yourself when you get your deck, or if you donate an extra buck or so, I will apply the stickers to the cards for you before I ship them to you. Any interested parties?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Accomplices Expansion

News (11/21/11): Rewrote character drafting rules, hoping to bring more clarity. Diagrams will be provided later.

News (11/20/11): Revised how the extra cards are stored up in the character drafting; they now are put into play before the game has even begun. Blue cards are self-explanatory. Brown, purple, and orange cards will function like green cards for simplicity's sake.

I have been working on another short expansion to BANG!. My first expansion, Death Mesa, worked on the player elimination aspect to the game. My second, Robbers' Roost, worked on player interaction and increased gameplay out of turn. This third expansion has a simpler goal: increasing the variety of the game and changing the way characters are distributed at the beginning of the game.

The main way that I hope to do this is through introducing "accomplices" to the game. An "accomplice" is like a character in having a special ability. However, this ability is far weaker, and the accomplice also has no life points. Each player receives an accomplice paired with a character, the accomplice's ability compounding with the main character. This allows for many interesting combinations of abilities that will provide players with no ways of experiencing the game. I have decided what I want to call these "accomplices": accomplices (of course), helpers, followers, partners, companions, henchmen, or cohorts. You will have to tell me your thoughts.

I have created a more unique look for the accomplices. Their cards are oriented horizontally, and the art flows over the card, instead of being in a box in the top center. I haven't nailed down exactly how I want them to look, but this is what I am working with so far. Below is 10 accomplice examples, with some abilities I am considering to include.

Accomplices in BANG!

The difficulty has been of course to identify abilities that are useful, but not too useful. Also, I have to make sure that no combinations are too powerful, contradictory, or superfluous. For instance, it would be stupid to have an accomplice that allows you to play an Ace as a Missed! If that accomplice was paired with Elena Fuente, she would have no extra bonus. To help balance the fact that some pairings will work better than others, I have created a new character drafting method, which is largely based upon the method of picking races in Small World.

(1) The appropriate roles for the number of players are randomly dealt. The Sheriff reveals his role; the others remain hidden. The playing card deck is shuffled.

(2) The character and accomplice decks are both shuffled. Reveal 4 characters at random and lay them face up in a single column. Place the remaining characters face down, in a single stack, at the bottom of the column. Do the same with the accomplices, placing one to the left of each revealed character. Stack the rest of the accomplices in a pile face down to the left of the character stack. You should now have 4 character and accomplice combos face up on the table.

(3) A player is selected to go first. Have all players guess a card's alphanumeric value (2-10, J, K, Q, or A), but not a card's suit. "Draw!" the card on top of the playing deck. Whichever player is closest to the "drawn!" value goes first. Put the "drawn!" card in the discard pile.

(4) That player selects one character and accomplice combo, from among the 4 visible on the table. The cost of each combo is determined by its position in the column. The first combo, located at the top of the column, is free. Each of the other combos, as you move in succession down the column, cost 1 additional playing card. That cost is paid by the player dropping 1 of the playing cards (that he would typically start the game with) face down to the left of each of the combos situated above the combo he wishes to pick. These cards are provided from the playing deck.

If the combo a player selects contains some playing cards (dropped by players who previously passed up this combo), the player pockets these cards. He must still drop 1 of his own playing cards on each of the combos located above the one he selects (if any), however.

(5) The player places his combo selection in front of him. Any cards he gained through the combo selection are put into play in front of him. Since these cards may be brown, orange, or purple cards, such card colors when put into play are considered green cards. Their effects may be stored up to be used in or out of turn as the effects dictate.

(6) The player draws playing cards from the deck equivalent to his life points minus any cards he expended on character and accomplice combo selection.

(7) Finally, the player replenishes the column of combos available to others. He slides existing combos (and the playing cards to the left of them, if any) up one position in the column, so as to fill the void, and reveals a new combo from the top of the stack, if appropriate. There should thus always be 4 combos visible to all players, on the table.

When every player has selected a character and accomplice combo, remove all remaining characters and accomplices. Remaining playing cards spent for combos are put into the discard pile for playing cards. The game then begins with the Sheriff's turn, and proceeds like usual.

One thing I also like about this expansion is that it is easily made with a POD. The unusual size of the accomplices won't matter since they are their own set of cards, much like the Dead Men's Deck in Death Mesa. Any feedback on this accomplice idea?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Revised Robbers' Roost Guidebook Available

I completely recreated the Robbers' Roost Guidebook. It now has the most up to date information on the rules for the orange and purple modules. I have added several examples of how orange cards are resolved and played in different situations. The Guidebook also contains detailed explanations of the new and revised playing cards and characters. I have addressed questions about how to play certain Robbers' Roost cards in specific scenarios, as have been asked in the forums. Besides this, I have added a new method of production. Finally, there have been a few tweeks to some playing cards and characters (Jack West--now named Pat Barrett, Laura Billion, Lela Devere, Porter Rockwall, and Confiscate). The 8.5" x 11" playing card sheets have been reuploaded with these adjustments.

Now that I believe I have adjusted a little more to being a new parent, I should be able to dedicate some more time to the BANG! Blog. I am excited to get the RR POD out, as well as write more on Gold Rush, Valley of Shadows, and the multiplayer, multicross-enabled BANG! video game. Expect more posts soon!

Download the new Robbers' Roost Guidebook here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gold Rush: BGG Interview with Roberto Corbelli @ Essen Spiel 2011

The following interview with Roberto Corbelli lets you see a lot of the pieces inside the upcoming Gold Rush expansion. Corbelli explains how Gold Rush adds economics to BANG! with the gold nuggets and equipment cards they card purchase. He runs through the rules that are in the expansion, as well as the Shadow Gunslinger Variant. At the end of the interview he reveals that Gold Rush will be available in the United States at the beginning of next year. Just a 1000 printing run had been made for the conference. Of interest, he shows all of the character cards. I zoomed in on the video, and have the English for all of the character abilities:

Simeon Picos: Each time he loses 1 life point, he takes 1 gold nugget.

Raddie Snake: During his turn, he may discard 1 gold nugget to draw 1 card up to 3 times.

John McCloud: He may draw the top equipment card from the deck by discarding 2 gold nuggets.

Jacky Murieta: During his turn, he may pay 2 gold nuggets to play an extra BANG!

Madam Yto: Each time a Beer card is played, she draws 1 card from the deck.

Don Bell: At the end of his turn, "draw!" If Hearts or Diamonds, he plays an extra turn.

Dutch Will: He draws 2 cards, discards 1, and takes 1 gold nugget.

Pretty Luzena: Once per turn, she may buy any 1 equipment at a cost reduced by 1 gold nugget.