Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Character Guide: Teren Kill

Teren Kill BANG! card game character

Character Name
: Teren Kill.

Inspired by: Terrence Hill, an Italian action who starred in many spaghetti westerns.

Life Points: 3.

Ability Type: Defensive.

Ability: "Each time he would be eliminated 'draw!': if it is not Spades, Teren stays at 1 life point, and draws 1 card." It should be clarified that this moment is upon his "would be elimination," so a player can choose to play a last chance Beer and not undergo the "draw!" (see WWS FAQ Q18). However, the instruction cards explain that if a person voluntary foregoes playing the last chance Beer and "draws!" for Teren Kill's ability instead, he cannot afterwards play the last chance Beer if it is unsuccessful.

Activation: When he would otherwise be eliminated.

Cards less effective when played against by Teren Kill: Dynamite, and all damaging cards to some extent.

Cards more effective when played by Teren Kill Dynamite (he is less likely to be eliminated by its random mechanism than his peers).

Good role for Teren Kill: Renegade.

Characters that counter Teren Kill well: John Pain (for everyone of Teren's "draws!," he has a good chance of picking up a card too), Lee Van Kliff/Willy the Kid/Doc Holyday (they can easily make 2+ attacks during their turns, and so have a good chance of eliminating Teren Kill when he is down to his last life point), and most importantly Kit Carlson (he has a fair chance of stacking a spade against Teren Kill when he is at his last life point, and then attack him; if Teren has to "draw!" he is guaranteed to die).

Characters that Teren Kill counters well: Greg Digger/Herb Hunter/Vulture Sam (these characters' abilities activate upon player elimination; since Teren Kill will tend to not be eliminated easily, it makes it more difficult upon them), to some extent Pat Brennan/Belle Star (They can ignore (on Star's turn)/remove cards in play in front of Teren Kill, but it won't affect his native defensive ability, not to mention the card he draws into his hand if his "draw!" succeeds), and Slab the Killer (Slab's attack still only adds up to 1 life point lost, and so while it might blunt Teren Kill's defensive cards, it doesn't affect his ability).

2-player value: Excellent. His life retention ability will be very helpful when his opponent can no longer utilize Beer to regain life points.

General Strategy as Teren Kill: Teren Kill's ability gives him a 75% chance of remaining alive and drawing a card when he would be eliminated. The "drawing!" for this outcome does interact with event cards (Curse causing his immediate demise) and characters abilities (John Pain's, for instance). Of course, when Teren Kill is attacked in succession during another player's turn, his chances of survival are above 75% on the whole. The "draws!" probabilities remain relatively the same (the "drawing!" mechanism never gives a perfect a priori probability due to it only applying to the values of the cards remaining in the deck, so it is different from rolling a 4-sided die; cards in play are not reshuffled back into the deck until discarded, also changing probabilities), but the card drawn by Teren Kill upon a successful "draw!" increases his chances of survival. Thus, he could gain a card that can ward off BANG! or Indians!, or gain a Beer to play in a last chance sense. If a card takes off 2+ life points, Teren Kill does not have to "draw!" for each life point, just once. See Q12 of the Wild West Show FAQ:
Q12. If Teren Kill is eliminated by Dynamite, how many times does he have to "draw!" to stay alive? A. Just one time; if it is a card of Spades he is out, otherwise he stays at 1 life point (and draws a card from the deck).
While this defensive ability is quite powerful, it does have an irritating side to it: it only activates as a "last resort" before elimination. Any moment before then, his ability has almost no application. And he doesn't want to intentionally lose life points to use the ability since this move affects his card limit. He, of course, will try to build a hand and get cards in front of him that don't require him to use his ability. This, in essence, makes his ability pretty boring until he gets to his last breath, and it could still be boring if on his first "draw!" he gets a spade. If he survives, he has a fair chance of recovering another life point with likely having 3-4 cards in his hand at the beginning of his next turn. This make the card limit issue slightly less problematic. There is one exception to the Teren Kill's rather bland gameplay: Dynamite. Teren Kill should try to play it whenever possible. Since the chance of it exploding on him and eliminating him is quite low in proportion to the other players, and the damage it inflicts on others is so great, Dynamite is Teren Kill's best friend. Of course, this works far less effectively if Teren has to worry about blowing up his team mates, so he should consider the mix of player roles.

Playing against Teren Kill: Teren Kill is not a powerful character in an offensive sense. With a defensive ability that only activates upon his nigh elimination, and a 3 card limit, it is relatively easy to knock down his life points/card limit. But that shouldn't make you suppose that Teren Kill is weak. His stubborn persistence to live makes the battle with him one of attrition. His weaker offensive edge can still take you in the end if you do not put him down. However, since he is weaker offensively, you might consider ignoring him until you can eliminate one of his easier-to-off allies. If Teren Kill is Sheriff and you are an Outlaw, this does lead to a bit of a conundrum: do I still try to make a strong offensive burst at Teren Kill with my fellow outlaws, or do we try to knock out the Deputies/Renegades first? This is a toss up, but the tide of the battle is seriously against you in 7-8 player games (with 3-4 other non-Outlaws). The burst may be the only viable option, even though it would be extremely lucky for it to succeed. In a 6 player game, things are different. However, if Teren Kill is not the Sheriff (say, an Outlaw), eliminating his allies first makes far more sense. Whether or not you ignore Teren Kill momentarily, watch out for when Dynamite is in play. This card has a lot higher chance of doing damage to you/your allies than it does to Teren Kill. In most cases, you will want to steal, discard, or otherwise remove it from play, so that your team's position isn't compromised. Once you focus on Teren Kill, apply the same general offensive strategy until he gets to his last life point. Teren Kill will try to compensate during early-mid game by building up some defensive cards in his hand and in play (Mustang, Barrel, etc.). Use steal/discard abilities and cards to remove the defensive stronghold and pummel him down to his last life point to decrease his card limit. To finally eliminate him, chances are that a strategically orchestrated attack is necessary. This means either that you and your teammates attack him in succession before he has a turn, or that you can hit Teren Kill with an offensive combo, so that he has to "draw!" to keep his life multiple times. Of course, desperate times call for desperate measures, so this ideal orchestration may not be a feasible reality. Just keep shooting, then! Odds should require you to only make him "draw!" 4 times, but you can never tell. The battle with Teren Kill could be epic, or laughable (he "draws!" a spade the first time).