25th July 2021
Sunday gaming on Board Game Arena continued with Bang!
The American west could be an ornery, dangerous place; friend or foe, it was always hard to tell, particularly when you all sat in circle and pointed pistols at each other, with nothing else but a spittoon between all of you.
Caveat: We have only ever played Bang! digitally.
What's in a game?
How's it play?
On to play
The main purpose in Bang! is to attack your enemies and aid your allies (If you have any.)! This is is not quite so simple as it sounds though, since it's unlikely that players will know who is an enemies or a friend, at least at the start.
Additionally, you may not even be able to reach you enemies, most attacks in Bang! have a range of 1, this means an attack can only target someone 1 space away, i.e., someone adjacent, there are several weapons have extra range and there're also ways to alter ranges.
A turn in Bang! consists of 3 actions.
In Bang!, play continues until one of three win conditions are met, these win conditions will depend what hidden role players have.
Sheriff/deputies: All outlaws and the renegade must be eliminated for the sheriff/deputies to win.
Outlaws: Eliminate the sheriff and the outlaws win.
Renegade: Win by being the last man standing.
Bang! is a pretty straightforward hidden role game, however, unlike some hidden role games, most of the game's 3 factions will start not knowing who their allies might be, with exception of deputies and the renegade (Who has no allies.).
Players will need to observe other players' behaviour to try and gauge their motives, this is made more difficult because the renegade will be looking help or hinder either of the other factions depending on the situation, adding to this are the range restriction rules that can force players to change behaviour. Additionally, in Bang! actions are card driven, i.e. a player's decisions will be to some degree limited by the cards in their hand; no BANG! card - no attack for example, this can mean even more restrictions on player choices.
We found this made for a slightly unsatisfying experience, particularly since there's a a fairly strict rule on hand size and it becomes a case of use-it-or-lose-it with cards. It didn't help that sometimes it felt like the card play made the game a little futile, managing to play a Bang! card only for your target to immediately heal it made for a negative feeling.
We played Bang! with a lower player count and online; with more players and in-person play I'm sure that it would've been a different experience, a game like Bang! will thrive with more players.
I'm not the biggest fan of hidden role games and I don't think Bang! is a bad game but I can think of other similar games I'd rather play - including it's later companion game; Bang! The Dice Game.
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