Review: “BANG!”

Now that I am back to attending Friday ‘Game Nights’, it’s time to review a few games that I’ve never played before, plus a handful of games that I haven’t played in a long time. Stay tuned!

The first game is one that I played years ago, one that we played this past Friday for the first time in a long time: BANG!
Year Published: 2002
Players: 4-7 (8, if you have some of the expansions)
Ages: 10+
Time: about 30-45 minutes

BANG! takes the players back to the Wild West, where the rule of the land was the rule of the Gun: kill or be killed.
Roles and Characters
Players draw a card from a Role Deck; this determines who will be playing as one of the following roles (with stats and a basic strategy):
Outlaw: there are 2-4 Outlaws per game (dependent on the amount of players). There mission is to kill the Sheriff. Killing Deputies is an on-the-job perk.
Deputy: There are 1 or 2 Deputies. The Deputies’ mission is to protect the Sheriff by killing both the Outlaws and the Renegade.
Renegade: There is only 1 Renegade in the base game. Their mission is unique: not only be the last man/woman standing, but to do it by killing the Sheriff last. In essence: ‘help’ the Sheriff and Deputies by killing the Outlaws, then take out the Deputies, then finish off the Sheriff and become the new Sheriff!
Sheriff: the Sheriff’s mission is, with the help of their Deputy/Deputies, to kill the Outlaws and the Renegade.
There are also 22 Character Cards in the game, with each being a knockoff of a famous/infamous Wild West character. Each player draws 2 cards and chooses the one character that appeals to them the most; if neither card is suitable, a 3rd card drawn. However, that card is the one you keep.

For this game, I drew the Deputy (all players keep their roles hidden) and chose Greg Digger; for each player that dies, I regain 2 life. The ‘bullets’ are how many life points you start with – most start with 3 or 4 points, the Sheriff always starts with 5, and no one can go above their starting levels.

There are many types of non-character cards that can be mainly grouped into categories: Blue Border, Green Border, and Brown Border.


  • Green borders are mainly from an expansion pack Called ‘Dodge City!’. They are useable items (like an Iron Plate, which provides armor), weapons, and other beneficial items. They are placed in front of you but are not playable for 1 turn.
  • Blue borders prop up your offensive and defensive capabilities with armor (like that barrel in the above picture) and weapons. There are also items like that ‘Jail’ card: it takes a person out of play for at least one round. A ‘Dynamite’ stick could take a person out of the game for good. They are also played in front of you.
  • Brown borders are your basic cards, such as: ‘Bang!’ (which are attacks that deal a point of damage), ‘Missed!’ (which negates ‘Bang!’ cards), ‘Beer’ (which heal you for a point), ‘Indians’ (everyone takes a point of damage, unless they something to negate it), and a ‘General Store’ – it lets you draw a number of cards equal to the number players, turn all of those cards face-up, and each player gets to pick one for their hand.

When in doubt, follow the icons on the bottom of the cards. Or ask.

Game Play
Like in the Roles and Characters sections, your winning scenario depends on what role you drew. Each player is dealt 4 cards to start. At the beginning of each player’s turn, they draw 2 cards. You then can play as many cards as possible to fortify yourself, weaken your enemies, and get closer to your goal.
Some specific rules include:

  • You can’t have 2 weapons (Blue) at the same time; one must be discarded
  • You can only play one ‘Bang!’ card per turn, unless your character allows for more or you have a weapon that can fire more than once per round.
  • If you kill an Outlaw, even if you are an Outlaw, you get to draw 3 cards as a “Bounty”.
  • If the Sheriff kills his or her’s Deputy, they lose all items and cards from thier hands. If the Deputy kills the Sheriff, the Outlaws win, even if they are all dead.

Once you have played your cards (you don’t have to play anything, if you don’t want to…), you discard any remaining cards down to your current life points: if you have 1 LP left, you can only have 1 card at the end of your turn. Rinse and repeat until there is a winner!
An example game: the Sheriff has to reveal their identity; everyone else stays secret, until they die or win the game. Erin is the Sheriff, I am her Deputy (hidden ID). I should then go after the other players: Scotty, J.R., Jill, and Evan. If anyone else attacks Erin, then I know that they are Outlaws (or a confused Renegade); if they attack me, they could be Outlaws OR the Renegade. Evan is killed by me and is revealed to be an Outlaw; I get 3 cards as a Bounty. Erin kills Jill and she is revealed to be an Outlaw; Erin gets 3 cards. Scotty kills me and I reveal my identity; Scotty now makes the game hard for the Sherriff, Erin, as she won’t know who the Renegade is until they make a move. Scotty does NOT attack or kill Erin on his turn; this reveals him as the Renegade. J.R. gets killed by Erin, leaving her to go one-on-one with Scotty. Erin kills Scotty, who confirms his identity as the Renegade, and wins the game!

Bang! is a very fun, pretty quick game. It’s simple enough – once you get used to what the symbols mean on each card – for beginner board and card game players, but veteran players will still be entertained. I would recommend it as a go-between game: one played between lengthier games. You won’t go wrong!

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