I have quite a history with BANG!. It was the game that my good friend Rick brought into work after we had introduced Hearts and Spades to them and we had a routine of playing games at lunch. Bang! was adopted slowly at first but over the months we played it A LOT. We wore out a deck and got another.
After a while, some of us began to tire of it rather and started to bring in other games. This was the beginning of my current partialness for modern board games, as we learned some classics from Rick's collection and I began to acquire some of my own. Playing Puerto Rico brought me here. It was a golden time, with employers that were relaxed enough to indulge us (it helped we were at a separate site).
But that is getting off the point. We had rather burned out on Bang but some of the others - epsecially those who had been slower to adopt it in the first place - still played it regularly. They picked up the High Noon expansion and then after things moved around a bit, that group continued to play it at a fresh new place (getting a whole new group to play) with the Dodge City cards added as well.
Things changed again. The company reorganized (I was laid off in fact) and that group, including Tom and Mike, stopped playing Bang so much. Tom and Mike started coming over to my place for lunch once a week instead. We all learned other new games and not so much Bang.
However, J hardly played it and quite liked it one time we played it before. Plus both Mike and Tom have a fondness for it. So today, after a couple of false starts, we played it again. Both High Noon and Dodge City cards were in and as such there were a few I didn't know.
I started as Sheriff, Sean Mallory could hold a lot of cards, so that looked good for a Sheriff watching and waiting for the chance to make a move. But as it happened I didn't get to wait long as Tom immediately attacked, as well as playing a Mustang to stay out of range. I of course urged everyone to gang up on Tom but there wasn't much done to him: J shot at him, but then also shot at me! Meanwhile Rick and Mike faced off, with Mike (as well as rampaging Indians) doing him damage. That should have been good news for Rick, as Bill No Face, he would draw extra cards, but the High Noon card was Hangover, so no bonus draw. He also got the Dynamite (which both Tom and I had already survived) and it blew up. He saved himself with beer, but was quickly finished off and surprise surprise I had lost my Deputy. Mike was showing his colors now and shot at me, and both Tom and him successfully dueled me. But the Renegade J bought drinks at the Saloon and knocked Mike down some. I was hanging on and had few useful cards - the Volcanic was useless with Tom on a Mustang and I lacked Bang cards anyway. But finally I drew into some cards, as J knocked Mike down to 1 life. I picked up the Pony Express, let off the Howitzer at everyone, then shot Mike. He was down, I drew 3. Suddenly I had a hand of bang cards and - crucially - Cat Balou, who took away Tom's steed and I laid into him. And with another 3 cards and a few more bangs still in hand, I took out the Renegade too. Score 1 for Justice.
Sheriff Sean Mallory (aka me): Win
Outlaw Sid Ketchum (aka Tom): Loss
Deputy Bill No Face (aka Rick): Win
Outlaw Vera Custer (aka Mike): Loss
Renegade Tequila Joe (aka J): Loss
This game was a perfect example of why we played so much Bang and also why we stopped. It is a fun game, a good filler. There are cool things you can pull off with a bit of luck and clever play. I won't deny that unleashing an unholy number of bangs on my last turn was thrilling and exhilarating. But then it was all quite arbitrary what happened to whom and poor Rick got to sit and watch us for at least half the game. He did get to come back in Ghost Town, but I find that power more annoying than being eliminated - that I might be required to come back and play a turn means I can't get on with something else. The other thing about it is how long it takes. How long is a game of Bang? No one knows. There were many moments in this game I thought I was a goner and the game would be done and yet in the end I hung on and it took our entire hour.
I like the game, once in a while. But with emphasis on once in a while.