This review originally appeared on Giant From The North here: http://giantfromthenorth.com/robert-cramer/bang-dice-game-ba...
One of the first college classes I took centered on the study of Westerns in film. The Searchers, Shane, and High Noon filled up the screen and … I fell asleep during most of them. It wasn’t that those movies are boring; on the contrary, those movies are really great. I was just so tired from PARTYING SO HARD, BRO. Those days are behind me, but now I’ve found a game that combines cowboys and parties and goes by the name of Bang! The Dice Game. Just try and sleep with all that whoopin’ and hollerin’ goin’ on.
In Bang! The Dice Game, you can find three kinds of people. There’s the Sheriff and their deputy, do-gooders who stand for justice in a lawless landscape. Unfortunately, Outlaws don’t share the Sheriff’s vision and they want to take over. Finally, the Renegade is just plain crazy, spouting nonsense and shooting until everyone is dead except them. Classic Wild West, right? Sort of.
You see, partner, in this here town, nobody carries identification except the sheriff, and even they don’t know who their own deputy is. Anyone could be anybody, so don’t trust too quickly. You never know if the person who had your back a moment ago is going to stab you there later. Anything goes when cattle rustling (whatever that means) gets involved.
Each player gets to take on a different personality which gives them special powers during the game. One sharpshooter heals himself as other players die. Another is really handy with a gatling gun or maybe has a way with dynamite. There’s a lot of variety in the game with sixteen different characters to play with, each with their own unique and thematic ability. Some may seem more powerful than others, but in a game this festive, it’s better than being bland.
On your turn, you will take five beefy dice into your hands, shake ‘em up, and toss them onto the table. Keep the ones you want and reroll the rest. Each side of the dice have a different symbol that can be used for your attack plan or will blow up in your face. Dynamite can’t be rerolled and if three show up, your turn ends immediately with a giant explosion. Gatling guns hurt every player but take three dice to activate. Arrows invite the wrath of Indian (their word, not mine) attacks, but a gatling gun can scare them off. Beer helps regain strength and can be given to any player for a quick boost. But most players will be looking for ones and twos to load their guns and start firing.
Ones and twos are the ranges at which you can shoot another player, so choose carefully who you target. Are you taking down a dirty Outlaw or have you wounded your trusty Deputy in disguise? Listen to reason but trust your gut and you just might make it out of this shootout alive.
The game ends if the Sheriff is killed, the Outlaws are eliminated, or the Renegade is the last player alive. From the first dice roll to the last the game takes fifteen minutes tops. Turns go by quickly with lots of shouts of joy or cries of agony. Roll one more time, I’m sure you won’t get another dynamite! The chunky dice roll slowly and dramatically, spinning and twisting until landing on the last thing you needed right now. Dice sure know how to get people on their feet.
Bang! The Dice Game is a small game that is theatrical, funny, and blazing fast to teach and play. Top it all off with a cheap price tag, this hoot of a game rides off into the sunset as a hero of game night, only to blow up in a crazy dynamite explosion. Now THAT would be a great movie.