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Subject: Bang! I Shot the Sheriff!! rss

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Madhujith Venkatakrishna
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I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy- Bob Marley

Guess most of us have heard this song, well even if you haven't don't worry. The reason I put that line up is because this game is all about shooting people down!! Well not in the real sense, but using cards! And my word is this game fun!! I have not seen a simple pack of cards pack this much punch.

The game is like:

Sheriff: I'll kill all these outlaws and restore peace!!
Outlaws: Let's kill the sheriff whoz in our way!
Deputy Sheriff: Oh no! I can't let the outlaws harm my boss!!
Renegade: Ah haa!! Here's is my best opportunity to eliminate everyone and become the new sheriff!!devil

Well this is the game in a nutshell. This game is truly multi-player in nature in that it can accommodate 4-7 players. So finally I've come to multi-player games! This my friends is an absolute no brainer, so even before you read the review, just pick this one up..period.

I played this for the first time with a group of strangers at Brew haha (my friend's board game cafe') and fell in love with this and ordered it immediately.Ever since where ever I've been in mid-sized groups this has been a smash hit. So much so that I had to refrain from playing as they became addicted to this game!

This is a fighting, bluffing, little bit of mystery, classic western, role playing (some of my RPG friends may take offense to this being called a Role Playing Game, but it is in a very simple sense though)!

What do you get in the box?

As I mentioned before this is just a small box of cards. Exactly the same sized box as any playing card deck:

* 7 role cards. The roles are- 1 Sheriff, 2 Deputies, 3 Outlaws and 1 Renegade
* 16 character cards. Each player chooses one for the game
* 80 Cards to play

Please don't get fooled by the components. I know some of you might wonder how come Madhu is harping about this game and this game comes just with some cards! You'll see that in the next section.

How does it play?

I'm not going to go through the entire rule set, but giving to give you all an overview of how this game flows:

* Each player get a role card viz. Sheriff, Outlaw etc. and the Sheriff reveals himself/herself. Of course the number outlaws etc. change with the number of people
* Each one is then given a character card that talks about the special ability of the character and also the number of life points indicated by the number of bullet. Now this character card plays the role given to you. E.g. Bart Cassidy one of the characters might play the outlaw, Willy the Red might play the Sheriff.
* Each one gets another character card, but this one he keeps it face down with the bullet side up and covers it using his previous character card to indicate the number of life points. Note: The sheriff has one extra life point as he discloses himself!
* Each player gets 4 cards as a starting hand.

This is the game set up and now the shooting can begin!

* The sheriff starts the play
* During any players turn, they draw 2 cards from the draw pile
* Play as many cards as they want or not play any as well! (which btw is very rare)
* In case they have more cards than their current life points they discard down to match the current life status

With such simple rules, you might wonder where is the fin element?

* The playing card deck comes with a variety of cards, but the most important ones are the Bang and Missed cards. Use the Bang card to shoot someone and missed card to avoid the hit!
* Apart from this there are special blue bordered cards that give you additional powers like increasing your range of shooting(each person starts with a range of one, meaning they can shoot players who are next to them, either side)
* They can put others in Jail (not the most pleasant thing to do)
* Indians attach so shoot them down
* There is a machine gun attack so avoid or get hit!
* Someone can take away your powers!
* Someone uses a dynamite!
* Oh my God! I'm hit! I'm hit! drink beer and save yourself!!

Many many more fun options to play it. There is never a dull moment in the game and it is high voltage action all along. But for the Sheriff none of the other players reveal their roles, so it is going to be a game of cat and mouse trying to guess who is on whose side!

* If the sheriff and his deputy kill all the outlaws and Renegade they win
* If the outlaws kill the sheriff they win!
* If the Renegade manages to be the only one alive- he wins (this btw is the most difficult role and fun role to play)

You don't know who's on whose side, but you keep guessing and shooting at people. There is going to be chaos, pandemonium and lots and lots of laughter.

There is limited amount of strategy, but this game was not supposed to be a strategy brain burner, but just a game of unadulterated fun and laughter for the family and friends alike.

I've seen people seeking revenge the next time around when they play completely disregarding the roles!!!!!! Absolutely hilarious this ine I say!! I have heard stories where people have almost got into fist fights!!

Enough of what I've said, just try this and I can assure you you'll find this very hard to put down.

How long does it play?

A typical game should go on for about 30 min. I would say it lasts somewhere between 30-40 min. So there you go, such a small duration and so much fun. Just that it might take a little longer in the initial games till you get used to the different cards, but once you are through, the fun really kicks in :-)

Who would you recommend it to?

You cannot not have this one..period!! Go get it everyone immediately!

Any Downsides?

Well really there are not too many things that I can complain about this game, but for some small things like the cards are not of the greatest quality and because you tend to play this so many times, may to wear out fast. There is little but of learning curve, but nothing to worry.

The only thing I would say about this game is- the more the merrier. Though you can play with 4 people, I would say 6-7 is the sweet spot. Now you may not have this number all the time, but when you have it don't miss it!

Final Thoughts!

I have played this game more than any other game with a lot of different groups- age group ranging from10-50 yrs and everyone has enjoyed this a lot.NO EXCEPTION! I have never stopped this game at just one round, people always ask me to get it out as their first game on any game nights! I have had to tell some that my Bang copy is with someone so that I could play something else; that is how addictive this game is :-)

Though there is limited strategy/tactics purely based on the fun element this ranks as one of my top rated games!

Recently a friend of mine who did not know what board games were got this through his brother in the US!

I have no hesitation in ASKING you all to go get a copy of this game!!

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Fabien Conus
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Downsides ?

Yes, actually, there is one. Depending on how the game goes, you can have a player being eliminated pretty early in the game and the game lasting for quite a long time, with the eliminated player having nothing to do but wait.

This doesn't happen very often, but be aware that it can happen, especially with many players.

That said, Bang! is still an excellent game and I agree that I've never seen anyone disliking it.
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Madhujith Venkatakrishna
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Good that you mention that and thanks for that, I completely missed that part, yes, even worse that I have seen happen. Put a person in jail even before they get a turn and then bang him and eliminate them :-). Whilst it is fun for others, it is definitely not fun for the receiver devil
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