By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
Are you up for a game that takes place in the wild west with cards written in Italian?
Bang! is an elimination-style, spaghetti-western card game for four to seven players designed by Emiliano Sciarra and released by Italian publisher daVinci Games. The players are secretly dealt a roll card that dictates their goal for the game: eliminate the outlaws, eliminate the sheriff, or eliminate everyone else to be the last one in play.
At the start of the game, all of the rolls except for the sheriff are hidden and are only revealed once someone is eliminated, so you have no idea who is on your side. Your only clues are the other players’ actions.
Characters are dealt out along with the roll. The characters determine the health level of the players as well as special rules that only apply to that character. Your character can affect how you play the game and, in some cases, give you an edge. Strategy and bluffing play a large part in gameplay and you have to decide when to act and against whom.
The downside of Bang! is that players can be taken out of the game quickly and have to wait around for the game to finish. This is compounded by the fact that games can take from five minutes to well over an hour.
There are six official and four unofficial expansions to Bang! The expansions add more rules, cards, and characters, can expand the number of players up to eight, and much more. These advanced rules can really be confusing, so I would suggest just starting out with the basic set and expanding slowly.
Bang! is the cornerstone of many gaming groups and I would recommend it as an interesting change.