My family loves to play board games, though we usually stay too busy to play them except on holidays. So over Christmas this past year, we squeezed in as many games as we could. One of our new favorites was a gift from my husband’s brother, who is a board game aficionado. It is great for our family of five and can easily expand to seven if the grandparents join us for game night. And my favorite part?
IT’S A WESTERN!!!
Bang is a tabletop card game that is kind of like Clue in the kill-before-you-can-be-killed world of the old west. The terms are in Spanish with English subtitles which makes me feel like I’m in early Texas. Everyone has their own secret identity. You’re either the sheriff, an outlaw, a deputy, or the renegade. The sheriff must wear his badge where others can see, but everyone else hides who they are. Outlaws are out to kill the sheriff. The deputy is determined to help the sheriff even though the sheriff doesn’t know who he is. And the renegade? Well, that desperado wants to kill everyone so he can rule the West.
The first couple times we played, our sheriff was none other than Slab the Killer. How’s that for an intimidating name? Makes your imagination spin with possible backstory, doesn’t it? He must have been a vile outlaw before the love of a good woman convinced him to change sides and wear a white hat!
Bullets represent your life. When you use your last one, you’re a goner. The only way to heal yourself and gain more time in the game is to belly up to the bar for that sacred elixir of life – Beer!
Each of the characters have their own special abilities and some fabulous plays on iconic western names like Jesse Jones, Willy the Kid, Calamity Janet, Bart Cassidy, and Kit Carlson just to name a few.
Everyone starts out with the trusty Colt .45, but as the game progresses, you can trade up for weapons such as a Winchester rifle or a Volcanic repeating pistol. A cowboy is only as good as his gun.
If someone plays a Bang card on you, you have to have a Missed card to avoid getting shot. Or you can hide behind a barrel or get on your mustang and ride out of range. You can increase your shooting distance by adding a scope to your weapon. You might spend a turn in jail or take a risk and try to take out your enemies with dynamite. Only problem is, that stuff is unpredictable. You might blow yourself up in the process.
The stagecoach and Well’s Fargo can bring you additional resources, or you can visit the Emporium to pick out something special. The saloon offers beer (life) for everyone, and the Indians offer death. And don’t forget the classic Western play – the duel.
With elements of both cooperation and competition with a little mystery thrown in along with a healthy dose of Western flair, this game was a hit with everyone at our house. After playing, I suddenly found myself hankering for episodes of the Rifleman. Ha!
If you like to play games with family and friends, this is a great one. The more people the better.
- What are some of your favorite board games?