A game`s review by Frank Biesgen

Translated from German by Alexandra Igna (2020)


Italian game provider and publisher DaVinci Games launched one of the most fun games of 2003: Bang! At the beginning of the game, all participants are assigned a role, which, in turn, is tied to has a special game objective. So the outlaws have to try to take down the sheriff; the renegade must first protect the sheriff in order to ultimately take his position; the sheriff and his deputies naturally have the task of putting all outlaws behind bars. Only the sheriff is known - the remaining roles are only revealed when a figure is eliminated from the game. In addition, each player represents a character with a special ability that changes or overrides a certain basic rule of the game.

After all players have received their action cards according to the number of their life points (initially three or four), the game goes round. At the start of his turn, a player draws two more cards and then plays any number out of his hand. The only significant restriction: You can only shoot once per round with a "Bang!" Card, and you can only shoot the left and right neighbors. To overcome this problem, there are also weapons with a longer range or horses that change the distance to the other players to their own advantage. If a player is shot at, he can defend himself against it with a "miss" - experienced Westerners have prepared a "barrel" beforehand to take cover behind it. If all this is of no use, then only a strong sip of "beer" helps to restore a lost life point. Using other cards, you can, for example, invite opponents to duel, switch your weapon to sustained fire (which allows you to play several "Bang!" in one round) or take care of small Indian raids or local rounds.

Also worth mentioning here is the dynamite stick, which is passed on in turn until it explodes in front of any player and causes three life points to be lost. Since you will only have as many cards as the remaining life energy in your hand, they will naturally decrease quickly. The game ends as soon as either all outlaws or the sheriff have been eliminated, whereupon the corresponding counterparty wins.

The short description shows that Bang! is hardly controllable. On the one hand, you are completely dependent on a lucky hand when you draw your cards; on the other hand, everything is futile when all the players literally shoot at you. Added to this is the uncertainty regarding the distribution of roles - at the beginning of the game, you just shoot into the blue until the first one comes out by a shot at the sheriff. But none of this matters at all, because the successfully replicated Western atmosphere makes Bang! - just as fun, even if you leave early and can only watch the rest of the game. Of course, the game cannot and should not be taken seriously, and those who have problems - if only imaginary - with shooting at others are out of place here. The multilingual instructions appear more extensive than the game might require and they and leave no essential questions unanswered; the beautifully designed playing cards contribute to the comic flair.

All in all, the perfect opener or nightcap of a successful game night - Sergio Leone would have been proud!

The High Noon extension can be purchased for little money; this consists of thirteen cards, which bring another special rule for each round and thus add more variety to the game. Particularly suitable for rounds, for which the game would otherwise take too long, since each player's life is deducted per round from the last card.