Dead Man’s Hand
Bang! has been on gamers’ short list of quality table-top games since it won two Origins Awards back in 2004. Now, the Spaghetti-Western themed card game is coming to just about every video game platform around. We got a chance to sit down with an alpha build of the iOS version of the game, and we are impressed with what’s in store. This is definitely one to keep an eye on.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, there are four different roles players can take on in Bang!, some of which can be shared by multiple players. The four roles include the Outlaw, Renegade, Deputy, and Sheriff. Outlaws are baddies trying to gun down the Sheriff. The Renegade is out for himself. That player will have to try and take out everyone but the Sheriff. Once that’s accomplished, the Sheriff becomes the final target. The Deputy (or deputies) is the Sheriff’s partner, so he’ll have to try and take out all the bad guys before the Sheriff bites the dust. All these individual roles are secret to the other players, so no one really knows who is who… that is, except for the Sheriff. As the lawman, the Sheriff is known to everyone, so he’ll have to watch back and take care not to accidentally take out his deputy. These four roles come together sublimely, making the game quite strategic.
Playing Bang! The Spaghetti-Western Card Game is simple: Players take turns drawing cards from the central deck and playing cards strategically in order to wear down the life points of their specific targets. Each player has four life points, except for the Sheriff who has five. The Bang! card is the basic method for taking off a life point. However, you can only attack players seated adjacent to you. Targeted players can dodge attacks by playing a Missed card. There are also Beer and Saloon cards which allow you to heal yourself or all players at the table, respectively. All these are known as Brown Cards, which provide fairly straightforward results. In addition, there are also Blue, Green, and Special cards that add a lot more complexity to the game.
- Layered strategy and high production values make this one to watch -
Blue, Green, and Special cards are permanent or semi-permanent cards that act as a sort of power-up, usually for the rest of the game. For example, playing a Cover card will allow you to draw one card off the top of the deck whenever someone attacks you. If you draw the appropriate card, you can dodge the attack without having to play a Missed card. Other complex cards can be played that allow you to attack targets that are seated further away. Some cards even let you attack all players at once. Others still will give every player extra cards to draw, let you steal a specific card, or protect you from players with ranged weapons cards in play. There are so many different cards available that the game is very strategic rather than simply luck of the draw.
To top it all off, the ‘Dodge City’, ‘A Fistful of Cards’, and ‘High Noon’ expansion packs for the table-top game will be part of the video game, and they can be toggled on and off to give you more or less options with which to play. With or without all these extra decks, this is a very complex and engaging game of cards. I think it is especially well suited to playing on the go via your favorite mobile device.
On iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad you’ll play with three to five seated players. These players can either be A.I. for single-player, or you can challenge other humans through online play. Unfortunately, I was unable to try online play, as the code didn’t support the functionality yet. Incredibly, Bang! will be playable across multiple platforms. In fact, according tp Palzoun, it will be the “world’s first multi-platform multiplayer game”.
Bang! The Spaghetti-Western Card Game is currently well on its way through development and will launch for PCs, tablets, and handhelds very soon. Console support will likely drop in March 2011. Stay tuned for our final thoughts when it hits the App Store, Intel AppUp, and other digital download services this holiday season.
Check out our video section for the official Bang! gameplay video.
Cutting his gaming teeth at Aladdin's Castle and on the Commodore 64, JC entered into video game journalism in 2008. Helping run GameDynamo as its director is both a dream and a rewarding challenge.
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