Bang! is an Italian card game (that is also available in English) that lets groups of five or more players take on the role as lawmen, outlaws and a renegade in the Old West. Each player is a gunslinger trying to eliminate his opponents and win the game. This game is easy to learn and fun to play as it pits the players against one another in an effort to save or destroy the local law enforcement, depending on which side you’re on. And since nobody knows which side you are on, deception and deal-making are an integral part of the game.
1. Separate the cards by type. You should have a deck of character types, a pile of “jobs” and the regular cards. From the job deck, select a number of jobs equal to the number of players. The sheriff is required for all games, but the number of deputies increases with the number of players. For a five players game, you play with a sheriff, a renegade, and three outlaws. Deal a job card face down to each player. Only the sheriff should reveal what his job is. The sheriff plays with his “job” card face up; everyone else plays with the card face down and is encouraged to lie about her occupation.
2. Choose a persona. Each of the character cards is modeled after a famous Western gunslinger, including Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp, but with some minor adjustments made to avoid copyright infringements. Each character has a special ability that assists in fighting the other players. Review them carefully as you choose. Some of the most powerful have less life.
3. Deal two cards to every player. These cards will include items to make your gunslinger stronger or better able to kill his enemies. You might draw an enhanced gun, a horse or even a hideout. These things can make it harder to kill you. Everybody is assumed to have a pistol that can shoot the person next to him, but the cards can give you additional guns that will shoot people further across the table or make it harder for the guy next to you to shoot you.
4. Draw two cards. Play begins with the sheriff. He draws two cards and then plays whatever cards he can or wants to that help make him stronger. Green-bordered cards have to be in play on the table for their benefits to work. Play will proceed clockwise after the sheriff is done. The objective of the game for the sheriff is to kill all the outlaws at the table. The outlaws win if they can kill the sheriff, and the renegade wins if he is that last gunslinger standings. In a game of 7 people, the deputies win if the sheriff wins.
5. Kill your enemies. Table talk and outright lying are encouraged. As an outlaw, you generally don’t want the sheriff to know who you are, so “I’m your deputy” is the lie most often heard at this card table. Several rounds may pass before a shot is fired as gunslingers try to size up friend and foe. Any gunslinger can get a benefit in killing an outlaw, as you earn reward money in the form of her cards. However, outlaws may not want to kill each other too early as they have the common goal of killing the sheriff.
6. Bang! Shoot your enemies. Each player may only play one Bang! card per turn. This is the card that directly shoots your opponents. However, you may play any number of other cards that hurt opponents as well, including duels and knife fights and the dreaded Indian attack. As a player is eliminated he must reveal his true job identity, but until then, gunslingers are forbidden from revealing their job card. They can lie or tell the truth about it, but they cannot reveal it to prove it.