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Subject: Strategy tips rss

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Emiliano Sciarra
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Although BANG! is a rather simple game, there is nonetheless some strategy involved on each turn: often there are little tactical problems (it is easy to see which cards you will play), but there are nice issues on how you will play those cards and who are your targets.
Here follow some advices for each version of the game (4, 5, 6 or 7 players), based on my experience of hundreds sessions of play.

General tips.
Talk! Don’t be shy and always be on the Sheriff’s side during the first turns (well, at least verbally): our preferred expression at the beginning of each game is “Bravo, Sceriffo!”. Argue with other players on how they supposedly play against the Sheriff, how their conduct is clearly an “ol’ dirty Renegade tactic”, ask the Sheriff if he is happy with our play, justify some otherwise clear move against him with “the strict necessity due to the cards in my hand”.
Play cautiously. If you are an Outlaw or the Renegade, don’t play aggressively against the Sheriff until you are absolutely sure of what you are doing. If you are in doubt, attack another player: even the slightest rudeness against the Sheriff can immediately give a target to the Deputies, the Renegade and the Sheriff himself. Remember that generally the Sheriff is the only player who has some scruples about damaging someone: try to don’t be that one.
The “sacrifice” of the Outlaw. When an Outlaw is near to the death and you are another Outlaw, consider carefully what the dying player can do before he is finally shot down. Depending on the circumstances, you may prefer to kill personally your ally to get the 3 cards reward – a sacrifice that in many cases allowed the Outlaws to win the game!

4 players. With two Outlaws and one Renegade lurking around, as the Sheriff you are sure to have no trusted ally at your side. Maybe the Renegade can help you in the start, but the tin star is the final objective of all other players. This means that at least one of the players sitting next to you is a merciless Outlaw: be careful to avoid shooting on the Renegade, and possibly wait until the roles are clear – it won’t take long. On the other hand, the two Outlaws generally will reveal themselves early in the game so they can team up against the Sheriff without thinking about the Renegade. The Outlaw sitting next to the Sheriff is the one with the greater responsibility: his buddy can be the player at distance 2 from the defender of the Law and so he could be too far for help. However, even in this case the revealed Outlaw is probably at distance 2 from the Renegade, so he will have to parry the Sheriff’s shots only. But be careful, premature attacks (especially with a strong Renegade at range) can take you directly to Boot Hill while your fellow is still setting up his weapons (and he, too, is probably following you shortly). As the Renegade you will want to play almost exactly as a Deputy until at least one Outlaw is out of the game. You are the only one with the perfectly clear vision of the role of everyone, but especially if you are at distance 2 from the Sheriff (that is, if both Outlaws are next to him!) you have to bring down as fast as possible one of the bandits: focus on who you think it is at your reach, and don’t bother with the other. When there are only 3 players alive, judging on the situation you can try to kill immediately the other Outlaw or, more cunningly, keep him alive only to distract the Sheriff: there are good chances that the last Outlaw will ignore you pointing directly at the Sheriff, so the latter must waste resources towards him instead of you. This 3 players situation is an interesting one and all players have to carefully evaluate the overall condition to play at the best.

5 players. As the Deputy comes in, he has the clearest view of the situation. He has one ally, and he is obvious to all; therefore, he can safely shoot at whoever he thinks appropriate. Even if he kills the Renegade, that’s only half bad news, especially if one Outlaw is already out of the way: as you will read below, the Renegade is one of your worst enemies. The Sheriff can be more unscrupulous than the 4-player game, but until it is clear who the Deputy is he should avoid to concentrate his attentions on a single player: he may be the other sole lawman around! The two Outlaws generally determine the course of the game. In the first turns, each of them has to prepare himself for the attack, trying to realize who is the other Outlaw. When one of them thinks he is ready, however, he also should check out if his (supposed) fellow is able to shoot at the Sheriff: if he is not, then the risk is to attract the combined revenge of the Sheriff, the Deputy and possibly the Renegade – a situation which is endurable only if there are two players trying to actively kill the Sheriff. When the Outlaws declare themselves, they must focus on their primary goal, which is the Sheriff, ignoring anyone else: this is their strongest advantage with respect to all other players, but they must remember that if all 5 players are still alive they will probably play in a 2-on-3 odds. As the Renegade your task is daunting and you will have to hide yourself during the game, preferably as a Deputy (remember, the Sheriff cannot tell who is what if you play carefully). But according to your goal, every player out of the game is one step ahead towards the final duel with the Sheriff: so don’t hesitate to kill other players unless you have a good reason to do differently. One of the best strategy for the Renegade is to detect the Deputy, kill him, and then play as a Deputy until all the Outlaws are out. Even if this conduct will reveal your role (especially among expert players), the Sheriff has problems too big to face to let his last (albeit temporary) ally leave the game. If you strongly help the Outlaws you will find that the Sheriff will be often knocked out before you manage to change your behaviour. Another strategy open to the Renegade, but maybe more risky, is to play exactly as a Deputy until all the Outlaws are killed and there are only three players left. At this point, the Sheriff could not tell who is the Deputy and generally will play to weaken both other players while reinforcing him (you cannot play against him or you will face two opponents at the same time!). Use this strategy only if you feel sure to quickly kill the Deputy, if the Sheriff is very weak or if you manage to take the Sheriff on your side.

6 players. No surprise that the Sheriff has an especially challenging task to perform: the situation is basically a 5-players game with the addition of a third Outlaw and without any additional support, which means that the Outlaws will often lead the game. If you shoot a lot, you are risking to send out one of your few allies; if you shoot very little, when the Outlaws attack it may be too late to save the day. Cold blood, a strong Deputy and a capable Renegade are required to hope surviving the hell it is about to set off by the Outlaws. Therefore, the Deputy must manage to kill early an Outlaw: if he does, then the game becomes a 5-players shootout with good chances for everyone. Don’t shoot on the Renegade, because he may be a precious ally for long time, but try anyway to kill one of the characters before it is too late. The Outlaws can follow the same basic strategy as in the 5-players game, but the third Outlaw allows them to behave much more aggressively: don’t underestimate the distance issues, however, as you can end up riddled with bullets before the start of your next turn. This said, the Renegade acts often as an added Deputy until one or two Outlaws are buried. However, if the first player to leave the party is an Outlaw, the Renegade can shift his tactic to hunting the Deputy (it won’t be difficult on many occasions) as in the 5-players game.

7 players. This is the most intriguing version of the game: nobody is sure of anything about the hidden roles. Even the Deputy cannot tell with confidence who is the other Deputy, so he has to be more careful than the 5-players game (but he will still shoot a lot anyway: the Renegade is not so crucial with so many characters around, one of them being your ally). The Sheriff, however, is far from safe: three Outlaws are marching in the city and their combined fire can be devastating if they are all capable of reaching him with their weapons. That is why he may want to shoot nonchalantly at everyone, weakening equally the players until some of the roles are clearer. The Outlaws face the same options described in the 5-players game, with the added difficulty of the distance which, in some cases, can require a weapon with range 4 or 5. Don’t be too eager to shoot at the Sheriff when most of other players cannot reach him as well: if two among them are Outlaws, they will let you die rather than help you revealing themselves, and they can even deal you the fatal blow to obtain the 3 cards reward! The right moment of revealing the identity of the Outlaws is the crucial point of the entire game, and a premature attack can lead to disaster. On the other hand, if you hesitate for too long, you will be slowly decimated by the Deputies and the Renegade until you will have no sufficient fire power to overcome the Law. The Renegade can hide himself better than the 5-players game, but the final duel with the Sheriff is a very knotty goal due to the Deputies, the length of the game and the behaviour of the Outlaws. The strategy of killing a Deputy to take his place is still suitable, but you have to be swift to catch the change in the weather and play on the Outlaws side if the situation requires so: remember that if you remain alive with no Outlaws around, the two Deputy/ies can happily sacrifice themselves while you cannot afford such a tactic.
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Alex Rockwell
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Re:Strategy tips
Thanks Emiliano for posting your thoughts on your game. I love this game and have played it a dozen times in the month that our group has had it.

I have found that in our group, the outlaws usually win...like 75% of the time. The only renegade win we have had was when I was renegade in a 4 player game, and I managed to kill the last outlaw with a Volcanic, draw the three card reward, and then mow down the Sherriff on the same turn.

I am of the opinion that an outlaw should announce themself as soon as they can shoot at the sherriff with Bang! cards. Before this, they should save up and wait for a range increaser or something. Once the sherriff is accessable, they can Bang him, Duel him, play Injuns, Gatling, etc....everything they have.
In one 5 player game, I was an outlaw and I was sitting in the fourth position (counting from sherriff as #1). So I was 2 distance away. My character was the lady that sees other players at a distance one less, so I could shoot the sherriff. On the first turn around, the other outlaw (from position 3), hit the sherriff on his first turn, playing first a range gun, then a Bang, followed by a Duel. The sherrif was down to three life. He had also played a general store, out of which I got a Bang card. On my turn, I drew, played a Volcanic, and shot the sherriff three times for the win. The 5th player never even got a turn.

While this was an extreme case, I find that the outlaws usually win, merely by bashing the sherriff early, often, and continuously. When they dont get offensive hands, the outlaws wait awhile and pretend to be the deputy.

I have found that if the outlaws have offensive cards, but sit around and bluff that they are on the sherriff's team, it will hurt their chances.


What are some strategies you have found for playing on the sherriff side, and winning? How about the renegade?

Generally with the renegade, I find I have to play on the sherriff side until an outlaw dies, to make it so the sherrif has a chance at living. Then I go after the deputy. If I kill them, then its down to me as renegade, sherriff and outlaw, with a good chance for the renegade to win.


I think that 5 and 7 players works the best. With 4 and 6, its extremely hard for the sherriff team to win. I had considered maybe playing a 6 player variant that was: Sherriff + 2 Deputies vs 3 Outlaws....but I think that takes away from the fun of figuring out who is who. Maybe Sherriff, Deputy, 2 Renegade, 2 Outlaw?

I dont know, but we have had a very very hard time winning as the Sherriff in a 6 player game.

7 players I dont like as much as 5 players, becasue its so long between turns. I really love 5 player, and think its the best.

I tend to rank the different wins by order of difficulty. i.e. a win by an outlaw isnt a big deal, you should be winning. A win by a sherriff/deputy is quite good, as its a challenge, while a win by a renegade is an amazing feat. Were I to score the game, I would give 1 pt for an outlaw win, 2 for a sherriff/deputy, and 4 for renegade. (At least in games of 5+ players....) In 4 player, probably 2 for the Renegade, and maybe 3 for the Sherriff.
 
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Emiliano Sciarra
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Re:Strategy tips
Alexfrog (#7167),

the fact that the Outlaws win consistently was pointed out by several players. You can play with one of the new rules of the 2nd Edition of BANG!: the Sheriff begins with an additional life point (i.e. his character has considered to have depicted one more bullet on his card). This makes a lot more challenging for Outlaws to overcome his character.
As regards the 6 players game, you are probably right: the most balanced version of the game is with Sheriff + 2 Deputies vs. 3 Outlaws. I am convinced of this, since this is how the game worked in the original prototype! However, daVinci noticed exactly what you said: there was less thrill to discover the hidden roles, so eventually we traded balance for fun. I feel the choice was right, because at some degree I definitely like fun in games more than deep strategy.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Re:Strategy tips
Giving the sheriff an extra life point sounds like a great idea!! And there are 5 bullets on the card anyway, so why not....

I'll try this the next time we play Bang.
 
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Luca Iennaco
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Re:Strategy tips
Alexfrog (#7895),

2nd edition rules bring small but clever improvements: use them all!

Outlaws WERE stronger under 1st edition rules, but now the whole thing is more balanced.

7 players is the best in my opinion: more roles, more emphasis about distance, more interaction between the skills of different character... Downtime IS the drawback (especially when you're the first to be killed), but every game has its flaws!
5 player IS definitely better than 6 and both are better than 4.

Final note: the renegade IS the harder role; his chance are minimal. If you play with the same peolple, you can try the "tourneament score" to balance the thing (the Renegade gets a small reward in cetain cases, even if he has lost).
 
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Dave Sawyer
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Re:Strategy tips
I agree the renegade is a hard role. If there are new players in our games we permit (and strongly suggest) that they request a re-deal if they are dealt the renegade.
 
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J Castellucci
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One thing that I didn't see you cover is what to do on the first turn if you're the Sheriff -- do you start with gun blazing? And if so, do you shoot left or right?
 
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Daniel Edwards
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We find at the start that the sherrif tries to build a strong and defensive hand and position (horde misses, play horses, barrels etc).

If the sherrif has attack cards or strong attacking powers they generally work to keep a number of players equally weak. You really have no idea who is who at the start and I cant see any difference between left and right. All things being equal I tend to shoot the characters with the stronger attacking powers if I have to choose but otherwise Id just pick one.
 
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David Maloof
Mexico
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I have a question guys, and i hope you can answer

So,we were playing the game with 5 people, then the sheriff revealed himself and i was a deputy. I was distance 2 from him so he started to kill those near him and i started to kill the other that was distance 2 from him. The three owtlaws just had one life each and was Sheriff's turn. Then he looked at me with a suspicious look.

Then i knew we could win easily if i tell him what my role was, so he wouldnt have to attack me and he could kill the other two without worrying that he could have been killing a deputy.

Then i revealed myself, i showed him my card. But then all owtlaws were complaining.

I dont know why. I have read the rules, and i guess it is legal inside the rules of the game to reveal yourself... obviously taking the risks by doing it (for example, being a deputy and revealing yourself at the beginning of the game is a mistake, since all owtlaws know who you are and they can kill you).

Well, i am willing to retract myself from my mistake (in case that was a mistake and was not allowed in the rules), but i guess is part of the deputy strategy to do so.

Thanks in advance for the answer.
 
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Larry Baxter
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The Outlaws are right. You can't reveal your card. That would make it insanely easy for the sheriff and deputies. The whole strategic element of the renegade is that, if well played, he often can't be distinguished from the deputies. You can say you're the deputy, but so can anyone else. It's your actions, more than your words (and much more than your role card!) that must speak loudly!

Enjoy the game!
 
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David Maloof
Mexico
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Thank you so much.

I will apologize to everyone for my mistake. I guess i ruined that game soblue
 
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