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Designed by: Michael Palm & Lukas Zach with Illustrations from Riccardo Pieruccini

Seeing as it is currently (time of writing) the Festive Season some of the older games were brought back into play for our games sessions, and although I have written about this game before I thought it was well worth reminding players that it is available in their local games stores and online for under £15.00. There is also an expansion "The Old Saloon" available, also at around £15.00. I haven't seen the expansion other than an online advert for it, but I can say that for £15.00 BANG! the Dice game itself is good value for money.

BANG! The Dice Game is very similar to BANG! the Card Game but it isn't quite the same and doesn't have all the components and possibilities of the Card version. It is a fairly straight-forward game with character cards being dealt out so that players each have control of someone who may possibly have lived in 1800's America. Then they are dealt an occupation for that characters, jobs being hard to find means that there are only the Sheriff, 2 Deputies, 3 Outlaws and 2 Renegade roles available. The player dealt the Sheriff places it face up alongside his character - there are generally some truly oddly named characters who take on the mantle of the Law in BANG! The other players, including anyone dealt a Deputy card, keep their occupations secret. There is always one Sheriff and at least one Deputy in the game, the number of Outlaws and Renegades depends on the number of players.

This is a dice rolling game where the players on their Turn roll all five dice and react to the results. Players can reroll most die results up to two times; dynamite cannot be re-rolled ever, dice kept over from one Turn can be re-rolled the next roll or the roll after - remembering the dice can only be rolled three times which includes the initial roll and up to 2 re-rolls. Arrows can be re-rolled but their effect is taken into account before the re-roll.

There are five dice, each six-sided with indented illustrations of a "1" and a "2" in a circle, a series of 3 Gun blast shots, an Arrow, a Stick of Dynamite and finally a glass of Beer. Each of these has its own special effect. Rolling three Dynamites or three Gatling Guns (the triple Gun Blast die face) are more special than the others and a lot more dangerous.

Every character card shows the number of Hit Points (life points) as Bullets and the players begin with the number shown on their card, the Sheriff always gets two additional Bullets at the beginning, this is because everyone bar the Deputy is out to get him/her (and sometimes even the Deputies will have a pop at the Sheriff if they are trying to keep their identity secret, though it isn't too good an idea as a Deputy to regularly shoot your Boss).

Certain die results can lose character's lives or gain them lives. There are only nine Arrows in the game and immediately the last (the ninth) Arrow is taken from supply all characters lose one life for every Arrow in front of them, then the Arrows are returned to the supply - you never see those pesky injuns but you sure get the point when they pop up.

In the card game there are cards that players can play against being shot to show that the shooter missed, in the Dice game if you are shot at you are generally hit and lose a life (a Bullet - yes you can cash in 3 value Bullets to get change from the Bullet Bank). Some characters can dodge or divert shots fired at them but never all the time and generally only from certain actions/weapons. The "1" and "2" on the dice faces mean you can shoot the person on either side of you (the "1") or the person either side of you or the person either side of them, ie two people away from you round the table; in the card game this is accomplished by Rifles.

Three Dynamites ends your turn and you lose a life (careless), three Gatling Guns and all other characters (except yours) loses a life. Arrows lose the character one life per arrow rolled and finally the sixth side, Beer, heals a lost life (can be used on any character and may be a clue as to who is playing Deputy) but doesn't give more than the character began with.

Overall this is a good fun game that plays quicker than the Card game, person to person (ie a 5 player card game takes longer to play than a five player dice game) but in comparison it doesn't have all the mechanics and components of the Card game. It is meant for fast play, fun and lots of back-stabbing (if you can call using a pistol to shoot a friend stabbing them in the back).

The game ending and winner decision is the same; the Sheriff wins if the Outlaws and Renegades are eliminated (this is the hardest result to get), the Outlaws win if the Sheriff dies (easiest result) the Renegade/s has/have to be the only character/s left alive (this is also really difficult) so hope for being dealt an Outlaw when the game starts.

BANG! in any form, has been a favourite game of mine, (favourite of GGO in fact) for a good few years. There are expansions that add to it and give players some valuable additional fun times, but overall the basic game, be it card or dice is all you truly need (as well as at least 6 players - less can play but the more the merrier really counts here). BANG! was another game to grace our Christmas table this year and like many others is a game you should have at least one edition of in your collection - you never know when you'll need a fun game that can take many players.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015