I Shot the Sheriff. (So. Many. Times.)

Six friends and I learned a new card game today: BANG! It was awesomely fun, not only because of the game itself, but also because the title lends itself ever so well to the "that's what she said" joke variety.

All seven of us had never played before, so there were no unfair advantages. We got through two games in four-and-a-half hours, though it's possible half that time was spent reading and rereading the 9-page instructions, which were already well-worn by the end of the evening. Since it's originally an Italian game (La Pallotolla!), all the cards and instructions were helpfully bilingual. Sample instruction: "Let us suppose that A wants to shoot C. A wants to play a BANG! card against C. Usually C would be at a distance of 2, therefore A would need a weapon to shoot at this distance: a Schofield, a Remington, a Rev. Carabine or a Winchester, but not a Volcanic or the ol' Colt .45. If A has a Scope in play, he would see C at a distance of 1, and therefore he could use any weapon to shoot at him. But if C has a Mustang in play, then the two cards would combine and A would still see C at a distance of 2." Now imagine 9 pages of this with character cards, role cards, BANG! cards, summary cards, life points, and superpowers worked in.

It's worth noting that the reason all seven of us know each other is because we all went to graduate school together, therefore raising the question of "how many MBAs does it take to figure out how to play an Old West shootout card game?" (My guess? 7 people and 4+ hours.) We were absolutely, completely, totally lost in the beginning.

Basically, one of you is the sheriff, one of you is the Renegade (trending nicely with one of my songs of the moment!), and the rest of you are either sheriff's deputies or outlaws, though the roles are all secret except for the sheriff. Some of my favorite things about this game, now that I vaguely understand it:

  • A beer can literally bring you back to life.
  • "This game has the least sexy duels in history." - credit to Ketan for that one
  • You can only bang one person per turn. Pretty much like in real life.

Spoiler alert: I was an outlaw. Uncle Will was my name. One by one, my friends fell, until it was just me and the sheriff. Bob Marley was singing in the background. I shot the sheriff, and she shot me back. So. Many. Times. We both kept missing, she kept throwing me in prison, I kept breaking out, Indians intervened, and at one point, a well-before-its time machine gun nearly played a decisive role. 

But in the end, Uncle Will (again, that's me, for those of us keeping score at home) prevailed, and with a final heroically outlawish BANG!, I shot the sheriff one final time (who by then was out of beer, both literally and figuratively.) 

 That's me. #winning

That's me. #winning

Terrific game. So much fun. Let's all bang again sometime soon, yes?


P.S. Theme song: