If you’ve ever fantasized about playing the card game version of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, then BANG! will definitely be the answer to your prayers.
The BANG! card game rules follow that to any good Spaghetti Western – if you’re the Sheriff, you must defeat the Outlaws, and if you’re the Outlaws, you must eliminate the lawmen.
And although the game is based on adult themes, there’s nothing included that is unsuitable for kids, so you can play this one with younger children too.
So continue reading to learn how to play BANG! including all the game rules and different mechanics which set it apart from other card games.
What Is BANG!?
BANG! is the western-themed card game that is all about playing the right cards, targeting the right players, and ensuring that the other players have no idea what you are planning.
Known in France as ‘Wanted,’ the game was originally produced in Italy, which explains why there are strong Spaghetti Western vibes to the game (think Fistful of Dollars or Django Unchained).
Number of Players Required: 4-7 players.
Who Can Play It: Recommended for ages 8+.
Difficulty: Medium difficulty.
Length of Play: 20 – 40 minutes.
Main Objective: Depending on whether you are a Sheriff or an Outlaw, outlast the other players and survive until the end.
Why We Love It: Perfect for adults who love old Westerns or kids who love Cowboys. BANG! sometimes encourages teamwork, sometimes favors individuals whilst also being fun as each player has a different role with their own objectives to fulfill.
Playing BANG! – What You’ll Need.
All you’ll need for BANG! is the official game set, which comes with all of the following:
- 1 Sheriff
- 2 Deputies
- 3 Outlaws
- 1 Renegade
- 16 Characters
- 7 Summary cards
- 80 Playing cards
- 30 Bullets
- 7 Playing board
If you’re someone who likes aesthetically pleasing game boxes to contain their favorite games, go for the collector’s edition version of BANG!
This has everything that comes with the standard version, except it all comes in a bullet-shaped game box which definitely looks more interesting on display.
How To Set Up BANG!
Each player needs to grab their own playing board, which they will use to store their cards throughout the game.
Use the following number of cards depending on the number of players that you have:
- 4 players – 1 Sheriff, 1 Renegade, 2 Outlaws
- 5 players – 1 Sheriff,1 Renegade, 2 Outlaws, 1 Deputy
- 6 players – 1 Sheriff, 1 Renegade, 3 Outlaws, 1 Deputy
- 7 players – 1 Sheriff, 1 Renegade, 3 Outlaws, 2 Deputy
Shuffle the different role cards to players. Whoever is the Sheriff reveals themselves to players while everyone else keeps their role a secret.
Now shuffle the 16 character cards and hand 1 out to each player. One by one, players read out the character’s name and their ability.
They will also notice each character has several bullets on them, and players need to take the same amount that corresponds to their card. The Sheriff also gets an additional bullet to start with as well.
Shuffle all of the playing cards and hand out each player 1 card for every bullet they have. Place the remaining playing cards in the center of players as the draw pile.
Leave a space next to the draw pile to act as the discard pile for cards used throughout the game.
BANG! Card Game Rules
Each character’s unique ability makes the game different every time you play and can change the game at any point.
The bullets players have to start with act as each player lives, and once all their bullets are gone, it signifies that the player is out of the game.
Starting the Game.
All players start the game with a Colt .45 card on each player’s gameboard and has a distance of 1.
Whoever is the Sheriff always begins the game. Players turns are split into 3 different phases:
- Drawing 2 cards – From the draw pile, players always pick up 2 cards.
- Play a card or cards – Players can pick any number of their cards in their hands to play on their turn. The exception to this is that players must only play 1 BANG! card per turn, cannot play duplicate cards, and must only have 1 weapon in play.
- Discard cards – Get rid of any cards that exceed the player’s hand limit related to the number of bullets left.
It should also be noted that cards either come with a blue border or a brown border.
Blue border cards stay on the game board, whereas the brown bordered cards are effect cards added to the discard pile once used.
Once the Sheriff finishes their turn, play continues clockwise with the next player taking their turn.
How to Play BANG!
The overall objective of BANG! is dependent on what role you get at the start of the game and must be kept in mind while making decisions throughout the game.
- Sheriff – Tasked with eliminating the Outlaws and the Renegade, but must avoid eliminating the deputies.
- Deputy – Protect the Sheriff at all costs and help attempt to take out the Outlaws and Renegade.
- Outlaws – Wants to eliminate the Sheriff and eliminate any other player while trying to achieve this.
- Renegade – Become the last player standing.
Each playing card has a description of its function, with the majority of cards designed to attack another player.
Make sure each player is aware of their character’s ability as this can help throughout the game or avoid a sticky situation.
For example, if a player has a Missed card, they can use it when being attacked to make the attack fail. They can also use this outside of their turn too.
Attacking a player requires a weapon card and the correct BANG! card but also relies on a mechanic which measures the distance between players.
If a card has a distance of 1 displayed on it, they can only attack a player that is 1 place away in the circle or directly next to them.
However, a card with a 3 distance will mean that a player 3 or less distance away can get attacked.
If a player gets eliminated, they no longer count as being in the circle, and the distance adjusts.
Eliminating a player
Each bullet counts as a life point for the players. If an attack succeeds, then a bullet gets removed from the player.
Once they are all gone, that player is out, although there are cards and abilities that either give extra bullets or stops elimination from being wary of as well.
If a player gets eliminated, they must show the others their role card and put all of their cards into the discard pile.
Players also need to be wary of who they eliminate as well, and there are no requirements that players must be truthful with their role other than the Sheriff, which can lead to confusion.
If a Sheriff eliminates their Deputy, they are punished by having to remove all of their cards from their hand and redraw their hand in play.
However, anyone who manages to remove an Outlaw from the game gets rewarded by drawing an extra 3 cards from the deck to use on their next turn.
Scoring In BANG!
There is no scoring system to speak of in BANG! as the game ends in either 1 of 3 ways.
The game either ends with the Sheriff and Deputy’s winning if all the Outlaws and Renegades get eliminated from the game.
Or it ends when the Sheriff gets eliminated, where the remaining Outlaws win.
Finally, if the Renegade can be the only player left at the end of the game, then they take the victory.
If you’re planning on playing multiple rounds of BANG! then it may be worth implementing a scoring system after each game played.
Award Sheriffs, Deputies, and Outlaws 1 point for every game they win, and Renegades 3 points (as it’s harder to win games as the Renegade).
At the end of the game, tally up points to declare the overall winner of BANG!.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many cards do you deal in BANG!?
Each player gets initially dealt the same number of cards equal to the number of bullets they start with, but this figure can adjust throughout the game.
As a rule of thumb, players must always have the same number of cards as bullets they have, which means as they lose bullets, they lose cards as well.
Are there any BANG! card game rules to make the game easier for newcomers?
To make the game easier, to begin with, it’s a good idea to remove all of the cards that have a book symbol, leaving the easier-to-follow cards in the deck.
Can you play BANG! with less than 4 players?
Unfortunately not, due to the number of roles and characters you need for the game to work, it isn’t possible to play with less than 4 players.
Alternative Games to BANG!
If you’re after games that are similar to BANG! then we recommend looking at other game guides such as the Saboteur rules, which also features players getting roles at the start, which affects gameplay throughout the game.