Bang! is an online board game based on the spaghetti western-style board game of the same name. Some of you may have played this game in its original format and if so you will already know what it’s all about. I myself quite enjoy the occasional card game so I was intrigued as to what this could offer, hoping it will be a nice change from playing solitaire. I personally had never heard of this game, it may well be bigger across the pond, but, after a bit of research, it seems that it has been enjoyed by families all over for many years. The game has been developed by SpinVector, and they have managed the transfer to videogame in a way that enables everyone to play across multiple platforms. Here, I am reviewing the PC version, but I will expand on the multi-platform options later.
So what is Bang! All about? Well, the first thing you need to do is play the tutorial. I am sure if you already know the game and the rules you could probably skip this part, but as I did not have a clue about the game, I heading straight to it. The tutorial explains the basics and all the controls by having you play a single complete game. Bang! Can be played on your own, against four other computer players, or, you can play with 3-7 players across the internet, with each of these players taking on one of the four roles available. All the roles are randomly assigned to each player at the beginning.
The game is pretty complicated at first and will be far too hard to explain easily here, but I will explain the basics. Each role has a different objective, the Sheriff together with the Deputies team up to gun down all the bad guys. The Outlaws want to gun down the Sheriff and the Renegade wants to first gun down the Sheriff and, at the beginning of the game, he pretends to be the Deputy. Everyone knows who the Sheriff is, but the other roles are all a secret and must be discovered. Players draw cards from the main deck that have various effects or actions associated with them.
A Bang! card, for example, shoots a player of your choice, however, if that player has a Missed card, they can use that and you will miss. Each player has a certain amount of lives until they are eliminated. There are loads of different types of cards, and it takes a long time to work out the best cards to use and what they do. Even after the tutorial I felt very overwhelmed. The whole idea is to work out who is who and who is against you. The Sheriff, for example, wants to find his real Deputies and gang up together against the Outlaws and Renegades. There is a layer of strategy to the game in terms of both fooling people into thinking you are a role that you are not and playing your cards in the right order to maintain a healthy hand.
As I mentioned earlier, Bang! enables you to play people on almost every device known, from an IPhone to you PC. This is the first time I have seen a multi-platform multiplayer aspect in a game and it is a very cleaver feature. I was expecting a simple and short life span to the game, after all, we have seen so many board games given digital makeovers and so many fail. However, this is one that I was pleasantly surprised by. The only real bad point is that the learning curve is very steep, and you really need to play a few single player games before you attack the multiplayer side or you will find yourself way out of your depth.
The controls are simple, however, as you just use your mouse to move cards around and the graphics are colourfully drawn. There are four music sound tracks to select, or you can, of course, just play your own music in the background. The music SpinVector have supplied is all of the cowboy type to match the game, however, I found the tunes annoying after a while and resorted to my own. You can, of course, play the game in Windowed mode as well, so you can do other stuff at the same time if you wish. This is nice and really helps the idea that this is a relaxing card game.
To round things off then, Bang! is a fun digital version of a classic card game and if you are looking for an easy going change from solitaire then this might be your game. After a few games you will soon get the hang of things and if you play your cards right you will thoroughly enjoy this new title from SpinVector.
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