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Bang! The Dice Game Review and Instructions

How to Play | Review | Final Verdict | Comments

How to Play

Objective

The objective of Bang! The Dice Game is to achieve your role’s goal condition.

  • Sheriff: Kill all of the outlaws and renegades.
  • Deputies: Keep the sheriff alive.
  • Outlaws: Kill the sheriff.
  • Renegades: Be the last player alive.

Setup

To begin the game take role cards based on the number of players:

  • 3 Players: 1 Deputy, 1 Renegade, 1 Outlaw (the three player game has special rules so see the section below that details them)
  • 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 Deputies
  • 8 Players: 1 Sheriff, 2 Renegades, 3 Outlaws, 2 Deputies

The role cards are shuffled and each player randomly picks one. The sheriff must turn their card face up but the rest of the players keep their roles secret from the rest of the players.

Shuffle all of the character cards and have each player draw one. All character cards are placed face up since they give each player a special ability. Each player gets a number of bullets equal to the number printed on their card. The sheriff gets two additional bullets.

Getting A Role in Bang The Dice Game
The player on the left is the sheriff and will get 10 bullets/health tokens. The player on the right is a renegade and will get 8 bullets.

Each player gets a summary card. All of the arrow tokens and the bullet tokens not given out are placed in the center of the table. The sheriff player gets to play first.

Player’s Turn

A player’s turn starts with rolling all five dice. After all five dice are rolled the player has the option to re-roll any or all of their dice that aren’t dynamite symbols. Players can re-roll any of their dice (except for dynamite symbols) a second time and they can re-roll dice they didn’t re-roll the first time. When a player likes their dice roll or after their third roll, players resolve the effects of the dice and play moves to the next player.

Dice Symbols

The effects of the dice must be used in the following order. You must use the effect of all of the dice and cannot pass on using any of them.

Arrow

When you roll an arrow you must immediately take one of the arrow tokens from the middle of the table.

Rolling Arrows in Bang The Dice Game
This player has rolled two arrow tokens. They will draw two arrow tiles from the middle of the table. If they took the last arrow from the table an arrow attack will occur.

When the last arrow is taken from the table, an arrow attack occurs. Players lose one health point for each arrow that they have (unless their character’s ability alters this). After resolving an attack all of the arrows are placed back into the center of the table. You may re-roll this die after you have taken the arrow token.

Losing Health from Arrows in Bang The Dice Game
An arrow attack has occurred. The player shown has three arrows. This player would lose three health points from their three arrows.

Dynamite

When a dynamite symbol is rolled, the die cannot be re-rolled during the turn. If a player rolls three dynamites, their turn ends immediately and they lose one health point. All other dice effects are still resolved but no dice may be re-rolled.

Dynamite in Bang The Dice Game
This player’s turn will end immediately. They lose one health from the dynamite but they also get to use the other two symbols rolled.

Bull’s Eye 1

The player does one damage to the player on their right or the player on their left. Damage is dealt by taking a number of bullets equal to the amount of damage dealt.

Bull’s Eye 2

The player does one damage to the player two positions to the left or right.

Dice Rolling in Bang The Dice Game
The player has rolled a 1 and a two so the player can do one damage to the player to their left or right and they can do a point of damage to a player two spaces to their left or right.

Beer

A player can heal one health point for themselves or heal one health point for any other player. At no time can a player have more health than they had at the start of the game.

Gatling

If a player rolls three gatling symbols, they do one damage to every other player and they get to get rid of all of their arrow tokens.

Gatling Gun in Bang The Dice Game
The player has rolled three gatling gun symbols. This means they do one damage to all of the other players as well as get rid of the arrow tokens they have in front of them.

Dying

When a player runs out of life points/bullets they are killed and eliminated from the game. The player reveals their role to all of the other players and discards all of their arrow tokens. A player that is killed no longer makes any moves but can still win if their partners win the game.

End of Game

Bang! The Dice Game ends immediately if the sheriff is killed, all of the outlaws and renegades are killed, or there is only one player remaining. If all of the outlaws and renegades are killed the sheriff and deputies win the game. If the sheriff is killed and there is more than one player remaining or all of the renegades are dead, the outlaws win the game. If the sheriff dies and the only player remaining is a renegade, the renegade remaining wins the game. Renegades do not share a victory with other renegades.

Three Player Game

In the three player game one player plays as the deputy, one as the renegade, and one as the outlaw. All roles in the game are revealed so everyone knows who the other players are. The goal of each player is as follows:

  • The deputy has to kill the renegade.
  • The renegade has to kill the outlaw.
  • The outlaw has to kill the deputy.

The deputy gets to take the first turn. A player wins immediately if they deal the killing blow to their target. If another player kills a player other than their target, the final two players must kill each other to win the game.

Review

Bang! the game came out in 2002 to some mixed reviews. Some people love the card game while others hate it. I have heard a lot about the game but I have never actually played the game. When I found the dice game cheap at a flea market I decided to give the game a chance. While I wish Bang! The Dice Game played a little better with four players, it does a good job combining a dice rolling game with a role/deduction game to make a quick and fun little game.

While I have never been a big fan of dice games, I have always liked the concept behind hidden role games. The problem is that some of these games are somewhat difficult to play and don’t really work well without a large group of the right type of players. One thing I really liked about Bang! The Dice Game is that it is quick and easy to play. The game takes minutes to teach and maybe fifteen minutes to play. The game works great as a filler game.

While the game doesn’t have a ton of strategy, I have to say that it has more to it than most dice games due to the deduction mechanics. The dice mechanics are pretty generic since they work like most other dice games where each symbol performs a different action. Your success in the game will rely heavily on how well you roll the dice.

What I like about the game is that you actually have more decisions in the game than your typical dice rolling game. First you need to try and figure out the identity of the other players while also trying to keep your own identity secret. Eventually every player will have to make a move that will reveal their true identity but it is advantageous to try and keep it secret for as long as possible since the other faction won’t go straight for you then, There is only so much you can do to protect your identity though since if you are a deputy you can’t do too much damage to the sheriff and if you are an outlaw you can’t avoid the sheriff for too long or you will lose.

The other strategic elements in the game come from how to use the dice you end up rolling. For the most part there isn’t a situation where there is a clear cut way to use your dice. For example the gatling gun is powerful but it will damage your teammates as well which might not be such a good thing if it leads to their death. Even making the decision to re-roll your dice brings some risk with it. Every time you roll the dice you risk rolling an arrow which will deal damage to you or rolling a dynamite which might lead to rolling three dynamite which will hurt you. To avoid arrows you may decide to take a less desirable roll just to avoid risking rolling an arrow.

The arrows are too big of a punishment in the game in my opinion. The arrow attacks probably do the most damage in the whole game so you want to try to avoid rolling arrows if possible. Unless you have an ability that limits how much damage you can take from arrows, you will probably lose a majority of your health to arrows. I like the idea behind the arrows but I think their power should have been limited a little since they seem to have too big of an impact on the game.

Overall I really liked the idea of the roles in Bang! The Dice Game. The only thing about the roles that worries me is that I don’t always think they are that balanced. The renegade in particular seems to have a really hard path to victory. While the renegade won’t get a full attack from either side, it will get attacked by both at times and the renegade doesn’t have their fate in their own hands since the outlaws only have to kill the sheriff to win the game.

At the same time I think the sheriff can be at a disadvantage at times since everyone but the deputies are going to eventually go after them. This means that there is always going to be more people after the sheriff than there are going to be on the sheriff’s side. In game’s with four players the sheriff seems to be at a bigger disadvantage since they don’t even get help from a deputy.

The easiest role seems to be the outlaws. The outlaw faction outnumbers all of the other factions and they will get help from the renegades in killing the sheriff. The outlaws don’t even need to be alive to win the game.

Another potential problem with the roles is that one faction could get an advantage in the game before it even begins. Since players usually can only shoot players within one or two spots of them, in larger games it could be possible for one faction to be at a big disadvantage without having a way to even fix the problem. For example if the outlaws all end up being next to one another they could be forced to shoot one another since they can’t reach players from the other faction. The same can be true if the outlaws surround the sheriff since they can do a lot of damage to the sheriff.

In addition to the roles each player gets a character card that gives them a special ability. These special abilities are a good idea for the most part. They add more variety to the game since they change things up enough that no two games are likely to be the same. The special abilities could have a pretty big impact on the game but they are simple enough that every player can quickly tell what their ability does. I am a little concerned that some of the special abilities seemed stronger than others though.

While Bang! The Dice Game can be played with 3-8 players, I would not recommend playing the game with three or four people. I played the game with four people and the game just doesn’t work that well with so few players. With this configuration there is just the sheriff versus the other three players. The renegade can help the sheriff out some by helping take out the outlaws but the sheriff is still at a huge disadvantage. Basically all of the players are at least somewhat going after the sheriff. I believe the game would work much better with more players since there is more going on which makes it harder to figure out the roles of the other players. If you can’t find more than four players I would highly recommend looking at some the variants on BoardGameGeek. Bang The Dice Game is a game that should be better the more players play the game.

Component wise the game really shines. The dice are very nice and the symbols are really easy to read which makes it easy to figure out what you rolled. I like that all of the symbols are also engraved so you don’t have to worry as much about the paint fading off. The cards are quite nice especially the artwork.

Final Verdict

I had quite a bit of fun with Bang! The Dice Game. While the game is far from perfect, the game is fun as well as quick to play and learn. The game does a good job creating a hidden role game that is quick to play and accessible to people who don’t play a lot of board games. I just wish the game had a little more balance to some of the roles and I wish the game would play a little better with fewer players.

If the game’s concept interests you I think you will enjoy the game. If you have a large group to play the game with it will be even better. If you hate dice games or don’t care for hidden role games, Bang! The Dice Game may not be for you.

2 thoughts on “Bang! The Dice Game Review and Instructions

  • March 10, 2017 at 3:39 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for the review! 2 questions for you…

    Is it possible to play and explain the game without any mention of “Indians”, instead just referring to being shot with arrows? (Just seems a bit more PC if we can avoid any mention of race/ethnicity. With Bang! The Card Game, “INDIANS!” is printed right across the card, so that’s impossible.) If not, I may opt for Bang! The Walking Dead (either the card game or the dice game)… which I realize is just a reskin (without engraved dice), and I don’t even watch TWD or love zombies… just because it changes the “INDIANS!” text.

    Secondly, do you find that player elimination is problematic? Or are the games short enough where it’s pretty tolerable? I’ve read that (Bang spinoff) Samurai Sword has an honor system to remove player elimination, but it sounds clunky.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2017 at 1:20 pm
      Permalink

      Hello. Thanks for the comment.

      As far as your first question I agree that the “Indians” references in the game could be handled much better and changed to something else. For the dice game you could just ignore it entirely and just refer to them as arrow attacks. The rules do refer to them as Indian attacks but I decided to change the how to play section and refer to them as arrow attacks. I haven’t played the card game version of Bang! yet so I don’t know how it would work with that version of the game.

      As far as the player elimination mechanic, I haven’t played the game in quite a while but I remember the game playing pretty quickly so players don’t have to wait too long for the other players to finish the game. I haven’t played the card game version of the game so I can’t comment on how the player elimination works in that game.

      I hope this helps.

      Eric

      Reply

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