Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Michael Palm &
Lukas Zach


No. of Players:
3 - 8



In recent years there has been a distinct revival of dice games, but even though these games have been enriched with interesting mechanisms and background stories, many of them still show a considerable likeness with the classic playing-rhythm found in Yahtzee: Take your dice and roll once, and then make up to two re-rolls with some or all of your dice in order to get a better result. Some quite different games like Roll Through the Ages, CV, Dungeon Roll or King of Tokyo have successfully built on this mechanism, and the popularity of these games stands as a proof that the general attractiveness of luck-based dice-games is still unbroken. Of course, there always have been some groups of hard-core gamers where such games will be avoided due to their randomness, but for many families and other gaming groups this kind of games still ranks high on their list of favorite games. So, it is no surprise that ABACUS is following this trend, and when trying to find a theme for a dicegame it was an almost natural choice to locate it in the Wild West – the world of their successful cardgame Bang!.

Indeed, Bang! The Dicegame is a faithful clone of classic Bang!, with the players receiving random identity cards at the beginning of the game which will assign them roles of Sheriff, Deputy, Outlaw and Bounty Hunter. Only the Sheriff’s identity is revealed at the beginning of the game, whereas all other players keep their identities secret. During the course of the game the Sheriff and his Deputies will try to find out and eliminate all Outlaws and Bounty Hunters, whereas the Outlaws will try to eliminate the Sheriff. The Bounty Hunter is a real loner, and so a player with this role only can win if all other players have been removed from the game.


To determine each player’s beginning level of life points (represented by cartridge markers), each player also receives a character card which lists his individual life points and a special ability. However, to balance the fact that the Sheriff is known at the beginning of the game, the Sheriff player will receive two additional life points bolster up his character for the first onslaught of the Outlaws. As might be guessed, the players will lose their life points during the course of the game, and a character who runs out of them will be defeated and drop out of the gunfight.

The gunfight itself is dealt with by rolling a hand of five dice, and each of these identical dice shows six different faces with different consequences:

  • Most easy are the results Shoot at distance 1 and Shoot at distance 2. A player with these results may chose other players sitting at the corresponding distance around the table, and these players will be forced to lose one life point for each short assigned to them.
  • A bit more devastating is the Gatling Gun. If a player is left with at least three dice showing this result at the end of his rolling, all other players will be forced to lose one life point, regardless of their alignment and distance to the active player.
  • Usually a player gets up to two re-rolls, but dice showing Dynamite become locked and cannot be re-rolled. If a player is left with at least three dynamites by the end of his rolling, the whole charge blows up and costs the active player a life point.
  • In addition, the active player also may be attacked by Indians. Dice with this result actually can be re-rolled, but for each Indian-symbol rolled during the course of his turn the active player needs to take an Arrow token, regardless whether he chooses to re-roll the dice or not. For the moment the Arrow tokens mean no further harm, but whenever a player exhausts the common stockpile of Arrow tokens (nine in total), the Indians will launch an attack and all players will lose life points corresponding to the number of Arrow tokens they have collected. So, re-rolling dice always comes at the risk of getting even more Arrow tokens, and this may well turn out to be disastrous when the Indians are activated.
  • However, despite all the gunsmoke and noise, there is also the possibility to visit the Saloon for a Beer, and each beer rolled will give the active player the choice to chose a player (including himself) who is allowed to recover a life point.

This short summary already lists all essential rules of the game, but some additional variation is introduced by the aforementioned character cards. Each of the 16 characters included in the game has a unique special ability which allows him to bend the rules the one or other way. So, Calamity Janet may exchange the distance of shooting results, Lucky Duke gets one additional re-roll, Willy the Kit activates the Gatling Gun with just two dice, and Vulture Sam gains two life points whenever another player is removed from the game. As can be seen here, the available special abilities are quite various, but gameplay has shown that they are more or less evenly balanced, especially since a character with a seemingly strong special ability may become a priority target of some of his opponents - even though this comes at the price that these players may be delayed eliminating their primary target(s).

In comparison to Roll Through the Ages or CV is becomes clear that Bang! The Dicegame features a much lighter gameplay with less calculations and tactical implications, but this is coupled with the achievement that player interaction is much higher than in the aforementioned games. The players are constantly trying to get their opponents out of the game, and especially during the first few turns this is additionally spiced up by the uncertainty whether a player is actually shooting at a friend or an enemy. Each round of Bang! The Dicegame has its own dynamics, and the game goes rather fast even if played with a full cast of eight players. In fact, the game gets better the more players participate, and here Bang! The Dicegame finds a good balance between the general pace and the action phase of each player. And even the players who drop out early during a game need not be disappointed – the next round usually is less than 10 minutes away!

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Copyright & copy; 2014 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany