FTW Staff Picks - Bang! The Dice Game
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
BANG! The Dice Game
Genre: Social Deduction
Designer: Michael Palm, Lukas Zach
Player Size: 3 to 8 Players
Game Length: 15 minutes
For fans of: Avalon, Shadow Hunters, Werewolf
The original BANG! was one of the few semi-cooperative, social deduction games that I couldn't get into. It felt like the game aspect took too much priority over the social aspect. BANG! The Dice Game takes the essence of BANG! and simplifies it for quick engagement. Before diving headfirst into something as confrontational as Avalon, BANG! The Dice Game is an alternative for more friendlier competition.
In BANG! The Dice Game, players are randomly given a secret role to begin the game: Sheriff, Deputy, Outlaw or Renegade. Only the Sheriff reveals their role at the start, while the rest remain hidden. The Sheriff and his Deputies win the game if all Outlaws are eliminated from the game. The Outlaws win the game if the Sheriff is eliminated. And the Renegade simply wants to be the last one standing. Each turn the current player will roll the 5 dice. The different faces on the dice allow the current player to attack, heal and anger the Natives. Attacking is limited to players to the immediate right and left, or two players away. Once a player loses all of their health they are eliminated from the game. Once one of the factions win condition has been satisfied the game is over!
Each player is given a special ability to coincide with their role. The different abilities are balanced through different maximum healths. The stronger the ability, the lower the health cap. Most of the game relies on deceiving the various players in the game. At some point it will be beneficial to earn the trust of the Sheriff. Similar to Shadow Hunters, revealing your intentions early can be beneficial to your team. But at the end of the day, timing is everything. Each of the 3 factions are fun to play as, and the Renegade's win condition makes it feel like a true challenge.
Not everyone can be a good liar, and BANG! The Dice Game is a good introduction to deception games, because you don't have to be a good liar to enjoy it. None of the factions suffer from having players who are too passive or easy-to-read. Because of that, BANG! The Dice Game is an excellent game to bring out when you want something like Werewolf or Avalon but want to maintain a lighter atmosphere to your gaming session.