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For 1 player - Lone Gunslinger Print
Thursday, 18 November 2010 16:39 | Written by srab

The LONE GUNSLINGER is a variant for BANG! This is an exciting challenge for the fans of this daVinci wild-west card-game who cannot always count on real opponents.

A common BANG! deck - please remove the following cards:

  • 1 Deputy card
  • 6 characters (use these cards to keep track of life points: El Gringo, Jesse Jones, Calamity Janet, Kit Carlson, Pedro Ramirez, Sid Ketchum.

Put the Sheriff card face up in front of you. Deal face down the other 5 Role cards randomly, forming a circle, just like you were playing with 5 other players around the table.
Put to the side of each Role card a character card chosen randomly; use for each Role one of the removed character card face down to keep track of life points, as usual.
Reveal the Role cards to see where your Deputy is, and where are the Outlaws.
Before starting, Sheriff and Deputy draw as many cards as their starting life points: keep these cards face up on the table, near the characters they belong to.
Important: the other characters do not receive cards at this stage.

The game rules follow as strictly as possible the rules of the 2nd edition of BANG!: the main difference is that the player controls both the Sheriff and the Deputy, while other characters (NPC - Non Playing Cowboys) have their actions given by the cards drawn during their "turn".

The Sheriff begins. He draws 2 cards and plays, as usual, following the standard rules of BANG!.
When it is again his turn or his Deputy's turn, the game always proceeds in the canonical way: draw 2 cards from the deck, play as many cards as you want, and finally, if required, discard as many cards from the hand until you have the same number of cards and remaining life points.
The aim of the game is to kill all the Outlaws and the Renegade before one of them kills the poor Sheriff.
Thus the Sheriff and the Deputy are controlled by the player, who will try to do his job.

Note: the role of the Renegade is changed from the original: his aim is now to kill first the Deputy and then the Sheriff, without damaging in any way the Outlaws (who, on their side, don't want to harm him in any way as well).

When it is a NPC's turn, the play differs from usual. Each NPC has a Stack near him, a stack which is initially empty.
When the NPC draws cards, the Stack starts filling, and he will use automatically the card on the top of the Stack.
Practically speaking, a NPC's turn is as follows:

  1. Draw 2 cards from the deck and put them on the Stack face up, in the same order they have been drawn (i.e., the last card will be on top of the Stack); make sure all cards on the Stack are visible.
  2. Examine all the cards of the Stack, beginning from the top: if you find a card you can use in an appropriate way (see below), use it; otherwise, go on to the next card. After using a card, repeat step 2, until there are no cards on the Stack you can use.
  3. Discard from the bottom of the Stack all the cards exceeding the hand size limit of that character.
  4. pass the turn to the next player.

During a NPC's turn, remember to use his special ability when it is needed!

The Preferred Target of the Outlaws is the Sheriff: when he can choose who they can damage (forcing to lose cards or life points), an Outlaw will always choose the Sheriff first. Only if the Sheriff is at an unreachable distance, the Outlaw will target the Deputy (who becomes, for that turn, his Preferred Target).
The Preferred Target of the Renegade is the Deputy: the Renegade will not damage the Sheriff if the Deputy is still alive. Only when the Deputy is dead the Renegade will join the Outlaws in killing the Sheriff (who, for the rest of the game, will be his new Preferred Target).

The rule of thumb is: a NPC will use automatically any card that will give him an immediate advantage,
For example, an Outlaw will always try to kill a Deputy, even if killing him would mean go nearer to a Sheriff who will kill him easily shortly after; or, a Renegade will use immediately an Indians!, even if in doing so he will damage all the friends of his, if this means trying to deal a blow to the Deputy (or the Sheriff).
This is a summary of how a NPC will use the cards on his Stack:

BANG!: if possible, a BANG! on the Stack is always used on the Preferred Target. A BANG! is also automatically discarded in response of the Indians!.

MISSED!: this card stays on the Stack until discarded at the end of the turn, or used against a Gatling or a BANG!.

BEER and SALOON: they are always played unless the NPC is at full health. The Beer can also be used out of the turn if the character is losing his last life point.

CAT BALOU and PANIC: if the NPC plays a Cat Balou, his Preferred Target must discard (or give) a card, at the player's choice. However, the character will prefer blue cards in play first (excluding Jail, of course!), then a blue card in the hand, and then any other card.
Exception: the NPC won't use the card if his Preferred Target has no cards in hand: however, if the Sheriff has no cards unlike the Deputy, the NPC may use the card on the Deputy.

WELLS FARGO and STAGECOACH: are played immediately to add cards on the Stack.

INDIANS!, GATLING and DYNAMITE: are always played immediately, regardless of friends and opponents. If a NPC kills an Outlaw, he collects the 3 cards reward from the deck and adds them to his Stack.

DUEL: is always played against the Preferred Target, even if the NPC will surely lose the fight.

GENERAL STORE: the NPC draws as many cards as the players still alive, and forms a new Stack with them. Each character draws a card from this Stack, but while the Sheriff and the Deputy can choose any of the remaining cards, other NPCs always draw the first card.

BLUE CARDS: are always played, unless there is already a card with the same name in play in front of the NPC. Weapon cards, however, are played only if they increase the NPC's reachable distance.
Exception 1: the Volcanic will replace another weapon, if the Preferred Target is at distance 1.
Exception 2: the Jail is always played on the Deputy if possible, otherwise it is not played.

Important: Sheriff and Deputy do not collect the 3 cards reward for killing an Outlaw!

When a NPC plays a Missed!, Beer, BANG! in a Duel, or any other card useful to protect him, he will always choose the card nearest to the top of his Stack.

These rules are all you need to play a solitaire version of BANG!. The basic rule is that NPCs play all cards they can in their turn to gain an immediate advantage.

At the moment, we don't give the detailed rules to play with the official expansions of the game like High Noon, Dodge City or A Fistful of Cards. Do it yourself! Of course, the simplest change is to use the new characters of Dodge City: Elena Fuente and Sean Mallory are, among others, particularly deadly...

You will soon discover that, even if they start without cards in their Stack, NPCs will fight you hard from the very first game.
When you feel quite confident about your abilities, try to change the difficulty level of the game from 0 (no starting card in the Stacks) to 1 (each NPC receives one card at the beginning of the game), until you reach level 4 (all NPCs receive the cards as in the standard game). The author of these rules barely manages to survive at level 2: and you?

You will spot that this variation of the game, as well as the other ones for two and three players (download them from the website HTTP://WWW.DAVINCIGAMES.COM/), radically changes some basic mechanism of the original game.
More precisely, there are no hidden roles, and even more all the cards of all the players are face up.
Being capable of manoeuvring six characters, your aim is to spot where the most urgent danger is, and deal with it quickly.
With some experience, you will notice that Willy the Kid with several BANG!s in his Stack, Jourdonnais with a Barrel in play, or a well-armed Slab the Killer are extremely dangerous.
Remember that the Renegade is not an immediate threat for the Sheriff, so while your Deputy is still alive you may ignore him and focus on the Outlaws.

Don't forget that NPCs may accidentally kill themselves, especially with Gatling or Indians!.
Don't worry if you lose the first games: as in AL CABOHNE, the solitaire version of BOHNANZA which inspired this variation, the first games are useful especially to get in touch with the mechanics of the game and of NPCs.
If you want, you may use for the first game a common house rules: draw two character cards for each Role and choose which one will be the character card and which one will be the life-keeping card instead.

And, if you really feel like a Lone Gunslinger without fear, try the following additional variations which make the game even more difficult (although in our humble opinion the game is already very challenging)... However, here they are:

The Night Brings Chaos. Each time the deck completely depletes and you have to reshuffle it, the night comes: all NPCs rest and regain one lost life point. Sheriff and Deputy, on the contrary, cannot rest and keep their current life points.

The Four Most Wanted. Before starting, put aside from the character deck the following cards: Slab the Killer, Willy the Kid, Bart Cassidy and Jourdonnais. Shuffle them and deal one to each NPC. Then draw randomly two characters for the Sheriff and the Deputy, and play as usual. You will soon realize that this 'wild bunch' of NPCs is absolutely deadly: you will have to continuously keep an eye on the weapons and BANG!s in the Stacks of Willy and Slab, while in the meantime trying not to let the other two becoming too powerful.

Play a game at level 4, with the rules of The Night Brings Chaos and The Four Most Wanted. You will need a lot of luck and, maybe, even some life-saving bullet-proof Bible in your jacket to have a chance to survive...