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[Review] Bang! - High Noon

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tomvasel
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Joined: 03/23/2011

High Noon (Mayfair Games, 2003 - Emiliano Sciarro) is the first expansion for Bang! As the expansion is only 12 cards - so my review will be rather short. The even shorter summary of the expansion is that it breathed new life into the game of Bang! - enough so, that I think the expansion is almost necessary.

The twelve expansion cards are shuffled and placed face down. Starting with the sheriff’s second turn, one card is turned face up each round and the instructions on the card are followed – many affecting the entire round. I’ll give a brief summary of each card and my thoughts on them…

- High Noon: The only card which is NOT discarded at the end of the round, High Noon causes each player to lose one life point at the start of their turn. This hurries the game along – and causes players to play a little more recklessly – I like it.
- Ghost Town: My favorite card of the set – all players who were previously killed come back for one round, drawing three cards – and they cannot be killed (until the end of the round, where they disappear into the night). This keeps eliminated players from losing interest in the game, and causes some very unique outcomes!
- The Sermon: Players cannot use Bang! cards. Hmmm, a little weak, I guess.
- Curse: The suit of all cards is Spades for the whole round. This hurts the characters Black Jack and Jourdonnoais, and renders Jails and Dynamite deadly and Barrels ineffective. Good card (unless your Black Jack in jail with some dynamite).
- Gold Rush: This round occurs counterclockwise. This is more interesting than it is game-changing.
- The Daltons: All players must discard one blue card in front of them (weapons, horses, etc.) This can help even out a lopsided battle.
- Blessing: The opposite of curse, this makes Black Jack and Jourdonnoais quite happy, and players hiding behind barrels can cheer – as the suit of all cards is hearts!
- Hangover: All players lose their special abilities for the round. Great card – those players depending on their ability suddenly find themselves up a creek without a paddle.
- Thirst: Each player can only draw one card this round. This card is okay, but only slows the game down a little.
- The Reverend: Players cannot play any Beer! cards this round. (“Hey ‘preach’ – we were only drinking ROOT beer!”)
- Train Arrival: Each player draws three cards instead of two. I like this card – the game gets more action packed.
- The Doctor: The player with the fewest life points gets one life point back. Hmm, a game-balancing card – I rather like it. (although it’s a bit weak)
- Shootout: Each player can play two BANG! cards if they like. Again, this card speeds up gameplay, which is good.

So, we have a few okay cards, a bunch of good cards, and a couple excellent cards. They certainly add diversity to the game – and a bit of uncertainty also. The expansion is small, cheap, and adds enough to the game that I think it’s a good deal. There is another full-blown expansion coming out later this year, but for now – High Noon has made Bang! one of my favorite games again.

Tom Vasel

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