Like Westworld, but Without the Robots.


“Bang: the Dice Game”

designed by Michael Palm & Lukas Zach, published by dv Giochi & Asmodee

Be the last man (or woman) standing in this Wild West duel. At the beginning, each player is assigned a role: sheriff, outlaw, deputy, or renegade, with each role having a different goal to win the game: the sheriff and his deputies have to survive the withering gunfire of everyone else, while outlaws win when the sheriff is eliminated, or the renegade wins when she is the last one left alive amid all the carnage. All roles are hidden, except for the sheriff. Then players are given a unique character with a special power to help when the lead starts flying. Players take turns by rolling dice (up to three times via the old Yahtzee mechanic) and then resolving the actions on the dice: shooting, healing (with a swig of beer), blowing yourself up, or maybe even calling down Indians to deal damage to all. Run out of life points, and you’re sent to Boot Hill (that is, you are eliminated), but your team can still win! Whoever is left (according to your win conditions) wins the game!

Plays quick and easy with the hidden roles adding a layer of strategy that keeps the game interesting and makes people really mad when you start shooting the members of your team. The quick play keeps the game moving and getting eliminated less sad and boring.

One Line Verdict: Strap on your six-shooters and draw (or roll, in this particular case) for a fun, quick-moving hidden role game that doesn’t require all that talkin’ and negotiatin’.

Like “Bang,” but with Anime

“Shadow Hunters”

designed by Yasutaka Ikeda, published by Z-Man Games

Players take a hidden role of either Hunters, Shadows, or Neutral characters in this anime-themed card game. Each role has a specific win condition: Hunters must eliminate all Shadow characters and vice versa while Neutral characters will have unusual conditions. Roll dice, move around the board, and play cards to deduce the identities of the other players before you attack them and utterly kill them. Or get killed yourself by an anime girl armed with shotgun, rusty axe, and chainsaw.

Love the art, love the theme, and the deduction cards make the game more focused and less random than “Bang.”