Card and board games on the iPad are an interesting genre. On the one hand, it’s remarkable that a device like the iPad can substitute for your board, pieces, and even friends. On the other hand, it’s hard to justify playing a $20 board game on a $500 tablet computer. Does BANG! HD feel at home?
BANG! is a popular card game set in the Wild West, where sheriffs and outlaws engage in duels to the death. One player is the sheriff, whose goal is to wipe out the bad guys. Other players are the outlaws, who have to kill the sheriff. There’s also a deputy, who helps the sheriff, and a renegade, who has to kill the outlaws first, and then the sheriff.
We don’t need no stinkin’ badges.
Since only the identity of the sheriff is revealed to all players, there’s an element of stealth and surprise to the game. As an outlaw, you have to conceal your identity from the sheriff and deputy, and figure out who’s on your side.
Each player takes turns drawing and playing cards, the most common of which are Bang and Missed cards. Bang cards fire a shot at a nearby player, while Missed cards will deflect a shot. When a character runs out of health, they’re taken out of the game and replaced with a gravestone. Other cards can restore health, increase the range of your shots, and even let you hide behind barrels during a firefight.
BANG’s tutorial does a good job of setting all of this up, and explaining the rules to new players. The character art is quite nice, with send-ups of cowboy archetypes like Calamity Janet and Willy the Kid. Each character also has their own special abilities, and you can choose who you want to play as, or select a character randomly.
Cue the Good, Bad, and the Ugly theme.
BANG! HD is lacking one important component, though: online multiplayer. The app currently has only pass-and-play multiplayer and a single-player mode against the computer. Online multiplayer should be coming in a later update, but you might want to hold off until it’s live.
BANG! HD is a fun card game brought to life on the iPad, with some great customization options, like the number of opponents and difficulty settings. However, it needs online multiplayer to take advantage of the trickier aspects of gameplay, especially fooling other players into helping you win. Download it now if you want to learn a great new card game, or wait until online multiplayer is a go.