Saturday, March 25, 2017

Infinite loopholes in Bang!

In my previous article posted on this blog, I have given some basic tips on what to do in a typical game of Bang!. I was PMed and asked what the first turn game-ending scenario was.
I appreciate the interest. I thought of replying, but then an idea came through my mind... let's write
a whole new article about this! There is only one first turn game ending scenario that guarantees the win  (if you draw what you need, you win, no matter what your opponents do) as far as I am aware, but Bang! also creates some other possible scenarios allowing you to draw infinite amount of cards and likely win the game afterwards.
While they are quite unlikely to occur, it is nonetheless good to be aware of their existence.
Let's see what kind of crazy combos can be pulled off!

A few honorable mentions

This article is about infinite loopholes. That is it. INFINITE. But there are so many other cool interactions and characters who simply do not make the cut because they are bound to eventually run out of cards.

Lee Van Kliff - This character is capable of a single massive game-decisive turn provided the correct cards, but it is by no means guaranteed or infinite. Anyway, he is really one of the greatest damage dealers in the entire Bang!. Sadly that is not good enough for today's list.

Chuck Wengam - His ability is one of the coolest and most unique abilities in the game. Voluntarily losing a life point to draw two cards allows him to do some crazy shit during his turn, especially when at full life. He can draw up to 8 cards a turn if he chooses to drop himself to a measly one life. Any Beer card might be then used as a Stagecoach, simply losing the regained life point again. Gold Rush further increases this potential with cards that restore health or reward you for losing life points. One way or another, the distribution of life refilling cards is too low for him to be even theoretically able of truly infinite combo. 

John Pain - He gets any card a player "draws" as long as he doesn't hold more than 6 cards in his hand. It is the limit of 6 cards maximum that prevents him from getting an infinite amount of cards using a teammate's Barrel in conjunction with Volcanic, Showdown and Blessing cards or the third true combo on this list.

Jose Delgado - Where those infinite combos offer fierceness, this character offers consistency. He literally draws 3 cards a turn in most cases. Sometimes it is only the previously nonexistent limitation to a 2 times per turn use of his ability that stops him from chaining it for incredible amount of cards drawn. Even as he is, he is a force to be reckoned with.

1.) Suzy Lafayette OTK

This combo is very well known, and is the only "true" possible first turn win I am aware of. Other than just getting lucky cards and somehow winning with say Willy the Kid and a bunch of Bang! cards. You need to have the Wild West Show expansion in play, but other than that, it can be done with the basic game only. The idea behind this is that you are the Sheriff and you character is Suzy Lafayette (note that Greygory Deck could do as well). In your opening hand and your two cards in Phase 1 of your turn, you need to get a Volcanic and at least one card that triggers the Wild West Show event deck. You hope to turn over the Showdown card, which says that any card may be played as Bang! and all Bang! cards may be played as Missed!. You put out the Volcanic and then use all your cards in your hand as Bang!. Then Suzy's ability triggers and you draw a card. That card counts as Bang! and you can play any number of them thanks to your Volcanic, essentially leading to you converting the whole deck into Bang! cards. Be careful not to play any Wells Fargo or Stagecoach you draw in the process using their actual effects. You must play them as a Bang! card in order to prevent the Wild West Show deck from changing effect again, as this would end your rampage! Now the bad thing is that unless you are playing a 4-player game, there is also a Deputy in play, so this combo doesn't really allow you to 100% win the game anymore, because killing the Deputy would cause you to discard the Volcanic as a penalty. This can be prevented if you are Greygory Deck and you manage to draw both Suzy Lafayette and Willy the Kid as your abilities for the round. Then you again need to get lucky and draw the Wells Fargo/Stagecoach in order to get the Showdown card on, but from here, you can just shoot everyone without worries, as Willy the Kid substitutes for the Volcanic and doesn't get discarded if you kill your own teammate, the Deputy. Good luck pulling this off, the chance to do so being about 0.165% for the default combo, depending at what sets of cards are you playing with and provided you have already drawn Suzy Lafayette to be your character.
Note that the Showdown card has been errated by the author of Bang!, Emiliano Sciarra, who stated that the correct text was meant to be "All cards may be played as Bang! cards. All Bang! cards must be played as Missed!". The combo is still pretty nice, but doesn't allow infinite Bang's anymore. But given the likelihood of this happening, I like to play the old wording just for fun and excitement that comes from even a hypothetical chance of this happening. :)

2.) High Noon/A Fistful of Cards loophole

This one is a bit of a mystery. Many people have tried to answer the question how to proceed when this actually happens. You need to have both the High Noon and Fistful of Card expansions in play. Now, at the beginning of the round, Sheriff simultaneously turns over the top card of each deck. If there is Blessing/Curse card and the Peyote card at the same time, it technically lets the Sheriff draw the whole deck. The former mentioned cards set the suit of all cards in the deck to Hearts, respectively Spades, for the duration of the round for all effects and purposes. Now what Peyote does is that it makes you guess the color of the top card in the deck instead of drawing cards in the Phase 1 of your turn as usual. If you guess right, you take the card in your hand and guess again, otherwise you go directly into the Phase 2 of your turn. But if the suit of any card is set to be Hearts/Spades, you can keep guessing until you eventually draw the whole deck! There might be a FAQ contradicting this and people usually have a house rule to limit this. My house rule in fact says that you must guess the ACTUAL colors on the cards, because this is not that unlikely of a combo and having a game end like this every now and then is quite unsatisfying IMHO. 

3.) Teren Kill "suicide"

Not only is Teren Kill inspired by a famous Italian actor we all love, but he also is a pretty cool and powerful character. What you maybe didn't know is that there is a combination of cards that allows him to draw the whole deck. You thought the Gag was included only for fun. But in fact, it is a rather unknown loophole enabler. Let me explain how it works. Teren Kill "draws!" each time he would be eliminated. On Spades, he dies. Otherwise he survives and draws a card from the deck. When Gag is in play, anyone who speaks loses 1 life point. So Teren Kill is now able to lose a life point infinite amount of times, therefore able to trigger his ability infinitely, provided he doesn't die. "But he might die!" you say? Add High Noon expansion and the Blessing card shown in the previous case. Now imagine what happens. Teren may trigger his ability infinitely and all cards are Hearts. "Draws" the card each time he would die and it is always a Heart so he always lives and gets to draw a card. Other players silently watch him as he draws the whole deck by talking or scream in agony and die. Either way, you better be talkative when doing this, as a meticulous opponent might demand you really say something each time you want to lose your last life point.

4.) Simeon Picos and Toys

The Gold Rush expansion brought some funny new mechanics and 8 new characters, Simeon Picos amongst them. This inconspicuous character takes a gold nugget each time he loses a life and lets you draw the entire deck using a complex combo of 4 specific cards. Those are the previously mentioned Gag, and three new equipment cards. Let's have a closer look at them. First one is the Lucky Charm, an equipment that costs 3 nuggets and does exactly the same thing as Simeon's ability - gets you a nugget for each life point you lose. The second card is Boots, which costs 3 nuggets and lets you draw a card each time you lose a life. With Gag active, you once again can lose a life point infinite amount of times. Once you have all those cards, you pretty much have the ability "Whenever you lose a life point, draw a card and take 2 gold nuggets."
The third and final equipment card is the Rucksack. It costs 3 nuggets and says "discard 2 nuggets to get 1 life point". So you once you have acquired all those cards (a total of 9 nuggets!), wait for the Gag to get into play, then say a word, lose a life point, get two nuggets and a card, then regain a life point for those two nuggets. This allows you to draw the entire deck. I have never seen this combo in an actual game and I doubt it will ever happen, but one never knows! 

5.) Greygory Deck

Greygory Deck has already been mentioned in this article. He randomly draws 2 characters from the basic game that are not in play and uses them both. This obviously allows him to pull off any combo Suzy Lafayette is capable of, provided he draws her as one of his characters. But there is more to him. Using Gold Rush expansion, he is capable of the most elaborate infinite combo I know of in Bang!. To achieve it, you need to have some previously mentioned equipment cards. Those are the Boots (costs 3 nuggets, whenever you lose a life point, draw a card) and the Lucky Charm (again costs 3, whenever you lose a life point, take a nugget). You also need to draw exactly Sid Ketchum and Bart Cassidy as your character abilities at the same time. On top of that, the Gag form Wild West Show expansion must be in play. Once all those conditions are achieved (and I doubt it will ever happen, but it is not impossible), you simply say a word, lose a life point, get a nugget and two cards, then discard two cards to regain a life point. Repeat until you have a lot of nuggets. Now you need 59 nuggets to be able to go through the whole equipment deck exactly once. As any card bought is immediately replaced by a new one, you now have infinite card draw (thanks to the Union Express card which lets you draw 4 cards), and you can use any brown-bordered card in the GR deck any number of times. In other words, you most likely win. 
The bottom line is that while this is cool, if you intend to draw the entire deck, this can be quite demanding. As I said, you need 59 nuggets to cycle through the Gold Rush deck once. This lets you draw 6 cards. The playing deck has 80, 120 or 135 cards by default. You need to cycle through the Gold Rush deck 13, 20 or respectively 23 times to draw the whole deck. That requires from 767 to 1357 nuggets. Maybe it will be better if everyone just mutually proclaims you the winner.


Those are some crazy things up there. No doubt about that. Period. What I want to mention though, is whether I think this is good for a game. I have played Magic for quite some time. In Magic, there is currently about 20 000 cards in the game, some of them reprints of older cards or essentially reprints. It comes as no surprise that there are many infinite combos in the game, actually allowing whole decks to be build around those. It probably makes people think it is pay to win or noninteractive and there have been so-called banlists filled with cards enabling some combinations considered unfair or overpowered. I personally do not appreciate existing cards getting banned from the player's perspective, but given the sheer number of cards they have to take into account when designing a new card, I guess it is acceptable every now and then. Now you clearly do not want to buy a non-collectible card game and straight out of the box remove some cards, because they enable some kind of a combo. And as you can see, those combos exist in Bang!. Those are a problem in many games, most notably Magic or other TCGs. Is it a problem in Bang!? I would say no. In fact, the existence of those combinations is in my opinion beneficial to the game in this particular case, as it adds something very difficult to achieve, yet not impossible. You cannot build your deck around the combo, you cannot really do too much to increase the odds of pulling it off. For that reason I am glad to have them included in the game. I am curious what do you have to say about this.

Hope you like those. Let me know what crazy combos do you know about and what infinite loopholes occurred to you while playing!

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