Sunday, July 3, 2011


First, apologies for the delay; the last two weeks of June are killer for teachers.  Second, I've passed 5000 pageviews! Yay! 

And now, on with the B's!

BANG! is the only game I know which has cards in Italian with English subtitles. 

Of course, this meshes perfectly with its theme, which is the Spaghetti Western genre pioneered by Sergio Leone starting in 1964 with A Fistful of Dollars, which made a movie star out of Clint Eastwood (who up til that point had been known mainly as the studly wrangler Rowdy Yates on the TV western Rawhide (1959 - 1965). The movies were made in Spain on the cheap and made a splash with their long Zen-like silences punctuated by explicit and unabashed violence. Naturally, they spawned many imitators and spoofs. 

The movies also made a star of the soundtrack composer, Ennio Morricone. His music, by necessity spare (for budgetary reasons) was punctuated by whistling, whip-cracks, and brass shots which became synonymous with the genre; even the app for BANG! (see below) uses mock-Morricone for its background music. Morricone went on to create many more landmark soundtracks such as Cinema Paradiso; one I find almost achingly moving is his one for The Mission. 

BANG! (the game) itself has spawned many sequels, extending the range of possible players and adding some bells and whistles, none of which I have tried (and thus cannot comment on). The base game is enough for me; it is mindless, almost random fun. Like Aquarius, it is not for players who like to plan or need to win. Unlike Aquarius, it is available for purchase in a unique format (BANG! The Bullet) which includes all the expansions and would certainly raise eyebrows in an airport security line. 

BANG! is also distinguished by being ported into an app--for those times when you have an itchy trigger finger but no available opponents. It's quite serviceable, although nothing can quite replace playing BANG! around a real (as opposed to virtual) table. 

The Pope shoots! He scores!

The app-maker also put out a free version with an Italian Risorgimento theme--a surreal shootout where one of the players gets to be il Papa (the Pope). Who knows what possessed them to do so (no pun intended!); don't play it if you have strong feelings viz a viz the Catholic Church. 

Tea Partiers rejoice! Georgie's got a gun!
And, just in time for the 4th, the developers have released a free version with an American Independence Day theme--clever.

BANG! tends to be looked-down-upon by my circle of gaming friends; it's ok as occasional filler or end-of-the-evening comedown after a gruel game of Caylus or some such. I had to satisfy my bloggish obligation by playing the app and watching a couple of YouTube clips. 


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