Best Bang! Card Game Characters

Bang! is one of the most popular card games in my country and it has sold a million copies worldwide. The characters are cards that are dealt to you in the beginning of the game and enhance you with special abilities through the entire playing. Most people play the game with a house rule: every player is dealt two characters and can choose between them. This movement makes us enumerate the 16 characters in order of strongness.

Bang! has several official and fan-made expansions (the most popular being Dodge City) which include additional characters. Those are not included in this list, it only consists of the 16 characters in the standard deck. I am going to create another list "Best Bang! The Bullet Characters" that will include the characters in the standard game, the characters from Dodge City and the three additional characters in the deluxe edition Bang! the Bullet.
The Top Ten
1 Willy the Kid

Willy is the most powerful ability in the game, everyone always chooses him when being dealt. His ability is simple: he may play any number of Bang! cards during a turn, other players can do it only once. This is crucial because the BANG! cards are the main tool for reducing other players' lifepoints - therefore achieving your goal in the game. While other players can be entitled to use multiple BANG! cards when having a Volcanic in play, they can only shoot at one distance.

Also note how I experienced playing with two additional Indians! cards in the deck. That severely lowers his value.

2 Calamity Janet

Self-explanatory. Hard to beat in a duel. The #1 most dangerous with a volcanic unless Suzy gets lucky. Really strong without having to be lucky. Some abilities are stronger with "the right" cards. She is almost always strong given the odds.

She may use BANG! cards as Missed! and vice versa. Her ability is extremely useful when playing a duel, or when a card affecting all players like Indians! or Gatling is played. She can use her ability almost every turn (and even out of her turn): out of the 80 cards in the standard deck, 24 are BANG! and 12 are Missed!

3 Kit Carlson

He draws the three cards from the top of the deck and can choose two between them to keep, and places the other card back on the top. Choosing the cards is useful, because:
1. he can eliminate drawing completely unnecessary cards like duplicate blue cards and weaker guns
2. in many turns, it's like having Calamity Janet's ability for one card because most of the cards are BANG! and Missed!
Placing a card back is also useful:
1. I have once made the Dynamite explode on the next player by putting a Stagecoach back on the top
2. He knows what the first card on the top of the deck is, so he might know one of the cards the next player draws, or one of the cards that can be drawn from a General Store etc.

4 Jesse Jones

He may draw one of the cards he draws from the hand of another player. Reasons why he is one of the most powerful character:

1. without being Rose Doolan or having a Scope, you can only draw cards from your neighbors with Panic! cards. Jesse Jones is the only player who can ever draw a card from whoever he wants (this is not true in Dodge City).
2. Players might know what cards the others have in hand, e.g. after playing a General Store
3. He can severely weaken some other characters whose ability relies on drawing cards or playing a specific card (I.e. Bart Cassidy, Black Jack, Vulture Sam, El Gringo etc.). However, he gives advantage to Suzy Lafayette.
4. He can easily make players' hand empty and therefore use different offensive cards with guaranteed effect.

5 Slab the Killer

Slab the Killer wins the award for most overrated BANG! character. He really is one of the strongest, but not the best how some people state. His ability is to require two Missed! cards (barrel counts as one) to avoid his shots by BANG! cards. This is extremely useful because a lot of players would rather lose a life point than lose two Missed! cards, because they could use it more effectively when attacked by other players.

The reason I think he's overrated (I hate the word overrated but I feel free to use it when no one gets offended) is that he can use his ability surprisingly few times. There are lots of turns when a player cannot play a single BANG! card, and it is also quite common that the other players couldn't even play one Missed!

6 Suzy Lafayette

When I first played BANG!, I thought she was the 2nd weakest character after Pedro Ramirez. Now I realise she is the one who actually requires strategy to play with. Lots of cards like Indians! and Duel are less effective against her, and Suzy with Volcanic is more powerful than Calamity Janet with Volcanic or Slab the Killer with Volcanic. Only the Missed! cards are very annoying, sometimes 4 are getting stored up in my hand when I am with this character.

More dangerous without any expansions. The odds of her drawing card after card she can keep playing are much better then. Very dangerous with a volcanic IF she gets the right cards. I usually get stuck with something I can't play pretty quickly and get neutralized.

7 Bart Cassidy

He draws a card from the deck each time he loses a life point. It is similar to El Gringo's ability but he does not weaken his opponent, has 4 life points and draws even when his opponent has no cards and when Dynamite explodes on him. Neither of them can do this when they lose their last life point.

Bart Cassidy is a better character than how people think: he is cursed with the possible worst drawing on a BANG! character card ever.

Getting more cards is always helpful. Of course, if those cards aren't good the neither is he but odds are they usually help some.

8 El Gringo

He is a 3-life character. He draws a card from every player that causes him lose a life point (if that player has cards)
For a Sheriff with 4 life points he is very strong. Imagine there's an outlaw next to him who has 4 BANG! cards and a Volcanic. In most cases, he can miss one of the shots, draw another, than take a shot, draw the last one.

Being 3 lives, he is risky. The best part is nobody wants to attack him early so he can build some defense. The worst part is when someone is able to play their last card to attack, he ability is neutralized.

9 Black Jack

Draws 3 cards if the second (which is showed) is hearts or diamonds. I can't add any comments, since his ability relies on luck only and no strategy.

10 Vulture Sam

When a player is eliminated, he draws all his cards, including the ones in hand and the ones in play.

Vulture Sam is a controversial character for me. He is obviously better than the two other characters in Dodge City whose ability activates when a player is eliminated (Greg Digger regains two life points and Herb Hunter draws two cards when someone dies). He is very weak in 4-player games, especially as an outlaw. However, in 7-player games he makes both a good sheriff and renegade. I have seen cases when he was good as an outlaw, because the other two outlaws were killed in the same round and he was equipped will all tools to kill the sheriff.

The Contenders
11 Sean Malory
12 Teren Kill
13 Big Spencer
14 Colorado Bill
BAdd New Item