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I am interested in the possible 9-player setups for Bang! that do not upset the balance of the game too much. I do not want any of the players to feel hopeless right at the start of the game when they get their role card.

I found one promising setup on boardgamegeek:

1 Sheriff, 3 Deputies, 4 Outlaws, 1 Renegade (that's how the original game worked)

Are there any more setups that proved to be working or Bang! gets pretty unbalanced at 9 players?

I could imagine something with 2 Renegades, 4 Outlaws, 1 Sheriff, 2 Deputies but I am not sure about it.

  • Arguably, the Renegade will feel hopeless even at officially supported player counts. – The Chaz 2.0 Sep 26 '17 at 13:30
  • @TheChaz2.0 Well yes, then I do not want that hopelessness to increase significantly compared to the original one. Would be then 2 Renegades better and that would reduce the Deputies by 1? – Bence Kaulics Sep 26 '17 at 13:48
  • @JoeW I am willing to accept it as an aswer. What you have highlighted seems a very good point against "many players" games. – Bence Kaulics Sep 27 '17 at 8:27
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The problem with larger games in Bang! is that they tend to be unbalanced by the way the game is played. In a 7 or 8 player (in 6 also really) it is very easy for players to be killed before they get a turn. Depending on what character you get and the cards everyone has it is possible that there is nothing that can be done to prevent yourself from being eliminated before your turn. And this is something that would only be magnified in a 9 player game.

From the very fact that it is very possible for people to be eliminated from the game before they had a chance to play I would call it unbalanced.

That is not even mentioning the fact that in the standard rules for 8 players that there are two renegades who are working against each other. As a quick example if an 8 player game comes down to the sheriff, and both renegades one of which accidentally kills the sheriff the game ends with the outlaws winning even though they had all been eliminated.

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Back in college, my buddies and I would play some massive tables, with like 8+ people. It took us a while, but we found a few things that worked.

What I'd recommend is:

  1. 1 Sheriff, 1 Deputy, 3 Renegades, 4 Outlaws.

  2. New mechanic we made up: "Fog of War". Fog of War is a distance bonus applied to all characters that decreases by 1 at the start of the next round. Its value at the start of the game is simply (# of Players)-5, with a maximum of 3.

(1) The increased Renegade count is to counteract the fact that Renegades get harder and harder to play as the player count increases. However, up until the last moments of the game, the Renegades all share a similar goal. And, unlike the Deputies, Renegades have the benefit of wanting to kill other targets who might not be you at the end (like the Deputy). As a result, having more Renegades is easier on the Renegade "goal" than having more Deputies.

(2) With 9 players, you'll have 3 rounds of a lull where few shots will be fired and players will be able to get a sense of threats and neighbors. This mostly puts benefit in the Sheriff's favor, to counteract the fact that 44% of the table want him dead from the start, and the rest don't know who to shoot. This also helps mitigate the loss in power against The Law from the reduced number of Deputies from houserule #1.

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