BANG! Cardboard Betrayal At High Noon
For reasons I pretend not to understand, I have the reputation of being something of a backstabber. This accusation is as hurtful as it is accurate.
One night, not so very long ago, our dinner party had seen the wine flowing a bit too freely. As is often my wont, I took advantage of my guests’ inebriated state to have my cardboard way with them. This was to be their first introduction to “BANG!”, the Western card game of hidden roles and high noon. You don’t know who is your enemy, and who is your ally. I dealt the role cards and set up the game. Lady Smingleigh, beside me, was the Sheriff. The Sheriff is the Law, and the Law can’t hide; everyone knows who the Sheriff is. My card was a Deputy. The Deputies defend the Sheriff, even at the cost of our own lives, but we can’t reliably identify the other Deputies in town. A gang of Outlaws had come to town to take the Sheriff down. Somewhere out there was the Renegade, a law unto himself.
The first few turns passed like the noonday sun overhead, everyone tense, each waiting for the draw. Preparing weapons, looking uneasily at each other, judging ranges and angles and intent. Then someone, doubtless a scurrilous Outlaw or at least a knavely Deputy, broke the silence with a shot. The blood hadn’t even hit the dust before the gunfire began in earnest.
My insistence that I was a white hat won me no friends, for that is exactly what every other person on the table was claiming. One by one the other players fell out of the game clutching too many bullet wounds to survive. Outlaws and Deputies fell. It was just me, the Sheriff, and two other players, one of whom had to be the Renegade. We play the Renegade as something of an interesting role. He is the betrayer of the betrayers, if you will. He can settle for winning alongside the Outlaws, or he can go rogue and take down everybody and win all on his own. Everyone was down to their last health point. I took aim and cracked off a shot at one of the two others on the table. My aim was true. She fell to the ground. Rolling over, she revealed an Outlaw card.
“I knew it!” I cried. “That means you, Mollie, are the Renegade!”
A card slapped down on the table.
“That’s exactly what the Renegade would say,” growled Lady Smingleigh. The card was a BANG!.
The Sheriff shot me.
I like to imagine that in the world of the game, my character looked down in confusion at the red stain spreading through his dusty shirt and collapsed to his knees, living barely long enough to watch the Outlaw casually raise her shooting iron and spread the Sheriff’s brains across the dirt from behind. Betrayed, but not by a person. I was betrayed by my own reputation… for betrayal.