Bang! Howdy is an free-to-play strategy game published by THree Rings Design and released on December 1, 2006 after public Beta testing. The game can be played through a client or in-browser. Three Rings Design's website tallies the total number of players at 500.000.
Gameplay most resembles a turn-based tactics game with a "Wild West" theme and minor real-time strategy elements added; the player (up to four players in a given match, including those controlled by the AI) chooses a set number of units, which are then laid down on a grid. Units have a set distance they can move during their turn, and a set range at which they can attack. However, for purposes of playing against other players, a real-time element was added: Units can only move every four "ticks", each tick roughly equivalent to five seconds, and all players' units move in tandem. The result is that gameplay moves a lot faster than it would if each player had to wait for the others to decide to move.
In addition to the set number of base units (varied by map and game mode), players also may bring into play one more powerful "Big Shot" unit with special abilities, as well as cards that can be played at any time to achieve various effects. If a unit is killed, it will respawn at the owning player's base some time later.
At the end of each game, players earn scrip (currency) based on how well they placed. In addition, players are able to use real money to purchase a separate in-game currency, "gold". Scrip can also be exchanged for gold in-game. These currencies can be used to buy cards, unlock additional units, or change the players' in-game avatar. Badges are earned for completing particular tasks, and may also unlock units, customization options, duds, or other things. In all modes, play continues until time is up, and the winner is determined by the points they have at the end of the round, mostly determined by the objective, but also by the player's kills or other bonuses. Except for the objective, all game modes follow the same base rules.
There are currently eight different game modes.
The first four are available in Frontier Town. In "Gold Rush", players send their units out to collect gold, and bring it back to their mine. "Claim Jumpin'" further allows players to steal gold from opposing players' mines. In "Cattle Rustling", players' units brand cattle, while keeping their opponents from stealing their cows. "Land Grab" has homesteads to claim around the board, which are vulnerable to attack just like any unit.
The other four modes are available in the newly released Indian Trading Post. In "Wendigo Attack", players must move to safe zones or get items to protect their units from a periodic attack by demons. In "Totem Building", players get points for stacking totem elements on a base. In "Forest Guardians", the players cooperate to fight off logging robots and protect seeds as they grow into trees. In "War Path" players fight to get their Big Shot on top and gain the most levels by killing opponent's units.