I was not sure what to expect when I first cracked the seal and the funky aroma of foam guns wafted out of the box. Then the silly artwork made me frown and I begin to doubt if this was really going to be the game for me. You see, this game came into my life because someone told me this game made you feel like a gangsta (yes with an “a”) and that was the “cool” feeling I was looking to chase down.
Brief Game Synopsis
Ca$h 'n Guns is a game in which players get to wield comically oversized foam guns and while balancing pretending to “whack” their friends, steal as much loot as possible over several turns, and not get dead. A typical turn is played out with each player secretly choosing to use a Bang card, with which they will shoot someone, or a Click card that is essentially a bluff. There are a finite number of clicks and bangs available to each person so some strategy is employed when deciding which card to use.
Once each person secretly decided if they will shoot or not by laying the card face down in front of them, the Godfather counts down to zero and everyone aims their gun at someone at the same time. The Godfather gets to make one person re-aim.
Then each person decides if they will take cover by knocking their pawn over (thus negating a wound potentially, but also skipping out on the looting phase). But real mine don’t cower so once everyone braces themselves the cards are flipped and wounds are distributed where applicable.
Survivors get take turns taking available loot.
Rinse and repeat, and of course special abilities add variety and rule changes here and there.
Toys With Rules
This is not a rules heavy game but Repos did a nice job laying out the rules in a very clear, well formatted rulebook complete with pictures and all kinds of shiny purddiness. The abilities are all explained in detail to avoid confusion.
Boards ‘N Bits
Obviously, one of the biggest draws to this game is holding the giant foam guns…which are quite a delight. I will say, though, that mine had a strong smell at first that after a few years, is still slightly evident. The giant prop is not really needed as you could always use your fingers to make a gun or something, but it really adds to the funky theme and is visually appealing (people’s eyebrows always raise in interest once I pull them out)
I am not a fan of small cards, but the Bang and Click cards do what they need to do. I am a fan of sleeving games but have not felt the need to do that with these and they have held up fine after many a play.
The Character Ability cards are all nice and give you the needed info and the Turn Order Marker and Character pawns are all of good design that help immerse players; the artwork is silly and fun and keeps the game from being taken too seriously. The Reservoir Dog and Pulp Fiction quotes the game inspires helps.
Let me just start with saying, I. LOVE. THIS. GAME….with a caveat. The first few times I played it was good but it wasn’t great for me. The expansion, which will be covered later, is what made it awesome. New guns, new abilities, new levels of funocity.
That being said, I think this game is really solid fun if you have the group who is wanting to have fun. And it scales beautifully. It is equally fun with 4 as with 8 (or 10 – more on that in a sec). With lower counts it is super tense as you get more wounds but with more people it becomes chaotic and births some seriously goofy moments.
I brought to a game night and we had 2 extra people show up. Only about 3 of the people were gamers but when the non-gamers saw I had a game with guns they wanted in. As I said, I have the expansion which offers more guns so I used a deck of cards to create Click and Bang cards for the new players, and we had it. The looting was a little more intense as we had more people vying for the cash but I was the only one who had played it before so I was the only one who noticed. Next time, I will just add Some extra cash and dimand pieces or something.
I will also say, that I don’t typically think that most people consider this a gateway game, but it is for me. Adults from all walks of life seem to get in it once they know it is meant to be silly and the rules are a breeze to teach.
My six year old boy, Judah cannot give his thoughts because though I believe he is old enough to grasp the game, I suspect his mother would kill me if I let our son play (although, I have totally played an impromptu version with his friends at a party using water guns, playing cards for the click and bang, band aids for health, Jokers for ammo packs, and poker chits for the money (no special powers or special Loot was used) and they all had fun.
So here is what a friend of mine had to say:
This is a game that only gets better with each play. There is a lot more strategy involved then you first think but what you really learn is to watch the people, to study their micro expressions and mannerisms. The Bang/Click cards create more intense and dramatic moments then even cut throat games of poker…or at least cut throat games of penny poker. One of the truest testaments of this game is the sheer variety of people that this game speaks to. I have now seen people I knew, KNEW would not play any sort of game involving guns threaten to shoot their friends heads off. It is such a fun experience, man.
+ Great ice breaker
+ Extremely scalable
+ Short but satisfying play time
- Really does need the expansion
- Guns have a bad smell (my wife is extremely sensitive to that)
- Theme is definitely a turn-off for some types of people
Purchase, Play, or Pass
In my opinion, no true game collection would be complete without Ca$h 'n Guns (2nd Edition), so obviously it is a definite Purchase. It is my go-to group game and sees a lot of love when playing with non-gamers, followed only by Deception: Murder in Hong Kong. As long as no one takes themselves or the theme too seriously, this game is a guaranteed hit.