Michael Carpenter
United States
West Virginia
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BOX ART



You and the others in your gang have just completed a huge heist, now it is time to split the loot. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to split the loot evenly.



QUICK FACTS:
Style of Game: Party
Play Time: 30 minutes
Theme: Gangsters splitting loot
Number of Players: 4-8
Main Mechanics: Bluffing, Player Elimination, Simultaneous Action Selection, Take That
Components: Good
Weight: Light


THEME AND MECHANISMS:
The theme and mechanisms blend as much as a party game about shooting each other over loot will allow! The foam guns definitely get the main credit for bringing out the theme of the game but the mechanisms compliment them nicely.



GAMEPLAY OVERVIEW:
Each player will take a character standee, a foam gun, and 8 bullet cards (5 click cards and 3 bang cards).



Bullet Cards


The oldest player should receive the Godfather's Desk to represent that they are the Godfather in the first round.

Godfather's Desk


All of the loot cards should be split into 8 piles of 8 cards each. This will represent the 8 rounds of the game.

Loot Cards


Once this is done one pile of 8 cards should be revealed and will be considered the loot that will be shared by the players that survive to the sharing phase of each round. Each round will consist of 7 steps. During these steps players will be determining who they would like to shoot at and then decide if they are courageous enough to risk being shot at or not. All players that manage to survive or do not back down from the gun fight will share the loot cards of that round. Being the Godfather allows you to change the target of any one player at the table. You can seize the advantage of being the Godfather during the loot sharing step of the game by taking the Godfather token that is always included in the loot that is shared each round.

New Godfather Token



Breakdown of a Round
1. Loot - Reveal the 8 loot cards and place them and the New Godfather Token in the middle of the table.

2. Choose Bullet Card - Choose if you are going to reveal a click card or bang card.

3. Hold-up - Each player will point their gun at another player on the count of three.

4. Godfather's Privilege - The Godfather may change the target of one of the other players.

5. Courage - Each player decides if they are going to back out of the shootout or stay in and risk being shot. A player that backs down cannot share loot in that round or fire their bullet card but they definitely will not be wounded.

6. Card Effects - Players reveal their bullet cards. A click will not injure the targeted opponent. A bang will shoot the target (only if that player is still standing and is in the shootout) and that player will receive one wound token. If a player receives 3 or more wound tokens that player is eliminated. A player will receive one wound token for each player that has used a Bang card against him or her.

Wound Token


7. Loot Sharing - Starting with the current Godfather (if he or she is still in the shootout), or the player to the left, each player will take a loot card or the New Godfather Token from the middle of the table until all cards have been taken. The loot may not be shared equally.

There are several types of loot cards, money, diamonds, art (pictures), first aid kits, and extra bullets. Diamond cards will give the player with the most diamond cards (not value) a bonus and the art cards will give money based on how many art cards a player has.

Diamond Bonus


Once 8 rounds have been completed players will see who receives the Diamond bonus, they will determine how much money they receive from their art cards, and all money from cash cards. The player with the most money wins the game. In case of a tie the player with the most wounds wins the game.


ASSESSMENT


My assessment of board games is broken into three core areas: Depth of Strategy, Quality of Design, and Replayability.

Depth of Strategy


The strategy isn't extremely deep. Players will rely more on the psychology of bluffing and negotiating to get the upper hand in this game rather than orchestrating a systematic strategy to gaining resources and whatnot. If you enjoy bluffing, negotiating, and take that games this one takes all three mechanisms and blends them into a nice mixture that engages the player throughout the entirety of each round and game. Players will have to decide how they would like to approach the loot sharing and how to spend their Bullet Cards so there are some decisions to make but for the most part most players will get wrapped up in the theme and the excitement of the game more than evaluating every decision to the dismay of the other players.

Depth of Strategy:
3.0 = A simple strategy will give you an advantage but it isn't necessary to compete.




Replayability


There is definitely some replayability in this game and I think it stems from the enjoyment and the environment that is created for players. If this game takes off for a group they will likely ask to play it again, either in the same evening or the next time they play games with you. The foam guns and the mechanisms make this game a memorable experience for non-gamers and the enjoyment you can have showing new players this game will make gamers enjoy playing it multiple times. Even a group of just serious gamers can have fun with this one because there is enough negotiation and backstabbing to allow for players to create a "meta" experience that some groups may really enjoy.


Replayability:
4.0 = You will certainly get your money's worth.




Quality of Design


Bluffing/Take That: The bluffing in this game is a core mechanism that makes the game memorable. The pointing of the guns at each other gets a lot of the credit for making the game fun, but I think the bluffing is what gives the game replayability when you play this game with the same group often. There is something about getting fooled by a supposed ally that makes you want to try to get them back in the next game! Trying to outwit your opponent and combining it with the Take That aspect of successfully bluffing an opponent and you have a really fun game.


Simultaneous Action Selection: The Simultaneous Action Selection is a standard to minimal implementation of the mechanism but does impact the game significantly because of the simplistic design. All the fat has been trimmed from this game so simplicity of the action selection mechanism fits the design well. At first glance it seems as though you are only deciding if you want to pick a Click Card or a Bang Card but as you incorporate that with the bluffing aspect the decisions become more meaningful.


Player Elimination: I know people think that the player elimination in this game is acceptable but I actually tend to disagree. I think because of the frustration you can feel from being bluffed or lied to, if you are eliminated early or even half way through the game the elimination can leave a bitter taste in a player's mouth. The player elimination takes the light-hearted feel of the game that would probably outweigh the frustration of being lied to and amplifies it to the point that it can cause hard feelings. Luckily, the game is pretty short and the eliminated players will get an opportunity to play again if the group so chooses, so it doesn't ruin the game.


Quality of Design:
4 = A good design that engages the player for several plays..


FINAL THOUGHTS:
I think Cash'n Guns is a very nice party game to have on your shelf, especially if you have a group of people you play with regularly. It is the kind of game that can really shine if you can impose a meta feel into it. Some people may not like meta-gaming but I don't mind feeling as though I have a decent idea of who I can trust from previous plays and having some go-to alliances and some known enemies. This game presents that opportunity for me and I enjoy it because of that.

I can bring this game out when I am playing with my friends that aren't gamers and they enjoy it because it is has a high fun factor. Any game that allows me to spend more time with my friends that don't play board games is a game I respect and will hold on to. You aren't buying the best game you own when you purchase this game but if you are trying to bridge the gap between you and your non-gamer friends this one can do that.

I would suggest that you make two things clear to players at the beginning of the game. One, you need to be willing to back down at times so that you are not eliminated early in the game or you may get some frustrated players. If they understand they can technically be eliminated on the first round if their fortunate is such, then you will have a better experience. Two, being the Godfather can be a pretty significant advantage. This may be pretty obvious to a gamer, but I have seen plenty of people get stuck in the rut of trying their best to get cash or diamonds only to have no opportunity to because they are constantly being targeted and are easily bluffed out of an opportunity to share the loot. Being the Godfather can make you a target at times but it can also make you a little more intimidating to target with a Bang Card because every player knows you may just have them end up shooting their "ally".

All in all, if you have been on the fence about this one I would suggest giving it a shot. <<< haha


Overall Rating -
This has definitely become one of my favorite party games.



If you enjoy my reviews please recommend and check out my geeklist For the Meeple, by the Meeple

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Highlander Highlander
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Hi,
Cheers for the review, I've been curious about this one.
It left me a little confused though...seemed to be a discrepancy between your final thoughts and then the final line/conclusion and the score you gave it...

In your final thoughts you said you enjoy it, its easy to bring out and involve new gamers with, can really shine in certain situations, is one you respect and will hold onto and urge readers to get it if they have been on the fence about it...

You give it a 7.5 stars out of 10....

...and then close by saying that someone would have to try really hard to convince you to play it at this point.

Maybe I've missed, or misread something but the apparent contradiction in that last line left me pretty confused.

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David B
United States
Chesapeake
Virginia
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Yeah, seemed contradictory to me too.
 
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Michael Carpenter
United States
West Virginia
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No no. That was a mistake. It was left in from the template I brought over from my last review. Total mistake. Please disregard that part and I'll remove it. Thanks for pointing it out to me!
 
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Highlander Highlander
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Aaaah okay. Your fixed version makes much more sense. Cheers.
 
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