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Time to 20 Plays: 1 Year, 6 Months
How to Play: Cash n Guns (specifically, the second edition) is a party-style game in which 4-8 players attempt to divide loot after robbing a bank together. In each round, the godfather (whoever is in charge; this changes from round to round) starts by laying out eight pieces of loot. Then, all players select a bullet card (either a “bang” or a “click”) and hold up their foam guns. On three, players point at someone else. Everyone has the chance to either stay in and face any bullets that might come their way or cower in fear. Anyone who is shot (a “bang” card is used against them) or ducks out does not get to take part in the loot division for that round. (Also, if a player is wounded three times, s/he is out of the game.) Players who stayed in and were not shot get to divide all eight pieces of loot (they can also take the godfather token as a piece of loot, which allows them to be the godfather in the next round). At the end of the game, whoever has the most value in artwork, cash, and diamonds is the winner!
I've played it so much because:
1. It’s almost universally popular. I don’t always play with the big foam guns (especially at school), but people love the zany fun from this game. I’ve taught Cash n Guns to at least 50 people, probably more.
2. The artwork keeps the theme from being too dark. I will admit that people often get mad at one another while playing this game (more on that later), but I think the silly foam guns and cartoon-style artwork discourages players from taking the game too seriously.
3. It’s a party game that doesn’t rely on social deduction. There are some social elements in the game, especially as you’re trying to determine whether or not someone will shoot you; however, the game mostly relies on other mechanics. I find Cash n Guns to be a refreshing experience with large groups.
4. The expansions add some neat elements. I haven’t done much with the expansions yet. I teach almost every game with no expansions and then add an expansion if the same group plays. It’s pretty rare that I have enough time with one group to play any 30+ minute game more than once. But I love the idea of adding teams to the game (Team Spirit) and some of the risk/reward mechanics in the More Cash expansion.
I'd play it more if:
1. People didn't get mad playing this game. I will admit that I’ve consciously used my experiences with Cash n Guns as a way to work on my temper. Because you’re pointing a gun (fake or not) at someone, people tend to get a bit upset if they feel singled out by one or more players. I’ve seen it happen with adults as well as my high school students. Please take my advice on this: preface this game with a quick discussion of how it can turn personal if you take it too seriously. I’ve started making my high school kids promise they won’t get upset and will take it lightly. This has helped tremendously. Additionally, removing the guns from the game (use your finger instead) is a no-brainer with some groups like students. For clarity’s sake, I’ll summarize by saying that Cash n Guns can work with any group if you take the proper precautions (if any) for that particular set of players.
Overall: Any time a large-group game does something unique that doesn’t really involve social deduction, it grabs my attention. It’s probably due to this fact that Repos Production's Cash n Guns remains one of my all-time favorite party games after several years of regular play. Since I started using precautions with particular groups (removing the foam guns when playing with students, as well as prefacing each game with a discussion of the need to keep the game light), every single game has gone over well, whether with students or with adults. Anyone who gets the chance to play with larger groups (especially 5-8) should check this one out.
Watch out for my review of another party game from Repos, When I Dream, later this week.