"Watch out for Sneaky Pete--he's full of surprises!"
Two players, dice rolling, bluffing, capturing pieces.
I'm a sucker for these games with neat plastic boards, so I picked this up at the thrift store and have had the opportunity to play it several times. I don't know if I'd say ol' Pete is full of surprises, but this is a game worth at least the 55 cents I paid for it.
Complexity: Low. The rules are just complex enough you have to actually read them.
Time: Not long. I'd say you could play your first game in fifteen minutes--that's rule reading included. Subsequent games can take about 5-10 minutes.
What you get in the box:
This game looks exactly like something my grandparents would own in the 80s and keep in the room where the pool table was. Plastic, felt, and a prominent picture of what looks to be an old prospector.
The game board is a black hexagon, felt lined in the middle with holes for pegs along the border. Each player has a set of five pegs, yellow or green, and there are two special six-sided dice: one with 1 x2, 2 x2, and 3 x2, and the other with a Sneaky Pete on one face and nothing else. Did I mention I'm also a sucker for unique die?
The gameboard holds a clever Bluffing Shield (tm). It not only hides your dice for fibbing, it also has a fun reversal image--a picture of the hobo, Sneaky Pete, which is the same when viewed upside down. The same image is on the Sneaky Pete die. Check out this example from the gallery:
What you do:
The rules are pretty simple, and explained on a one-sided piece of paper. The goal is to capture all of your opponent's pegs.
Players sit opposite each other and place their pegs on their side of the hexagon. You take turns rolling the two dice into the felt tray, hidden from your opponent by the Bluffing Shield. Regardless of what the dice say, you can call out a number (1, 2, or 3) or call out "Sneaky Pete!" A number represents the number of spaces a peg can move (they can jump), and a Sneaky Pete allows a player to move a peg anywhere on the board.
The same number can't be called out twice in a row--"This rule forces players to bluff."
Your opponent then has to make a choice. "Is my crafty opponent fibbing? If so, do I dare call her bluff?" When the opponent has stated whether or not he believes the call, the shield is flipped to reveal the dice.
Let's call the person who rolled the Active Player, and look at what can now happen:
1) If the opponent believes the call, the Active Player moves the peg of his choice to match his call, regardless of what the dice actually said.
2) The opponent calls the bluff, and is correct; the Active Player is a dirty liar! The Active Player doesn't get to move any dice this turn.
3) The opponent calls the bluff, and is wrong--the active player was telling the truth. He should be more trusting! The opponent loses a turn, and the Active Player moves his peg and then immidiately takes another turn.
The game ends when a player wins by capturing all of the other player's pegs. This is done by moving your peg to a space occupied by your opponent's peg.
This game is just the right amount of fun for it's time commitment. There's no down time, since you are either rolling or evaluating the role. You can easily play it two or three times without getting bored, and it's great to play with children or a spouse who isn't in the mood for Puerto Rico.
There are actually some interesting decisions for what looks to be such a simple game. You have to choose when to lie, when to let your opponent lie even though you know they're full of it, what pegs to capture, when to go all out and risk lying about a Sneaky Pete... it's no Mensa brain burner, but it keeps you engaged. And that's more than you can say for television. You'll find yourself getting very excited when you really land a Sneaky Pete roll, and angrily pointing your finger at your opponent for all kinds of reasons. "You lied to me! How dare you lie to me!"
This is actually a pretty rare game, with less than fifteen copies represented in the BGG community. But if you happen to come across a copy of this at the thrift store or at a garage sale, I would really consider picking it up. It looks fun when it's set up, and it actually is fun to play.
So, all in all, if you like games where you roll dice into something (c'mon, you know you do), or you like trying to bluff or call bluffs (I know I do), then keep an eye out for this little gem.