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Subject: Combo King... The lowdown rss

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Oliver Harrison
Canada
Kamloops
British Columbia
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Bizarrely, this is my first review on the 'Geek. I'm approaching 75 games in my collection and for whatever reason, Combo King has inspired me to write a review.

My reviews all (will) cover several things: an overview of the game, the components and their quality, the ruleset and its clarity, the fun factor, value for the buck, and the lowdown.

Overview

Combo King is a dice-rolling game where all players try to get rid of the cards in their hand (4-5 per player, depending on # of players) by successfully completing the required roll as described on each card. Players get chips when successfully completing a combo. Players may use the chips to roll again during a turn, take extra turns, force other players to draw cards, or discard a card. It is simple, fun, and fast-paced.

Components

In the box, you'll find a deck of 60 cards, 8 dice, a rulebook(page), and 36 poker chips. I was quite impressed with the quality of all the components here. The box is small, but frankly larger than it could be. In my opinion, this is okay as long as it's not ridiculously large. In this case, it is not. The insert is well done and is lined with a felt-like substance. Although this is cool, they missed a tiny opportunity here; they could have left one side of the insert empty so that it could be used as a rolling tray. Nonetheless, it functions well. The dice are very large and feel good in your hands and roll really well. The cards are of decent quality; they aren't the thickest I've ever seen but are better for it as they shuffle really nicely. As they aren't used excessively, I'm sure they will last a very long time. The poker chips are the surprising inclusion here; they are chunky and fantastic. In many games at this price range, you'd expect mini poker chips or even Bingo-style chips, but not here. They are one of the reasons I bought the game as being a game designer, getting some nice components to 'borrow' for a prototype is handy.

Components: 9 out of 10

Ruleset

Not much to say here; the rules are short and clear. They comprise of a single double-sided page. During play, the only question that arose was if you are allowed an extra roll at any point during your turn, not just at the end. For instance, when attempting 'Avalanche', your three rolls have to each be lower than the previous. We surmised that, as it does not say that you *can't*, then you can. Otherwise, the rules are easy to understand and don't omit anything significant. They can be downloaded as a PDF here: http://www.gamewright.com/gamewright/pdfs/Rules/ComboKing-RU...

Ruleset: 8 out of 10

Fun Factor

Combo King's big attraction is likely this. It is simply FUN. It is not deep, nor strategic whatsoever. However, it offers quick bouts of tension on an ongoing basis; this is something many strategic, heavier games fail at. When you have 3 tries to roll a 'Full House' and you're on your last couple of dice and you've got one roll left... The tension is at its peak when all players are into the game. I suspect that Combo King would be even better as a 'beer and pretzels' game. I'm not condoning drunkenness as a prerequisite for the game, but I imagine its fun would be increased with a beer or two. I'll leave it at that. As for the number of players, the more the merrier. There is a deck of 60 cards and each player only has 4 or 5, with the possibility of using up to about 8 per game. There's no reason why this game couldn't play up to 8, really. All you'd need is about 8 more dice and possibly a few more poker chips. Even then, the extra dice wouldn't get used that often as there are quite few 'All' cards that would require the use of more than the 8 included dice. That being said, it would definitely be worth adding these dice as it would make the game even more fun. The downtime between turns is very short, so the impact would be low.

Fun Factor: 8 out of 10

Value for the Buck

I paid $15 Canadian at a brick & mortar store here in Canada. I suspect buying from an online retailer in the US would be quite a bit less than that. For that price, the value of the game is undeniable, even for the components alone. Considering how many games it will take you to see and try all 60 of the combos, Combo King fares very well in the value department.

Value for the Buck: 9 out of 10

The Lowdown

For what it is - a fun, easy-to-play, quick game of dice - Combo King comes up sixes. It's worth your dollar and your time as a great filler or a beer 'n pretzels game to play with your buddies while watching the game.

The Lowdown: 8.4 out of 10 (not an average)
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