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Subject: I'm all shook up, uh huh! (with apologies to The King) rss

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Shake Up is a game of dice rolling for 2 to 4 players, where certain combinations allow you to advance your pawns up a stepped pyramid.


Contents

- 20 pawns (5 of each color)

- 4 d6

- board

- instructions




Object

The object is to roll dice combinations that allow you to move your pawns up the stepped pyramid. At the top, they are dropped through a hole, where they are safe. First player to get all of their pawns to the top wins.




How to Play

On their turn, a player rolls all four dice. You may roll up to three times, re-rolling all, some, or none of the dice.

If you roll 4 of a kind, or a run of four (aka a small straight - 1, 2, 3, 4 or 2, 3, 4, 5 or 3, 4, 5, 6) you can move a pawn up a level, and either take another turn, or move one of your opponent's pawns down to the lowest level. If you roll one of these combinations on your first roll, you may move a pawn, move your opponent's pawn, and take another turn.

If you roll 3 of a kind, a run of three, or two pairs, you may move a pawn up a level.

If you roll a pair, you may not move a pawn, but are not penalized. Your turn ends.

If you do not roll any of these combinations, you must move your highest pawn down to the starting level.

Pawns can only be moved to the next level if there are at least two pawns on the starting level. (The lowest pawn may move up without needing another pawn.)

Once you reach the top, you drop your pawn through a hole, and it is safe. It can no longer be moved back down to the starting level. The first player to get all five of their pawns to the top wins the game.




Strategy

A starting roll of 2, 3, 6, 6 could go either way - a run containing 2 and 3, or multiple sixes. Chances are good that at least a 1 or a 4 would be rolled with two dice and two rolls, but it's also tempting to take the bird in the hand rather than one in the bush, and keep the pair, so as not to be penalized. A safe strategy, but not always the one that reaps the most rewards.

A player must balance racing a pawn to the top, so that they are safe, and having a high pawn that might be moved back to the lowest level. If you move three pawns up one space, and one pawn is moved down, you only lost one level, for one pawn. The other two pawns did not lose anything. If one pawn is near the top, and is moved back to start, you lost all of the moves that it took to get it there. Each step of the pyramid has one fewer spot for a pawn, so a pawn must go on ahead, or be left behind, making for some strategy and tension.


Pros and Cons

Dropping the pawns into the holes at the top is a bit like dropping people into a volcano - admittedly the high point of the game for me.

The right length for the weight of the game. Doesn't overstay its welcome.

The pawns are tall and easy to grip. Nice design.

Quick set-up and clean up.

Colorful and durable.

Good for a filler game, or for a game with non-gamers, or with slightly younger gamers.




Conclusion

Shake Up has a similar feel to Yahtzee, Doubles Wild, and Can't Stop. If you like these games, you might like Shake Up.
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