I do understand why some gamers would think this is a bit of an empty vessel, it is dead simple. You roll three dice and have to stack two onto your stack or bust out and your turn is over, that's just about it really (apart from some more rules about scores bonuses for certain combos).
One surprise for me was the stack of 'power cards' that Smirk and Dagger added, haven't tried these yet so we can't comment.
Anyway, we really really love this, and here's why:
- It's simple, so absolutely anyone can join in;
- It's simple and so you can play and chat at the same time, perfect for a coffee shop game;
- It's portable (that board splits into two to fit in the dice bag we reckon);
- The dice are GORGEOUS and large, heavy things that are wonderful to hold and roll;
- We learned the Japanese symbols for 1 to 6;
- It's brinkmanship in a pure form with a real sense of danger at risk-taking and quick results;
- It's fast, so you can get your own back;
- By crikey it's fun and addictive, 'just one more I can do better'.
On that last note, I get the same kick out of that first dice roll as I do out of receiving a hand of cards in poker - you see what your starting point is and assess whether or not you've got good foundations to go for glory or whether you're going to have to either accept a low score or REALLY push it and gamble gamble gamble. And like poker, the hand/round is over quickly and then you get another go - what's my opening hand going to be like this time? Three twos? YESSSS!! But as is also the case with poker (unless you're playing Texas Hold Em) you can have a great start point and ask for more cards and then get a load of tosh that ruins your chances of going for the big twelve dice mega score (three twos followed by two ones and a six).
Really really good game that sits perfectly in our collection of hundreds alongside weighty games like Dominant Species and simple brethren like Pickomino, Hick Hack and Hoppladi Hopplada.
I'm biased, but I agree!
And I think when you get the Smirky Challenge cards, you will enjoy it that much more. The cards are gained if you 'bust' on your initial stack of 2 or 3 dice. Then they may be played (usually on the leader) to make their turn more difficult.
For example, "Roll a double and stack it - or you bust", "Force a player to roll one additional time after they decide to stop", "You must stack a '6' or you bust".
These nasty surprises definitely give it a smirky feel and enhance game play. If anyone bought a copy at Gencon, before this deck of cards was inserted into the box, drop me a line at email@example.com and I'll get you one!
Smirk and Dagger Games