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Subject: A fast paced game of chicken rss

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Jon
United States
Redmond
Washington
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It was Tuesday game night and a couple of us were waiting to start up a new game. A bit of filler was in order.

Well, I have Strut!
What is that?
It is a game with dice and cards.
Sold! I love dice and cards.

Overview
Strut! is a race to empty your hand of cards.

The game starts with two dice in a common pool and a pile of dice not yet in play. On your turn, you roll two dice. They can be both in the common pool, one new die and one in the common pool, or two new dice.

Once the rolled dice stop moving, players attempt match a card in their hand to the dice in the pool. Be the first to yell "Strut!" when you find a match and you discard the card, get some points, and the pool resets to two dice. If you have fewer than 30 points, you must draw a new card. If no one calls "Strut!", the next player picks two dice and rolls. Rinse and repeat until someone wins.

One twist in the game is that the common pool will include a single black die. In order to successfully Strut!, the black die must be included in your combination.

There are additional rules, but this is the game in a nutshell.

The Cards
To start, each player is dealt three cards.

There are two types of cards - Goals and Reactions.

Goal cards are what players are trying to match. There are two types of Goals - ones that require specific dice combinations (Full House, 3 Odd 2 Even, Snake Eyes, etc) and ones that require patterns in the sums of dice (Make 3 Fives, Make 2 Tens). Not all goals are created equal, some can be satisfied with only two dice, others require six.

Reaction cards are used on other players when they strut. The reactions vary in power. The "Draw Two" card forces the victim to draw two cards instead of one (or zero). The "Play On" card nullifies a strut - the victim discards the card, no points are scored, and the common pool of dice is left as it is. The Red Rooster card steals points from the victim. The Black Rooster card resets the victim's game state - points are set to zero, hand is discarded and three new cards are drawn.

Strategy
There are real decisions to be made in this game, a nice break from a lot of the family filler I usually play.

When deciding what dice to roll, the ability to calculate what odds of discarding a card from your hand is very important. Before the dice are rolled, I figure out what combination of dice rolled will allow me to strut.

Over time, you can get a sense of what cards your opponents may be holding. This also should factor into your roll choice. Card counting and observing what dice your opponents leave out will yield a lot of information.

The tension of choosing to build a larger pool for your own points but potentially helping opponents rid their large cards can be a game of chicken. You can press-your-luck by forgoing the small cards for larger ones. Early in the game, getting to 30 points is important. Thus, I tend to build a large dice pool and try to play cards that require many dice. Hopefully this will leave me with simple two or three die cards once I am in the endgame and not drawing new ones. Time will tell if this is the appropriate way to play or if always ditching a card as soon as possible is better.

Impressions
Strut! is a light family game. Around the holidays my family will usually play Zilch, our variant of Farkle. After playing this at a game night gathering, I thought it would do well in this space, so I picked it up and brought it to Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws'. It was received well. I knew I had found a winner when my wife requested that we play it again upon returning home from the feast. I think it is the only game the two of us have played together since. I am looking forward to see how my side of the family reacts to it.

I am not a fan of the Black Rooster card. Some people like wild swings of fortune in a game like this. I do not. You can be on the verge of winning (you are playing your last card) only to have to start again from the beginning - not my idea of fun. We play a variant where the Black Rooster has the same effect as the Red Rooster. Your mileage may vary.

I prefer two player; it feels more strategic to me. Three or more is playable but becomes more of a raucous die roller.

Play time is fairly short with experienced players. My wife and I will play 3 or 4 games in an hour.

All in all, I enjoy the game. There are some tactical decisions to be made, a little press-your-luck at times, no down time, and skills in probabilities and hand reading are rewarded.
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-matt s.
United States
Eugene
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Thanks for this review. I just received a copy from my parents for Father's day and wasn't sure how it would play reading the rules. You've given me some confidence it may be a bit better than my initial expectations. I will be attending a family gathering in a couple of weeks and will bring it to try out.
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