Okay ... we've played this game with 3 players a couple of times, and had some romping good fun, but this time we tried it with 5, and I'm happy to report the game works quite well with large numbers! The characters and player ages were: Stinky (43), Bitey (43), Mr. Crumbles (24), Taunty (20), and Lefty (13).
The humor and mayhem start from the very first turn, since each player can take a "parting shot" at anyone on the same space (to include the starting space) before moving off.
Very early in the game, Lefty got her sticky gingerbread hands on a Bazooka, allowing ranged attacks against one player each turn. She got Mr. Crumbles in her sites for the next several rounds. Finally, someone managed to bite off one of her arms, and since the Bazooka is a two-handed weapon, it went to the candy scrap heap. Later Mr. Crumbles played a Ginger Snap, tore off one of Bitey's arms and beat her handily with it!
By the time we'd been at it for a few rounds, it became apparent (again) that this game is not about crossing the finish line -- it's all about decimating the other gingerbread marauders before they grind you into crumbs. Bitey was first to go, but by the time she was eliminated, everyone was limping along with at least two appendages missing, and serious bite sized head and body shots as well. In fact, I (Stinky) was rolling along with just a head, having lost both arms, both legs, and my gingerbread body--gumdrop buttons and all--during the course of several Candy Cage Matches, intense one-on-one duels that left both opponents oozing red icing all over the place. I went down a round or two after Bitey, and was followed shortly thereafter by Lefty.
Mr. Crumbles and Taunty went after each other with Licorice Whips and Ju-Ju-Jitsu until Taunty finally called one last Cage Match which backfired -- leaving Mr. Crumbles the sole survivor. Not satisfied to let him linger in the land of sugary victory, we insisted he still endeavor to cross the finish line by running the gauntlet of "the Twins" -- a series of spaces at the end of the track where each turn deals massive damage to the unfortunate delectable seeking asylum beyond the gates of the demented candy kingdom. Mr. Crumbles managed to get out with his midsection and one leg ... think "It's only a flesh wound!" and you begin to get the picture.
The game took about an hour. From the first elimination to the last only took about 5 or 6 rounds ... roughly 5 minutes ... so everyone was pretty much in it right to the end. Even the eliminated players enjoyed watching Mr. Crumbles run the Twins, taking great delight in cheering for the jumped up sugar junkies to finish him off!
Anyway, I would normally characterize this game as beer-and-pretzels fare, but in this case I think milk-and-cookies is a more apt description. It was a load of laughs, and I'm sure we'll play again a few times while the kids are home.