Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty

Filed Under (Toys) by Bernie DeKoven on Jul 22, 2014

Thinking Putty If it ever occurred to you that there was anything silly about silly putty, Crazy Aaron could very well change your life. He is the creator, designer, manufacturer and general distributor of Thinking Putty, devoting his entire commercial empire to bringing you cans full of the lovely, stretchy, bouncy stuff, each can containing as much as 1/5 of a pound of the stuff (Thinking Putty Creatures contain only 1/8 pound, but that’s still enough, especially when you consider that they come with two very convincing, creature-making eyes).

That’s a whole handful, enough for even a grownup to take seriously, which, if you’re the kind of grownup in the need of something to help you with your hand exercises you, in fact, can take quite seriously. And it’s not just the quantity that makes you think. It’s the color (though the Crystal Clears variety is almost colorless), the glow-in-the-darkness, the color-changingness, the magneticness, the apparently inexhaustible inventivenessness of the moldable, foldable, stretchable denizens of Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld. There’s even Super Magnetic Thinking Putty (super magnet included) and Heat Sensitive and the light sensitive Phantoms (that come with a miniature black-light-on-a-keychain).

We tested a bunch of the stuff, discovering that each slight variation took you to a slightly different sphere of fun. Magnetic and heat-sensitive makes you want to experiment. That magnetic stuff is so weird – first it gets magnetized, and then it isn’t. How could that happen? Glow-in-the-darks make you want to hang out in closets with your friends. Phantoms make you want to draw and maybe even go outside. Super Illusions made you want to play with light. And it’s so, well, beautiful.

We kept on thinking we had found our favorite, but, in the end, discovered that each offered its own distinct delights.

Clearly, Crazy Aaron’s putty is beyond silly. It’s magic. It’s scientific. It’s therapeutic. Crazy Aaron takes putty to places its never been before. And so, probably, will you. Fun? Majorly!

01 Award

Doodle Quest

Filed Under (Family Games, Kids Games, Puzzles) by Will Bain on Jul 18, 2014

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doodle_gamerDry erase markers are cool. Maybe it’s that I grew up in the waning age of chalkboards and became a teacher just as dry-erase boards were becoming ubiquitous. The vivid colors just seemed so vibrant compared to the tinted chalk I had to work with in secondary school. This is what it must have been like for my grandparents when the world got color just after the turn of the 20th Century…

Doodle Quest is a clever little drawing game that has more to do with spatial awareness than drawing skill. It’s also a clever little maze game that is quite a challenge to complete even when you can see exactly where you need to go.

The game comes with 18 quest cards, 4 transparent sheets of plastic, 4 dry-erase pens, and 4 fish stencils. The quest cards are double sided with one side being for beginners and the other for more advanced players. Each quest tells players how they can solve the puzzle by drawing a few lines. The players then have to draw the lines on their transparent sheet without measuring or touching the quest card. The transparent sheet is then placed over the quest card to see how well each player did.

For example: one quest asks you to add 4 spots to a clown fish. Some parts of the picture are worth 0 points. Some parts are worth 3 points. Some parts are worth 4 points. If your dot falls ENTIRELY within one of the 3 or 4 point areas you get those points. If it even touches one of the zero point areas you get nothing. Needless to say, the areas are interspersed so that a small variation in the wrong direction will earn you a nice fat goose egg.

01 AwardDoodle Quest was a huge hit when we played this with our kids. It is one of those activities that adults will have very little advantage over the kids and there are lots of ways to even the playing field. A great family game that is engaging and challenging for a wide range of ages.

The illustrations are silly and colorful. The materials are durable and make great use of the dry-erase medium. This is one of those games that can only exist because of the dry-erase technology. I applaud the designers for seeing the unique and Major Fun possibilities held within these mildly intoxicating markers.

1-4 players. Ages 6+

Doodle Quest was designed by Laurent Escoffier and David Franck and is © 2014 by Blue Orange Games.

Niya

Filed Under (Family Games, Thinking Games) by Will Bain on Jul 15, 2014

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niya_gamerNiya is a quick little strategy game that draws its inspiration from Japanese garden prints. Each player represents one of two clans who are trying to quietly take possession of the emperor’s beautiful garden. Violence in such an exquisite location is out of the question but there are rules for entering the garden and if you can align your clan just right the space can be yours.

The garden is made up of tiles that are shuffled and placed in a 4 by 4 grid. Each grid square contains two of the following images: rising sun, poem flag, bird, rain cloud, maple leaves, cherry tree, pine tree, and iris. Each player also has eight clan member tokens. The game starts when one player places a token on the grid. Opponents alternate placing tokens until one gets 4 in a row, a box of 4, or prevents the other from making a legal move.

After the each token is placed, the next player must put a token on a tile that has an image in common with the previous tile. For instance, if I play on the tile with the Sun and the Iris, my opponent could only play on those tiles that have either a Sun or an Iris on them. Capturing tiles becomes a strategic battle to achieve an advantageous position while impeding the options of your opponent.

01 AwardIn many ways this is a variation on tic-tac-toe. I imagine there are optimal strategies for first placement and response moves, but nowhere near as simplistic as tic-tac-toe. Because there are two elements to keep track of and the board changes with each and every play, the exact same strategy will not work each time. Figuring out good approaches will probably happen over the course of several games. Fortunately, the games are quick and Major Fun.

The game is beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully designed. The tiles are double sided, heavy-duty cardboard, and the tokens are a high-density plastic. Rules, tiles, and tokens fit in a compact tin. It’s an elegant strategy game with great art and intuitive rules. Great for quiet evenings and rainy days.

2 players. Ages 8+

Niya was designed by Bruno Cathala and is © 2014 by Blue Orange Games.

Robot Turtles: Adventure Quests

Filed Under (Cooperation, Family Games, Kids Games, Puzzles, Thinking Games) by Will Bain on Jul 5, 2014

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robot turtle AQRobot Turtles: Adventure Quests is a separate adventure pack that can be added to ThinkFun’s Robot Turtles (it is not a stand alone game) or you can by and Adventure Bundle that combines the basic Robot Turtels and Adventure Quests. You can check out our review of Robot Turtles here.

Because Robot Turtles is a programming game, it makes sense that the game will evolve over time. The basic game is already designed with a leveling system in mind and the Adventure Quests  pack builds seamlessly with the original.

Adventure Quests adds a few things to the mix. The game comes with a booklet that contains several board configurations (quests) that the turtles must navigate. There are more gems and there are “Frog Favorite” cards which are sequences of moves that can be “programmed” to the function card. In many ways these are pre-set functions. They can be especially useful if you have children who are having trouble creating their own functions.

There are many ways to play with these functions. You can have a single function that all players use. You can have players choose a function for each adventure. You can have multiple functions available that players can use only once.

What is important is that the young programmers see how commands can be strung together to work efficiently, effectively, and creatively so they will get better at creating their own.

01 AwardI imagine this game will continue to expand for a long time. There are many obstacles and types of actions yet to be incorporated into the game. Some of this will be created by the individual players, but if the Adventure Quests pack is any indication, I imagine there is a great deal more to come from the developers.

This is a great addition to a great game.

Expansion for the basic Robot Turtles games. 2 – 5 players. Ages 4+

Robot Turtles was designed by Dan Shapiro © 2014 by ThinkFun.

Robot Turtles

Filed Under (Cooperation, Family Games, Kids Games, Puzzles, Thinking Games) by Will Bain on Jul 4, 2014

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robot-turtlesProgramming is one of those skills that many of my generation and older consider to be about as esoteric as alchemy. Hours of waving your hands over a table. Repeatedly typing thousands of lines of incomprehensible gibberish surrounded by symbols that we just assumed were there to create emoticons. And then… the glorious Technicolor splendor of the electronic universe opens up on our screens.

It’s MAGIC!!

I for one am thrilled that there are people out there who take the time to program our machines to perform any number of tasks. I don’t think I have much of that kind of creativity, but I recognize it as such. I also recognize that the reasoning and imagination that underlie coding are key components that we all need to develop in order to navigate our digital and analogue worlds. The logic of programming applies to business and creative writing and all the games we play.

In an effort to bring the kind of thinking that programming requires to younger audiences, ThinkFun has provided the world with the fantastic little board game Robot Turtles. The game, designed by Dan Shapiro, was successfully funded on Kickstarter. And when I say successfully I mean funded about 25 times Dan’s initial goal. Seriously. Check it out here.

And deservedly so. Robot Turtles is a great game that does a wonderful job of introducing young players in to the game mechanics. These game mechanics are also the basics of programming. It needs to be said that the game does not involve actually programming a computer. Instead, the game mechanics mimic the skills and reasoning that good programming requires.

The goal of the game is to move your turtle to your target gem. You have cards that you play in sequential order that tell your turtle to turn, move ahead, fire a laser, or repeat a series of actions. Each of these actions is introduced over a set of games that gradually increase the complexity of the tasks. This approach to teaching the game might be a little frustrating to older players but it makes the game accessible to very young children. The youngest players will appreciate just moving the turtle around the board. Once they have mastered basic sequential commands, they can progress on to more complex games. In the parlance of most computer games and role-playing games, they can level-up.

Adults could probably jump in to higher levels without playing the “tutorial” levels but this is designed to teach very young children. The pedagogy is solid and each level is fun.

01 AwardAnother aspect that I only appreciated after playing with my kids was the cooperative nature of the game. It can be competitive but it is not written that way. The game encourages you to play with pairs on each team—a young “Turtle Master” and an older “Turtle Mover.” The younger player chooses the cards and makes the decisions but does not actually move the turtle. That is the job of the “Turtle Mover.” In this way, the younger players get to order around the adults who are supposed to follow the instructions chosen by the kids (and provide entertaining sound effects). I’ve been a teacher for 18 years and it still took me by surprise just how exciting it was for the kids to boss around the adults. My daughter chose the cards and I did just what they told me to do. This was a great simulation of digital programming in which the programmer provides instructions that something else (the computer) has to follow.

The most interesting and complex cards were the function cards. These served as markers representing a set of action cards. The actions would always be carried out in the same way whenever a function card was played. For example, in order to turn around the turtle on the most basic level, a “programmer” would have to play two cards (right turn, right turn). At higher levels, the programmer could place two right turn cards and a function card off to the side. If the turtle ever needed to turn around in the game, the programmer would now only need to play one function card.

The game comes with three kinds of barriers which can impede the turtles. Ice blocks can be melted by a laser. Boxes can be pushed. Stone blocks are permanent. The instructions come with some suggested “maps” but you are encouraged to come up with your own challenges and then figure out how you can overcome them with the fewest moves.

Creativity is highly prized but so is efficiency.

The art and instruction are fantastic. The pacing is great for a very wide range of players, and the game play becomes remarkably robust after only a few instructional levels. This is Major Fun for kids and parents and teachers and anyone (like me) who sees that programming should be taught to everyone—neither for economic reasons nor for purely pragmatic reasons but rather because the skills are intrinsic to our development as a species.

And playing with them is fun.

And our new robot overlords are probably going to feed the programmers who brought them to life before they feed the humanities majors who keep churning out post-singularity dystopian fiction.

So maybe there are some pragmatic reasons…

2 – 5 players. Ages 4+

Robot Turtles was designed by Dan Shapiro © 2014 by ThinkFun.

Spot It! Freeze

Filed Under (Family Games, Kids Games, Party Games, Speed Game) by Will Bain on Jul 1, 2014

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spotitfreeze_gamerIt has been well established that Spot It! is Major Fun.

For evidence, you may look here…

…and here

…and here

…and here

Although it seems like we have sufficiently covered this point, I don’t think it can be over-stated how clever the basic game is. You have 55 cards. Each card has eight images. Any two cards in the deck have exactly one image in common. Games revolve around trying to find which one is the match. Spot It! Freeze adds a timer to the mix. The electronic timer has two modes: countdown and random.

I’ll admit that most of us at Major Fun were skeptical that a timer would add much to the game. After all, the point of Spot It! is to be fast. Surely a timer couldn’t help much.

We were wrong.

Blue Orange has come up with some great games that utilize the two types of timer to great effect. The most basic game requires the players to collect cards from a pile in the middle. Play proceeds as normal until a player successfully makes a match with one of the blue images (cold-based images like ice and snow are always blue). When that happens, that player yells “Freeze” and the countdown timer is started. The player has 10 seconds to play solo—no one else can interrupt. When the 10 seconds is over everyone else can jump back in.

Playing by yourself is an advantage, but not nearly as great as you might first imagine. The countdown adds pressure that tends to interfere with your ability to spot the similar images. It breaks the flow and it also gives your opponents time to look at the card and jump in at the end of the countdown.

01 AwardAnother variation involves the random timer (a loud ticking sound) that plays like Catchphrase. Each player has a stack of cards they are trying to get rid of. A card is turned face up in the middle of the table and the timer is started. One player flips their top card up and tries to make a match. Once they do, play moves clockwise to the next person. If the timer stops on your turn (before you can play a card) then you take two cards from the middle pile. You can also reverse the order by matching a blue item and saying “Freeze.” You don’t have to reverse things but you can.

This is a great game variation for a wide range of players. It equalizes things quite a bit. My daughter is fantastic at the basic Spot It! Far and above the best player in our group. She can consistently take on and beat all the rest of us COMBINED. This variation (called Flash Freeze) means that she still has to wait for the rest of us and it is possible for us to keep her from playing (or at least give her very little time). I’ll admit that it seems petty and cruel to keep my 12 year old daughter from playing her cards, but short of gouging out her eyes, I’m not sure there is any other chance the rest of us have.

And she has lovely eyes.

Spot It! Freeze is a great expansion of the Spot It! universe. It is the only one to not come in a round tin but the timer is also a compact box for the cards. It is clever and bright and fast and oh so Major Fun.

2 – 8 players. Ages 8+

Spot It! Freeze © 2014 by Blue Orange Games.

Machine of Death

Filed Under (Cooperation, Storytelling, Thinking Games) by Will Bain on Jun 27, 2014

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machine of death gameSo if you haven’t checked out the Major Fun book review for Machine of Death, I’ll give you a moment to read it here…

[whistles through teeth…]

Take your time. It’s really good. The book, I mean. Go read it too.

[pulls out iPad and plays… er… does some research…]

Oh hi!! So now imagine a story-telling game based on the premise of The Machine of Death. Wicked cool, right?

You didn’t read any of the previous stuff did you. [Sigh] OK, so in a nutshell, a machine has been invented that, with only a drop of your blood, will predict how you will die with 100% accuracy. You get a piece of paper with some words on it: “steamroller” or “autoerotic exsanguination” or “French press.” Doesn’t say when or where. Doesn’t give any more details. And the machine might be said to have a highly developed sense of ironic humor so “French press” might mean a coffee maker or a bunch of Parisian journalists or perhaps a riot at a particular World Cup soccer match. Try to avoid your death and you’ll just find out how devious the universe can be.

The answer is always the same. The answer is never wrong.

In the game, you play a company of assassins. The Machine has made your profession very tricky, especially when your target has consulted the Machine. You are given four targets and a handful of items that must be used in order to bring down your intended victim. As a group, you have to come up with a plan that would make Rube Goldberg proud and then change it on the fly if something goes wrong.

The base game is cooperative. Each target comes with a description that provides your troupe of killers with a location and some personality quirks that you can use to your advantage. You also get your target’s Machine of Death card as well as three Black Market Gift cards that you must use in order to “establish the truth” about your target (learned that particular euphemism from Tim Power’s excellent novel Declare). The gift cards are redeemable for things like “something that floats” or “fancy pants” or “a public domain character.” All players work together to come up with a plan that utilizes all of these items.

For each Black Market item involved, the group must assign a number to it that indicates how likely it is to succeed in the plan. 2 means virtually guaranteed and 6 is nearly impossible. Once the plan is set, the group starts the 90 second timer and starts rolling the included die for each element of the plan. If each element is successful, the target is killed. Huzzah! If any element fails (you roll lower than the assigned number) you must draw a new Black Market item, discuss how it will change the plan, assign it a difficulty, and then roll for it again.

Your original plan can take as long as you like but once the plan gets going you have only 90 seconds to make changes. This keeps the action moving and adds a level of urgency to the proceedings.

You win the game if you eliminate all four of your targets. You lose if you run out of Black Market cards (you start with 20) or if you fail to kill a target. Along the way you can pick up special cards to help you, but the basic mechanic stays the same: come up with a plan, assign difficulty, roll for results.

01 AwardThere are also several alternative games that can be played with the same cards. Some of the variations are competitive. Some are more like a traditional role-playing game. One is a party game like Apples to Apples. This party game was popular with our large group. The variations are quite distinct which demonstrates two things to me: the strength of the concept and the considered design-work of the creators. If your group has never played a story-telling game before, start with the party game. Ready for some more role-playing but without the pressure? Play without the timer for a while. We had fun coming up with elaborate plans in much the same way that we would have fun building a city out of boxes and toilet paper tubes.

The story-telling game takes a very specific mindset to make work. It is much more about telling a funny story than winning or losing. In some ways it reminds me of an activity like writing an exquisite corpse. It also reminds me of collaborative role-playing games like Fiasco in which the dice are there to shake up the story-telling rather than win or lose a fight.

The Machine of Death is morbid and often bizarre but also Major Fun.

2 – 4 players (many more with some variations). Ages 15+

Machine of Death was designed by David Malki ! and is © 2013. The game is produced by Bearstache.

Book Review: Machine of Death

Filed Under (Books) by Will Bain on Jun 26, 2014

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Machine of Death CoverI’m starting to review books and other materials for the site. No awards just yet, but consider reviews on this site to be positive recommendations. If you would like me to consider something, send me an email or comment. If you are a publisher, send me a review copy :-)

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories about People Who Know How They Will Die
Edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, & David Malki !
Bearstache Books, 2010

This book review is also a preview for an imminent Major Fun Game Award. Many books get made into games. The mark of a good game is one that can be played and enjoyed without knowing anything about the source material. That is true for Machine of Death. I loved the collection of stories and found that my experience with the book enhanced my enjoyment of the game; but I was the only one of our Major Fun play-testers who had even heard of the book. [Spoiler alert: the game is Major Fun.]

Thematic anthologies like Machine of Death are probably the literary equivalent of a knitting circle. This is not a pejorative. I’m using knitting circle to substitute for any hobby, or club, or niche activity. Short story anthologies that focus on a theme or genre appeal to those people who are already going to be drawn to that specific theme. I have a fondness for post-apocalyptic speculative fiction so it should come as no surprise that I have a an anthology on my bookshelf called Brave New Worlds that is a chronological collection of dystopian fictions. Anthologies generally preach to the choir or serve as a teaching instrument for those of us with an academic disease.

Machine of Death breaks out of some of these constraints. It’s not purely a work of genre fiction like sci-fi, fantasy, or horror. It is also not a narrowly defined thematic category like “coming home” or “abuse” or “race relations.” I suppose the broad category could be “death” but that doesn’t really do the stories justice. Machine of Death became the #1 seller on Amazon in 2010 not because there is some popular “death fiction” subgenre (although I bet morbid curiosity certainly helped) but rather because there is a deep curiosity about how people choose to live.

Machine of Death ComicThe core concept comes from a comic strip written and drawn by Ryan North (one of the editors). In the strip, a chatty T-Rex describes a machine that can predict how you are going to die. The machine is 100% accurate but it does not tell you where or when. It reports the how of your death with (usually) just a few words: “car wreck” or “love” or “hydra-colonic malfunction.”

By this time you’ve read the strip I’ve provided so you get the picture. Ryan and fellow writers Matthew Bennardo and David Malki ! solicited stories based on the idea of the machine and the rest is history.

What makes the collection more than just a one note joke or (worse) a collection of snuff-stories, is the focus on the knowledge of death more than the actual deaths. A machine such as this would shake the world to its core but in ways that would be subtle—more like a very low musical note rather than an earthquake. Once a machine like this exists there would always be a tension between knowing and not knowing. And given the machine’s rather ironic sense of humor, the word “knowing” should be always be set in quotation marks. The stories do a fantastic job of exploring the angles and intricate folds of this “knowledge.” They are often funny and dark. Sometimes oblique. Sometimes poignant. But always thoughtful.

In many ways the collection reminds me of all the best conversations I had in college and graduate school. Those late nights and lazy weekends when we would try to look into the future or love or death or evil. The Machine of Death is about death and dying but only if you focus on the one thing that all of us already know is going to happen. In the meantime, we have to live and the best stories in the collection are the ones that reveal something about our living world—something taken for granted until we get a glimpse of the end.

Will Bain
Major Fun

 

Book Review: Play at Work

Filed Under (Books) by Will Bain on Jun 24, 2014

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PlayAtWorkI’m starting to review books and other materials for the site. No awards just yet, but consider reviews on this site to be positive recommendations. If you would like me to consider something, send me an email or comment. If you are a publisher, send me a review copy :-)

Play at Work
Adam Penenberg
Portfolio / Penguin, 2013

The thing I find most compelling about Adam Penenberg’s Play at Work are the times when the anecdotes and analysis open up to me the ways electronic media and social networks have so fundamentally changed our society. There have always been social networks and there have been numerous advances in communication that altered the social fabric. What strikes me at several points in Penenberg’s book is the degree to which the confluence of these things (social networks and electronic media) have created institutions that are indistinct from virtual (or simulated) institutions.

Take Chapter Six where Penenberg explores the search for special proteins that could be used to fight HIV. The problem that scientists face (and I am grossly oversimplifying here) is that finding the “right protein” involves finding the right shape of protein. Proteins are very long molecules that derive their useful (or harmful) properties from the way they twist and turn and fold. Figuring out the component parts of the protein is not the difficult part. Figuring out how to combine those parts so the protein folds in just the right way is difficult. So difficult in fact that many problems have been impossible to crack even with some of the most advanced super-computers.

FolditEnter Foldit, a puzzle game that encourages users to form social networks while they play with protein molecules. The game taps into our all too human desires to solve problems, compete, and share. It also provides incredibly difficult puzzles that correspond to protein conundrums in real life. Players learn the basics of folding proteins by playing low level puzzles. As they get better, the puzzles get harder but they start to learn techniques from other players. They form teams. They earn experience and rewards in the form of badges, points, and other forms of recognition. And in 2011, a team of Foldit players cracked a protein that was needed to attack an AIDS related virus in Rhesus monkeys.

Thousands of people playing with simulated proteins in an electronic social network, contributed to a massive breakthrough in bio-chemistry. The virtual realm in which we can play, in which we can drop in and out of our own volition, created the information we needed to change our world. The ability of people to voluntarily play with an idea, to compete against others for only the sense of accomplishment (no monetary gain), and the ability for these people to collaborate (usually via electronic means) were the keys to success.

As Penenberg demonstrates with most of his chapters, these three components are what are key to creating a playful, game-inspired environment. This approach to problem solving, education, and growth is not a panacea, but rather another way of looking at how our hierarchical, standardized institutions might be able to tackle problems that have appeared intractable.

Penenberg is an enthusiastic and engaging writer. The chapters are loosely grouped around considerations of game design, the serious side of play, and how game design has influenced the corporate world, but there is a lot of overlap. The chapters are also episodic so you can pick up and leave the book at intervals or skip around without losing any sense of his central themes.

For those of us who already believe that playfulness and good game design have something profound to offer society (beyond “mere” entertainment) then Penenberg is preaching to the choir. But there are so many fascinating stories that the book is hard to put down. A great read into the complexities and mechanics of play and games.

Will Bain
Major Fun

Dodge Dice

Filed Under (Family Games, Kids Games, Party Games) by Will Bain on Jun 20, 2014

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Dodge DiceDodge Dice is a wonderfully minimalist press-your-luck game. Ten dice and some chips are all it takes to give you a lot of tough choices in the face of random chance.

Eight of the dice are the Dodge Dice. These have three blue sides, two green sides, and one red side. One die is the Penalty Die. Similar to the Dodge Dice, the Penalty Die has three blue, two green, and one red sides; however, each side also has a number value: blue = 10, green = 20, and red = 40. The final die is the Action Die. This die either stops the round immediately or effects the final penalty score.

The starting player rolls all the dice. Whatever color the Penalty Die shows is the color that must remain face up in future rolls. The first player puts the Penalty Die and any matching Dodge Dice in the middle of the table and passes the rest of the dice to the next player. That player rolls all the dice, setting aside any that are the same color as those in the middle and passing the rest.

The goal of the game is to have the fewest points. You earn points if the round stops on your turn. There are two ways for the round to stop. First, if the STOP symbol comes up on the Action Die when you roll the round stops (duh). Second, if all the Dodge Dice are the same color, the round stops.

01 AwardIf the round stops on you, you earn the number of points on the Penalty Die BUT this can be changed by the Action Die. The points can be doubled or tripled. The points could actually be subtracted from your score or the points could be passed to one of the other players. Of the six possibilities that could happen to you when the round stops, four of them are bad for you but two are good.

So, because this is a press-your-luck game there must be some choice to make so that you could conceivably avoid a bad outcome. That’s where the chips come in. Every player has two Skip Chips. You can play one before you roll to pass the dice to the next player or you can play two chips to skip AFTER you have rolled. Skip Chips can replenish with a lucky roll of the Action Die, but these chips become very valuable in those long rounds toward the end of the game.

There’s a lot of nail-biting and analysis paralysis that accompanies some of these rolls. Do you take a few points now so you can save your chips for later? Do you roll and spend your chips only if you have to? Is it better for you to take a few points if it means preventing someone from ending the game?

All good questions and all Major Fun.

2 – 6 players. Ages 8+

Dodge Dice was designed by Eric Messersmith and Mike Mandolese and is © 2014 by Gamewright.