It’s a dice game for 2-4 players. There are nine dice. Four of them, the Dogs and Houses dice, are distributed, one to each player. These dice have images of a house on five sides, and of a dog on the remaining side. We’ll learn more about these dice later. The other five dice have three Squirrel sides, two Acorn sides, and one Car side.
On their turn, players roll all five dice. They get one point for every Acorn they roll. Then, if they wish, they can roll again. More Acorns, more points. Any of the dice that are rolled to their Car side are put aside. But the rest of the dice (squirrels and acorns) remain in play.
Towards the end of your turn, you may be rolling as few as one or two dice, because all the other dice have become Cars. This makes it increasingly likely that you will roll all Squirrels. At this time, you, well, Go Nuts. That is you shout “Go Nuts,” lose all your accumulated points, but keep on rolling and rolling your remaining dice, scoring new points. While you’re happily rolling and accumulating, the other players are all hastily and with great focus rolling their Dog and Houses die. Which requires a lot of hasty and focused rolls as, if you remember, only one side of the dice has a Dog on it. As soon as they roll a Dog, they stop rolling. When the last player rolls a Dog, you, too, have to stop rolling. You then take your total score (except for all the points you lost before you started to Go Nuts), and thus endeth your turn.
Needless to say, Going Nuts is in itself a moment of intense, and one might even be tempted to say, Major FUN, keeping everyone somewhat frantically, and most definitely hilariliously involved, no matter who’s turn it is. Though it will especially appeal to kids, it’s clearly worthy of serious adult consideration.
One more rule of note. If you have only one die left, and you roll an Acorn, you pick up all your dice, roll again and again (as often as you dare), and continue to accumulate points. On the other hand, if you have only one die left, and you roll a Car, you lose all your points, everything, entirely, the same way you’d lose them if you rolled a squirrel, only instead of getting to Go Nuts, you just stop going.
The rules of Go Nuts beckon you to roll just one more time, just in case. Gamers call this kind of game press your luck. I call it the kind of game that makes you, to coin a phrase, go nuts!
Designed by Brian Spence, Garrett J. Donner, and Michael S. Steer, Go Nuts is one more example of how much fun can be packed into a 12 Minute Game. It is one in a series of 12 Minute Games, as is a game called Thing-a-ma-Bots, which, as it happens, I happened to design. Though I can not claim to be entirely bias-free in this review, having Go Nuts and Thing-a-ma-Bots in the same game family is an honor for me, and a service to all playkind.