So we go from cavemen to Martians…
You are the Martians. You have come to Earth and need to know who is in charge: Chickens, Cows, or Humans. The Martian bookies are laying 3 to 1 odds on the chickens but the humans do have those irksome tanks. Better get some of each just to be sure.
Tasty Minstrel Games’ press-your-luck game, Martian Dice, is deceptively simple. Roll the dice and set aside Tanks (these are trying to hurt you). Choose any ONE of the following groups and collect any that you just rolled: Death Ray, Human, Chicken, Cow. Death Rays cancel Tanks but don’t score anything. Humans, Chickens, and Cows score one point each BUT once you collect a sample of that group you cannot collect any more. If you have more Tanks than Death Rays, you may not score anything. Bonus points for getting specimens from all three groups.
There are thirteen dice and with each roll you must keep Tanks and one other group. This keeps the game moving quickly, and each roll diminishes the pool of dice. Your choices with each roll are limited, but each choice presents a unique risk that the player must weigh against the potential rewards.
And sometimes, you just need to get a few more Death Rays.
Each game goes to 25 points, which doesn’t seem like much. Especially given the first roll of 13 dice. Sure you get a few Tanks but you will also get several Humans or Chickens and LOTS of Death Rays. But after the Tanks, you can only keep one category and you have to keep ALL the dice from that category. So, if you have 2 Tanks and keep 6 Death Rays (not uncommon) that means you have only 5 more dice to roll for points and out of those dice you might roll more Tanks or Death Rays (which don’t get you any points).
The whole thing is silly, but it is also really engaging. In every turn it feels like a player just squeaks by or just barely misses a score or hits a big jackpot. Each roll is an extreme. There is no happy medium but lots of fun. Major Fun. You can’t help but WANT to roll the dice one more time.
Tasty Minstrel has done a great job with the rules and the dice. Colorful, clear, and short. Our only nitpick came with the tube that you use for rolling the dice and storing the game. One plastic end comes off to open the tube, but the other plastic end is SUPPOSED to remain affixed to the cardboard tube. Alas, with even a moderate shake, the bottom falls out and the dice scatter across the room, racing for shelter under every item of furniture that has more than a finger-width of clearance from the floor. And the heat grates.
Appropriate I guess. If the Martians are coming at me with Death Rays and probes, I’m running for cover too.
For 2+ players, ages 6+
Martian Dice game by Scott Almes. © 2011 Tasty Minstrel Games LLC.