Last time here, I talked about some heavier games. Time to switch it back up and go with some luck heavy games. Luck heavy games generally involve either dice or decks of cards and tend towards the lighter side. The more luck involved in a game, the more likely a less skilled player in the game will win. All of these games feature heavy luck elements, and we’ll be going from lighter to heavier as the games go on.
These are two games that are essentially the same game with a some minor tweaks. So if you have to pick one, pick the one that has heroes that sound more interesting to you. This game features a strong element of push your luck, and playing the other players. This game does feature player elimination, but it plays quickly (15-20 minutes a game) so no one has to sit too long. Each round a hero is selected, and all of his (or her) gear is set out. Each hero has different gear that gives different abilities (as an example, the warrior gets a torch that kills monsters that have odd values, while the thief has an item to avoid any one creature). There is then a deck of monster cards that are shuffled. Taking turns, players may either pass, or draw a card. If they draw a card they look at it, and either put it into the dungeon, or remove it from the dungeon and take a piece of gear away from the hero. If you pass, you are out of the round. Once only one player hasn’t passed, the final player runs the hero through the dungeon of monsters. If they survive, they claim a treasure card. If they fail, the first time they take damage, the second time they are dead and eliminated from the game. The game ends when either one player has claimed two treasures, or only one player has survived. This is a light filler game, with nice chunky cardboard pieces for the hero equipment, and is well suited to playing with younger gamers.
Game 2) Gambling without the risk – Las Vegas (3-6 players)
Las Vegas… you’re probably expecting mobs, and guns, and neon, but instead you get a bunch of dice, some casino boards, and cards with various amounts of money listed on them. Each player starts with eight 6 sided dice in their supply, and if you are playing with less than 6 players (which I would recommend) a set number of white dice that represent the house. The setup is easy, set out the six casino boards (each labeled with a die value of 1 to 6) in order, shuffle the money cards and start dealing them to each casino, stopping when they have a value of at least $50,000 on them. On each player’s turn, they roll all of their dice, sort them based on the displayed value, then select one set of dice to place on a casino tile. So if your first roll is three 1’s, two 2’s, one 3, one 4, and one 6. You can select the 1’s, and you place the three dice on the casino board with the 1 value listed on it. The round ends when all players have placed all of their dice. Then the winnings are awarded, and whoever has the most dice on a casino gets the highest value card, second most the second most valuable card (if there is one), and so on. The trick comes when you get to ties. If more than a single player have the same amount of dice on a casino board, those dice are removed from the board. So if Abby, Brandon, and Carol are playing, and Abby and Brandon have 4 dice on a board, while Carol has 1. Carol wins the valuable card from that board, and Abby and Brandon walk away empty handed. If you’re playing with less than six players, then those white dice represent the house, and are placed with your dice following the same rules. The game goes for four rounds (or more or less as long as you agree to it before hand), with the start player moving between rounds, with the winner being the player with the most cash at the end.
Game 3) Sneaking into a dragon’s lair – Clank (2-4 players)
Clank is a relatively new game, and is a twist on the traditional deck-builder games. In this game, each player represents an adventurer trying to sneak into a dragon’s lair, grab an artifact and get out of dodge before the dragon kills them. This is done by building a personal deck of cards (all players start with the same personal deck) by purchasing new cards from a communal display. These purchased cards either have an immediate effect, or they are placed into your discard pile and you hope to see them again soon. Cards can provide some or all of the following:
- Movement – Allows you to move your meeple on the board
- Skill – Allows you to purchase new cards
- Coins – Victory points at the end of the game, and can be used to purchase some items
- Swords – Combat strength to kill monsters, and move through dangerous passages
- Clank – Being noisy in the dungeon, attracting the attention of the dragon
- Other special abilities (healing, ability to purchase items, draw cards, etc).
As each player accumulates Clank, they put a colored cube into a region of the board. As players purchase cards from the communal display, new cards come out, and some of these cards trigger the dragon to attack. Any time the dragon attacks, all of the Clank cubes on the board go into a bag (which also contains a number of neutral black cubes) the bag is shaken up, and a number of cubes is drawn from the bag. If a cube of your color comes out, you’ve taken damage and must move a tracking cube down one space on your health tracker. If a neutral cube comes out, no one is injured this time, but there are now less neutral cubes in the bag. The end game is triggered by either a person dying, or by the first player who grabs an artifact and escapes the dungeon (all players who successfully escape get a token worth 20 points). Once the end game is triggered, all of the remaining players have four turns to get their artifacts and escape, with the dragon attacking more ferociously every turn. If you run out of turns and are in the bottom half of the dungeon after your last turn, you have been buried in the collapsing dungeon. If you’ve at least made it to the top half alive, then the villagers dig you out, and you score your deck. At the end of the game, all of the players add up their victory points from cards, tokens, artifacts, coins, and crowns. The winner is the player with the most points.
If the dungeon raiding aspect doesn’t appeal to you, there is also a rethemed version called Clank! In! Space! (don’t blame me for the name…) which is set in space.
Here’s hoping one of these press your luck games is up your alley, and we’ll be back soon with some games that are a bit harder to acquire (but can still be found without breaking the bank)..