Friday, 2 December 2011

Martian Dice

Martian dice is a simple fun game designed by Scott Ames and produced by Tasty Minstrel Games. It is new this year and is aimed at ages 8 and over (though the rules can be understood by a 6 year old). It is for 2 or more players. but I would not go much above 8 because of the downtime between turns, with large groups you tend to get 2 or three players who run the game whilst others socialize/chat giving a nudge to other players when its their turn, strategy is limited to your own turn so knowing what others have done is not really important.
The tube it all comes in
The container is small yet still too large for the game, it could easily have been sold in something a third its size and even more annoying it is a tube. I have a thing against tubes because they are a pain to store, they just do not stack properly with other games or tubes and each company seems to pick completely different sizes to sell their products in, they also leave gaps round them on shelves. Still they are better, only just mind, than blister packs which some small games come in and which have no discernable stacking shape at all.
The Rules
The game consists of one sheet of rules and 13 dice. Each die is a normal 6 sided die with five possible faces. A chicken head (yellow), a human head (blue), a cow head (white), a human tank (red) and a laser canon (green) which is shown on 2 of the faces. The aim of the game is to score 25 points over a series of rounds, when someone achieves 25 or more points at the end of their turn the round is completed and victory goes to furthest past the post.
The 13 Dice
On your turn you throw all the dice, put aside all red faces (these are the evil defending Earthlings) and all the dice of one other colour having done so you may re-throw the remaining dice and likewise collect all red faces and one other colour. Other than the laser canons (green) you may only collect the remaining colours once in a set of throws. i.e. Yellow, white and blue
– the abductees – you are a Martian after all, all chickens cows and humans are strange creatures to be examined and questioned at length later back on Mars. You may stop whenever you want and score up and if you have a turn where you cannot collect any non-red dice because of the above restrictions your turn will end and you may score up.
The possible faces
Before you score there is a pre-requisite and that is that your laser canons (green) must equal or exceed the number of defending evil Earthling tanks (red), if successful then you may score the other coloured dice – your abductees. Each scores 1 point per die and you get a bonus of 3 if you have all 3 different abductees represented in your collection. The dice are then passed on for the next player to have their turn.

Gary shows complete contempt for the puny Earthling forces - and all for 2 points!
I would like to thank Sally of Spirit Games for introducing this game to me.On the whole it is a quick simple filler game, lasting about 3/4 minutes per player. I have played it with a number of groups and each have enjoyed the game.  It is fun but requires little in the way of pre-planning or forethought in that you just do the best with what you have got, there are decisions to make, but not big ones so I can see it sliding to the back of the shelf after a while for me, though it may remain a sticker with some groups.

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