Game Buzz: Desperados of Dice Town

If you read my review from a few weeks ago, you’ll know that Dice Town is one of my favorite games.  Well, now we’re getting a sequel:

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Desperados of Dice Town is a prequel to Dice Town, designed by original designers Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc.  It is being published by Matagot.  The game, for 2-4 players, is a prequel of sorts to Dice Town.  You are trying to release bandits from prison, so they can go do the deeds in the first game.  However, even though they share a universe, the two games are really nothing alike.

The game comes with four sets of five desperados, which are round cards showing the dudes you have to spring from prison.  Each one has numbers around the edge which indicate how long it will be until they are out of prison.  There are four special dice, each with an action face and five character faces (these match your desperados).  You also get 28 Wild West cards and $200 in poker chips.  Each player begins the game with a gang of five desperados, all on their jail side with the highest number on top.  You will then all roll the four dice until you get four character faces with no more than two identical faces.  Each of the matching desperados are rotated down a number towards freedom.

On your turn, you have two things to do – roll up to three times, then take an action or draw a Wild West card.

ROLL: Roll all four dice.  You can then set some aside and roll the rest, or reroll all of them, or stop.  You can roll a maximum of three times – Yahtzee style.

ACTION: After you stop rolling, if you have an action face, you can take an action with one of the characters shown on the other dice.  If the desperado is still in jail, you can rotate it one more step towards freedom.  If you reach the escape point, flip the desperado over.  You can use actions with escaped desperados to make other players who haven’t freed that character lose money (you don’t get it, it goes to the center of the table).  If anyone loses all of their money, they are out of the game.  One character in each gang has a special action instead of attacking.  Each action face can only be used once, but you can use a character face multiple times if you have multiple actions.

DRAW: If you roll three of a kind, you can draw three Wild West cards and keep one.  If you roll four of a kind, you can draw four and keep two.  If you don’t have an action face or three/four of a kind, you can draw one and keep it.  Wild West cards work like General Store cards in the original game – they give you a special ability that can be used at different points during the game (not when you draw it).  Wild West cards are what’s going to give you an opportunity to claim the money on the table.

When one player breaks his last desperado out of jail, he wins if he is the richest player (even if it is a tie).  If not, the game continues until he either becomes the richest player or someone else is the richest when all desperados are out.  You can win by eliminating all of your opponents.

In thinking about this game, it seems like it’s kind of in the same category as King of Tokyo.  It’s a Yahtzee-style game where you want to knock out your opponents, and cards can be used to enhance your turn.  Not that the games are the same, it’s just a general feeling I get.  There seem to be lots of opportunities for messing with your opponents – I really want to know what all the Wild West cards are to get more of a sense of what you can do.  The Wild West cards seem to be the biggest connection to the original Dice Town game, other than the art.

Overall, DoDT seems like a fairly light game where you are trying to get your desperados to the point where they can start attacking each other.  I’m assuming the more difficult people to free are more powerful in attacks.  It’s a game that I think will have to be played to really see its full potential, but it’s one I’m interested to know more about.  Thanks for reading!

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