Sunday, November 24, 2013

Space Cadets Dice Duel, a Party Game I Actually Like

It's the destiny of a picky gamer to struggle to get their friends to play games. I have no idea why people don't jump at the chance to play games with titles like Twilight Imperium or Blood Bowl Team Manager. Chaos in the Old World. Advanced Squad Leader. They all sound irresistible! But mysteriously the majority of the world's population does not agree. Instead, they want to play party games. Cranium, Pictionary, Sequence. The horror, the horror...

Happily there is now a party game that gamers can endorse. Space Cadets: Dice Duel is a terrific party game that can easily support ten players. In Dice Duel you are piloting a spaceship and attempting to shoot down your opponent's ship. This is a bit geeky to be sure but if people can swallow that small pill the rest goes down easily. Each ship has weapons, sensors, an engine, and defensive shields. Each of these is controlled by one of the players. To make a part of the ship work you have to roll special dice until you get a certain combination. As an example, imagine that to make the ship move you need to roll dice until you have a "one," a "two," and a "three" in front of you. You may get a one, two, and four and then keep on rerolling that last die until a three appears. Then you get to move the ship.

Powering the Tractors
Now take that image and multiply it for four or five. Each player is busily rolling their dice trying to get a certain combination and when they finally get it they shout out "ready to fire" or "shields up!" The final component is that one last player is rolling their own dice and they give permission for the others to roll. So until the "engineer" rolls a "four" the person in charge of shields can't roll. When the engineer rolls a five the player in charge of the engines can roll.

The whole process features lots of yelling, dice flying everywhere, shouts of "fire" and "no, no, I need more shields!" and so on. It's loud and fun and about as strategic as Crazy Eights. So no, not a space combat simulator at all. Just an excuse to shout, roll dice, and then shout some more. The rules are really dead simple and the whole game takes maybe thirty minutes. I highly recommend Space Cadets: Dice Duel if you have a lot of people who are up for flying a spaceship and shouting a lot. As an aside, the game does not do well with less than eight players, you really need a crowd.

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