Hey hey folks! I’m back again and this list is one I’m particularly excited about as we foxes are known for their wits, cunning, and luck! Or would that be rabbits? I can never remember, but one thing I do know, these picks for my top ten push your luck games are sure to deliver some surprises! So take a look below and, if you’re not sure what’s meant by push you luck, you can find out more on Part 4 of Brian’s recent series on game mechanics! In the meantime, let’s get on with the list!
10. Zombie Dice
Zombies are a hot property, even after decades of countless movies, graphic novels, video games, board games, TV shows, comics and literature centred around these loveable undead creatures. Somewhere along the way, people forgot that these creatures traditionally crave the sweet thinky goodness of braaiiiinss! Zombie Dice is a simple dice rolling push your luck game for 2 or more players. Dice rolls determine if you shoot the zombies, run away to roll another day or if they feast on your grey matter. Lots of fun, quick to play and so simple even a zombie could play.
9. Herbaceous Sprouts
If you prefer a different way of clearing your mind, Herbaceous Sprouts may be just the thing. In this 1-4 player game players compete to become the Head Gardener of a community garden. The players roll dice to collect herb and flower seeds and use their garden tools to plant them in the communal garden, a charming and surprisingly relaxing experience for a competitive game. Herbaceous showcases gorgeous, colourful artwork, great component quality and most importantly a satisfying play experience.
Feudal Japan was a period filled with war and strife, after all, it wasn’t called the feudal period because everyone was getting along. Age of War is a beautifully simple dice rolling push your luck game for 2-6 players. Players compete for control of strategic castles around the islands of Japan, this is done by rolling dice and attempting to complete sets of specific dice faces in lines in order to finally conquer the castle. Players can attempt to conquer castles held by other players in the same fashion, but collecting all the castles in a set secures those holdings for the player, preventing them from being taken. A great game in a tiny box!
A topical choice, given the current climate, Pandemic: The Cure is a variation of the original Pandemic, this time players are free to roll and re-roll dice as many times as they like in a effort to fight off deadly disease outbreaks and prevent the world from succumbing to the pandemic. The catch is each successive roll a player decides to take increases the chances that the next epidemic will occur. People pushing their luck and taking chances during a global pandemic? What are the odds?
Families often love to connect over the gaming table, and for casual dice chucking fun there are few contenders that can challenge the King of Tokyo. This comically kaiju themed push your luck dice roller can be learned in less time that a couple of rounds take to play and gameplay is both tense and snappy in the most playful sense of the words. Colourful characters, some instantly recognisable, others less so and a bunch of fun expansion characters to add to the game, there’s much here to keep both older and younger family members entertained. For a more robust overview of the very similar King of Tokyo: Dark Edition, check out Brian’s review here!
Clank! has been mentioned on a number of lists, both here and around the wider interwebs! It’s well known as a deck builder and a dungeon crawler, but wouldn’t ya know it, Clank! has another trick up its sleeve as a core element of gameplay is pushing your luck! Characters compete to delve as deeply into the dungeon as they dare in search of the most valuable artefact they can find and make it back out again before they fall to the various denizens or traps that lie beneath the earth. Do you risk going one level further to secure those extra 10 points or do you take the quick and easy 5 and get out safely, hoping your companions delve too greedily and too deep? It’s a tense and cutthroat game bundled in a slapstick and silly dungeon theme!
Those familiar with Fantasy Flight Games’ Arkham Horror Files will likely be familiar with several of the more well known Cthulhu themed horror games, such as the Arkham Horror Card Game, Eldritch Horror and Mansions of Madness. But one title that’s often overlooked is the very excellent Elder Sign. This dice rolling push your luck thriller packs a ton of theme and some serious gameplay into what appears to be a fairly lightweight box compared to other games in the series. Investigators explore the many mysteries and horrors of the infamous Arkham Museum, finding clues, battling monsters and trying to prevent unspeakable terrors from breaching the veil into our world. The push your luck mechanisms are balanced by several mitigating systems that allow players to feel they have a degree of control and strategy in the proceedings. A great game that doesn’t seem to get its due these days, and its definitely worth investigating further...
Mystic Vale’s card crafting system often overshadows its push your luck mechanism. Players are trying to prevent the spread of decay in the Vale by drawing cards attempting to gain points and purchase vale cards, but is a player reveals three or more decay icons during their turn, they will spoil, all their revealed cards are discarded, losing any benefits they would have provided and the player’s turn ends. Damn nature, you scary! But all is not lost, there are ways to cancel or mitigate decay, and there’s nothing more satisfying than getting to the stage where you can play all 20 cards to your field without spoiling! Mystic Vale begins slowly but soon builds to a crescendo as players finally realise their true power!
Cubitos is one of those games that looks too silly to be taken seriously, from it's weird Sponge Bobby cover to, well, do I need a second example? Just look at that thing! But beneath its sideways humour and wacky word play, there’s an extremely well designed and addictive push your luck racing game. Players are rolling dice to try to gain distance in the race or coins they can use to purchase new dice. Each die has different odds and abilities to give players the edge as they roll to get ahead. The game comes with four different race tracks and a multitude of cards that determine the abilities of the dice for each game, resulting in a massive number of combinations and vast re-playability!
I’ll admit, there are way less ducks in this game than I was expecting! In fact in The Quacks of Quedlinburg players aren’t even ducks at all, they play charlatans AKA “quacks” who are attempting to concoct various brews by purchasing ingredients, then drawing those ingredients from their bags and adding them to their cauldrons. A little of this, a little of that… no wait, too much of that!! BOOM! If players don’t get the right balance in their brews, they risk losing the lot! This game provides humour, tension and amazing gameplay wrapped in a cloak of silliness and greed as each player strives to be the one with the most points at the end of the game. Just one more pumpkin, come on!!
Thanks for joining me here in the den again this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s list and if you have any picks of your own, I’d love to know about them in the comments below, or over on the Game Kings Gamers page! Until next week, take care and have as much fun as you can stand!