Hidden Gems - Kero by Prospero Hall

Hey everyone! This week’s hidden gem is a 2-player post-apocalyptic push your luck game called Kero, (which I noticed was conspicuously absent from Baxter’s Top 10 Push Your Luck Games, what’s the deal there Bax?).  If dice rolling and fun innovative mechanisms interest you, then read on, if not, please read on anyway, I went to the trouble to write this after all…

In Kero, players are driving their post-apocalyptic tanker trucks around the desolate wastelands of 2471 in search of resources and locations to help them survive.  The trouble is kerosine, or KERO as it’s referred to in the game, is a scarce commodity.  The game represents this with two nifty game components in the form of tanker truck hourglass timers.  Each player has their own truck, the back of which is a sand timer that is tipped on its end, triggering the beginning of that player’s turn.  The player then rolls the dice as much as they like until they either get the results they want, the dice show flame icons, indicating dice that cannot be rolled again, or their truck runs out of kero. Once a player has finished rolling, providing their truck still has kero, they immediately place the truck back on it’s wheels and then score their rice results.

Players use the results to purchase cards from the market gaining those benefits or resources.  Depending on the results players may also elect to assign characters to locations on the board which are then scored a total of three times over the course of the game.  The players with the most characters assigned to a location control it and get to keep it for end game scoring.

Refuelling your truck happens by tipping your truck up on its front end, allowing the timer to gradually refill while your opponent frantically rolls and re-rolls all the white dice until they all display the flame icon at which time you must immediately stop refuelling. On the last dice, after five rolls the result is automatically considered to be a flame, so there’s no concern about rolling for an extended time waiting for that one result to finally show itself.

Kero is a great thematic game and the real time dice rolling mechanisms provide a sense of tension and excitement as you desperately try to get the results you want as your fuel continually depletes in front of you. The art work by Piero gives off cartoony Borderlands vibes and creates a sense of immersion without taking the post-apocalyptic setting too seriously. There is a lot of luck involved, but not so much that it feels like the players have no say in the outcome. The play time of 30 to 40 minutes means the game doesn’t overstay its welcome, indeed it may leave you wanting more.  So if you're curious to experience life post-COVID then fire up that war-rig and get marauding!


 

Thanks for joining me again this week.  Look out for more Hidden Gems in future blogs and if you have any suggestions for games you think deserve their time in the spot light, let me know in the comments below or share your thoughts on our Game Kings Gamers page!  Until next time, remember, sand is not a substitute for actual fuel… trust me, I know!

Hidden gems