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Overview: I'm a big fan of easy to learn, quick playing games with push-your-luck elements, and the large family tree of Yahtzee games/clones/variants certainly fits here. The thing is, I'm not a real big fan of Yahtzee itself, but appreciate some of those elements.
I enjoy the concept, and I enjoy the breezy nature of this style of game. And to talk about Easy Come, Easy Go, you've got to first talk about the grand daddy itself, Yahtzee. So here's a slight aside for perspective.
A Brief Look At Yahtzee... You Know, For Context: Yahtzee is a true classic, a dice game (nee Yacht) played with 5 standard six-sided dice. Your turn consists of rolling the dice (reserving or re-rolling results up to three times) in hopes of getting die results which match 1 of 13 different scoring categories (earning several 1s or 2s, getting 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind, straight, full house, etc). Players try to fill in a score for each category, but it won't always work out that way -- especially later in the game as more categories are already filled in and your target categories may be harder to achieve. When all players have scored (or had to enter a "zero" for missing) for all 13 categories, the game ends and the scores are totaled.
Yahtzee is simple and straightforward, and does have some very light push-your-luck decisions over the course of the game, but even at 10-15 minutes, it takes too long for what it provides. It's completely autonomous, repetitive and stops being interesting for me very quickly. It's one of the few games my wife will play, though, so that's something. As a basis of comparison, I give Yahtzee a true average 5/10 rating.
Then There's This Game Here: On the top end of my Enjoy-O-Meter for this type of dice-rolling push-your-luck Yahtzee-based game is Reiner Knizia's Easy Come, Easy Go, with a slick edition published by Out of the Box which you can snag for $12-15 US.
So How Different Can It Be? Easy Come, Easy Go is a more confrontational Yahtzee, forcing players to vie for the same limited pool of scoring options, rather than each player scoring for each category individually. And it lives up to its name, as fortunes change early and often over the course of the game.
There are nine "Prizes" -- the scoring combos -- which players earn by rolling the requirement printed on the card (Less Than 3, Exactly 13, Four of a Kind, etc). So the players roll four dice and try to earn a Prize by hitting the card requirements. The first player to earn and hold three cards at the beginning of his turn wins the game. Ah-ha, but winning a Prize doesn't prevent other players from trying to seize it... If I snagged the "Exactly 7" card on my turn and you roll 7, you can snatch it from me!
This wrinkle is great, especially when added to the "no going back" aspect of dice rolling. Once you set a die aside to count toward your hand, you can't later re-roll it if a subsequent die roll makes you think another Prize might be easier to go after. While there's obviously a ton of luck, there's some probability manipulation, too -- most of the time, you can set aside dice in such a way that you'll usually have a 50% chance (or at worst 33% chance) of hitting what you need to grab a score (though considerably lower at the end of the game should you need a specific combo to snag a card from another player with three Prizes already).
Production & Bits: The game is well packaged and provides a great value. It's packaged in the same size box as Tutankhamen, Cloud 9 and several other Out of the Box games. Easy Come, Easy Go features the OTB trademark John Kovalic artwork on the large, sturdy and easy-to-read scoring tiles.
The four dice are specific to the game -- there's a Zero spot opposite the 1 pip instead of 6s... This brings the overall number range down a bit, and I think makes it easier to quickly count the pips to see your score (especially for younger players). The dice could have been a bit larger and more solid, but they serve their purpose, and won't chip or wear.
The game also includes a cloth-wrapped dice cup, which every good dice rolling game needs. It's fairly small, barely larger than a shot glass, but it still offers a good shake when rolling your dice. My particular die cup has the seams exposed and stretched a bit at the lip, leading me to believe it may eventually split and unravel down the road -- so we'll have to keep our crazy die-rolling antics in check.
The production, while nice and easily respectable for the price point, could have been oh-so-slightly better (ie, sturdier dice and die cup).
The Bottom Line: 7.5/10 -- A very nice, light, breezy filler game of Yahtzee-esque push your luck. This is kinda' what Pickomino should have been. Plays quickly and offers enough push-or-pass to keep it interesting for a few rounds in a row. Very affordable, and a great value for its price. As an added plus, it's one of the few games the wife will play!! That's worth +.5 in the rating right there!!
- Last edited Mon Apr 17, 2006 8:35 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Apr 17, 2006 8:34 pm