Desperados of Dice Town. Matagot, 2014. Designed by Bruno Cathala & Ludovic Maublanc, art by Pierô. Dice rolling western theme game. 20 circular “Desperado” cards, 28 Wild West cards, cardboard poker chips for money, 4 gang cards, and 4 special dice. 2-4 players. About 30 minutes. Ages 8+.
Each player’s “gang” consists of 5 circular Desperado cards that begin “in jail”, each with a different set number of advances to break out. By rolling the dice in a Yahtzee fashion, results allow you to rotate a specific desperado to help free him or her from jail. Once free Desperados can be used to force other players to discard some of their poker chips. When a player loses his last chip, he is eliminated from the game. When a player has broken his last Desperado out of jail, if he is the richest player, he wins, if not the game continues until he becomes the richest or until the richest player has all his gang escape.
The game plays quickly with lots of dice rolling. The main decision points come when deciding what to do after your initial roll and whether to try to free more of your gang or use someone already freed to rob your opponents. The Wild West cards add a lot of special actions that can significantly affect the gameplay. It can be a quick, fun light game, especially with the full 4 players. The western art is nice.
But it is very luck dependent (it is dice rolling and card drawing). And most decisions are driven by the rolls or circumstance. There’s not a lot of depth to the game play. The western theme is more a veneer than needed for the game mechanics.
Players looking for a deeper game should take a look at Dice Town by the same designers and set in the same western theme. While Desperadoes of Dice Town might make a diverting light game for a short time, it is unlikely to see my gaming table often. It is simply too luck driven with too little depth to maintain much interest.
This review was written based on a privately purchased copy. No previous relationship with the game publisher nor compensation was involved.
c2014 by Richard A. Edwards