Since 2015 CMYK games has has a steady stream of engaging social games with a unique feel to them, And Spots continues that trend while dipping into new territory for the designers in the form of push your luck dice rolling. The game is simple enough to understand. As the rules explain: Dogs have spots, dice have spots. Fill up 6 dog cards with the correct dice faces, and you win. However it’s how you are going to roll those dice that makes Spots interesting, and for me, quite addictive.
Roll Over Boy!
In Spots you aren’t just rolling dice all willy nilly until someone gets what they need, instead you have to choose one of six trick cards which will instruct you to roll a certain number of dice, or in a specific fashion. For instance you may choose the Run trick, which lets you roll three dice, then choose to roll another die. You can repeat this second step as many times as you want. However you need to be careful, as any dice you can’t place on a dog card, you have to bury in your yard. Bury too many dice(a total of more than 7 on the faces to be exact) and you will go bust. If you bust you have to discard all of the dice in your yard, and all of the dice on your dog cards that you have not yet completed and scored. It’s within the choices on these trick cards that Spots really shines. When a trick card is used, it’s flipped over meaning the next person to go can’t use it(until only two remain face up, then they all get flipped back again). You may get forced to push your luck and have to roll way more dice than you wanted to, but it all might work out fine. Or it might go horribly wrong, but that’s all part of the fun. I’ve found Spots the most fun to play with four people, as you all wrestle with the risk reward nature or the trick cards, and try and goad each other into pushing your luck again and again, in the hopes of watching it all blow up in your competitors faces.
New Dog, With New Tricks
There’s a lot of replayability here, with a healthy amount of trick cards that can be mixed and matched across games. The tricks range from conservative single dice rolls for when you’ve buried too many dice in your yard already, to taking all the dice in your yard and rolling them again, to huge eight dice rolls for when you want to throw caution to the wind and go big. Having these tricks be unavailable for a while after another player has used them also adds some tactical decisions to the game, for when you have to evaluate your plans and approach from a different angle. The game also includes a reroll mechanic which can come in handy for those times when the dice just don’t fall your way. Really the only negative things i have to say about Spots gameplay wise, is that sometimes if someone has stored up a lot of these rerolls and only need one are two dice to win, the game can end with all of you just watching one person roll over and over again until they get what they need. But this doesn’t happen every round, and sometimes they run out of rerolls and go bust anyways, and that’s very funny to watch. Also while there is a ton of variety in the trick cards, i wouldnt have minded a few more dogs to place dice on, as after a few games i found myself drawing the same ones over and over again. The artwork is so great on the doggies, it would have been nice to have some more to look at.
Best In Show
Spots is one of those nice little games which is super easy to teach, has a nice fast pace to it in which it’s fun to watch your opponents take their turns, and leaves you just wanting to play more of it and keep rolling all those dice. It nails the thrill and despair of push your luck games perfectly, and also gives you the opportunity to get straight back in the game after you have bust with its big rolling trick cards. It’s also packed into a nice little box making it an easy one to carry around, which is helpful as it’s a perfect little pub/cafe game. I feel like its probably a good game to play with kids as well, as there’s nothing in here that’s too complicated to follow. The artwork is also great, the dogs are cute and quirky, and the cards aren’t too busy and don’t distract from the game. The different sized spots on the dogs, and also the dice faces are a nice touch too.
This isn’t the longest review in the world, because Spots is a very simple game, and I feel I’ve covered just about everything there is to say about it. But overall I really like Spots. It’s quick to learn, quick to teach, and suitable for just about anyone who enjoys rolling dice and taking some gambles. Its huge variety in trick cards are what really tie it together nicely. There are so many different options that just about every situation you could be in has a trick that would suit it well, but none of them get too convoluted or slow the game down at any point. Having these tricks not be available sometimes also pushes you into some sticky situations sometimes, which if the dice gods are kind to you, can end up working out amazingly well, and that’s always satisfying in these kinds of games. If you like rolling dice and having lady luck decide your fate, and you’re also quite fond of cute little doggies, then Spots is definitely worth checking out