Bitin' Off Hedz

Published by Cheapass Games, designed by James Ernest, Toivo Rovainen, and Jeff Vogel.

I got my copy of this cheapie for 3 at a games show. Cheapass games certainly are cheap. It is a silly race game, akin to Ludo, in which players control dinosaurs that race to throw themselves into a volcano. First one to go extinct wins.

You need something to represent the racing dinosaurs. I found a kiddies' pack of plastic dinosaurs in my local supermarket that did the trick, but you could just use counters. You also need something to represent rocks, and at least two six-sided dice, although I found that enough dice for each player to have his own made things a lot faster. A turn can be over so quickly that the act of passing the dice becomes an irritation.

The board is 21" by 33", which is pretty big, and is made up of sixteen sections that do tend to wander about a bit if not fixed down somehow. The sections are thin card printed on one side in black and white. The board depicts a winding path around an island and up to the volcano. A player in his turn rolls the dice and moves that number of spaces along the track. Some spaces grant an extra go, others slow a dinosaur down, and others earn them rocks.

So far, so simple. The fun comes from the various things you can do to make things difficult for other players. You can choose not to overtake a player, but to push him ahead of you instead, which can have unfortunate consequences, and if you land on the same space you can send them back to the start. You can also send them back to the start by knocking them off the steep path with a hurled rock, which causes them to roll back down to the start. Rocks can also be used to re-roll movement dice.

It is difficult to say what the ideal number of players is for this game. The rules say that it can be played with 2-8 players. With just two, it would be a dullish game, relying a lot on luck. With eight players, each player getting close to finishing would have seven enemies all trying to send him back to the start, and so it would be near impossible to finish. Even when I played with just three players, there was a point at which we were worrying that the game could go on forever. It didn't, however, although everyone was sent back to the start at least once or twice. About five players might be the ideal.

This is not a game to satisfy the avid strategist. It is a silly race game, that could be played by young and old, for a bit of a laugh. I doubt that a game enthusiast would want to play it many times, because pretty quickly you exhaust the possibilities for tactics.


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