One of the greatest times of year for GamerFront is this little event in Indianapolis, Indiana called Gen Con. After all, it’s 4 days chock full of games and gaming, with tons of big companies coming out to show off their wares, and in some cases give folks the opportunity to pick some stuff up well before their street date. At the same time, Gen Con is also great for the little companies out there to get a chance to show their stuff off to tens of thousands of folks. One such company is Heartland Consumer Products, the makers of a simple game called Square Shooters.
The game comes with 100 plastic tiny poker chips, the instructions, a storage pouch, and 42 game cards, but really the most important part of the game is the 9 dice that come with it. The center of the game is the 9 dice which has 54 playing card faces on it, which are the 52 regular card faces in a deck of cards plus 2 jokers which can act as wild cards. Designed “by a grandmother from Illinois” Carmelyn Calvert, the faces on the dice are specifically arranged to enable every single kind of a natural 4-of-a-kind, straight flush, and royal flush.
The game that comes with your standard box of Square Shooters is pretty easy. You pick up a card from the deck, and you get 3 rolls to get either the type of hand described (such as a straight), or to get the specific hand that the card has listed out. If you get the hand that the card has listed out you get double the amount of chips. The game lasts for 8 turns, and whoever has the most chips is the winner. You can also play Shootout cards that will let you double your chips, or win chips when other players win them as well. It’s easy to pick up, especially if you happen to know anything about poker hands in the first place.
The real strength of Square Shooters, however, isn’t the included rules of the game, but the fact that the system has been designed to let people make up their own games using the dice. In fact, the makers of Square Shooters would love for people to make their own games using the dice, and are sponsoring a contest this October for it. From October 1st to October 25th if you design a game and post it in their forums you’ll have a chance of winning some serious cash! The winner of each category will win $250, and the grand prize will win $2000 and even an opportunity to get their game published! That’s not a bad little incentive, I have to say.
So what do I think of Square Shooters? I like it, truth be told. It’s simple, and at the same time there’s enough there to keep you going for awhile, especially when you look at games other people have made, and it’s definitely flexible enough that you can come up with ideas yourself. It’s very family-friendly as well, so younger folks can pick up the basics quite easily, and yet at the same time it’s not Candyland so you can always make it a bit more adult if you feel like it. For 13 bucks for the base set, it’s a pretty good deal, and if you’re looking for something that’s a bit different and yet familiar at the same time, I think you’d enjoy picking up a set of Square Shooters for you and your family. If you’d like to know more about this game, or where you can get a copy, check out www.squareshooters.com!