Overview: Place your dice on the grid to form series or groupings of like dice, follow the instructions on the cards and be the first to get rid of all of your dice to win!
Ages: The box says eight and up, but my guess is that players as young as six could enjoy this game.
Playing Time: It’s like delivery pizza – 30 minutes or less.
Rating: Kerfuffle! is pretty fun and a good, quick game that can serve as a palate cleanser between heavier games or as a fun after dinner activity. Winning depends heavily on luck and your willingness to (possibly) embarrass yourself.
Who Will Like It: Kids, casual gamers, people with a dice fetish.
Components: There is a uniquely shaped board with a grid and raised ridges for placing the dice, 100 regular six-sided dice in four different colors, a large, translucent d6 and a number of cards.
Gameplay: Kerfuffle!, from Dicecapades!, is a fun take on dice games. In a way, it’s an intersection between Yahtzee and Scrabble, with one of my favorite party games, Curses, thrown in. Players begin by sorting the dice into colors and taking 25 dice of a color they choose. After deciding who goes first, the initial player draws a card from the pile. Cards give a variety of instructions, from game-related “only use even-numbered rolled dice on this turn” to the just plain silly “speak with a German accent until your turn is over.”
The active player then rolls the big, translucent d6, which dictates how many dice are rolled from the player’s dice pile. For example, if the player rolls a 4 with the big die, she picks 4 dice from her dice pile and rolls them. She now tries to add them to the board. As first player, she can choose from one of five “Kerfuffle” starting squares on the grid and she must place dice according to the rules – anything from a pair to six-of-a-kind or a straight of three dice or more. Any dice that can’t be played must be returned to her dice pile.
Play continues to the next player who can either add to the existing dice or begin a new series on another “Kerfuffle” space. Dice showing the same face can be added to the string continuously or, in a straight, up to six dice in a row. Like Scrabble, if a player elects to pack a die in among columns or rows, it must follow the rules. That is, the string of straight dice or x-of-a-kind must be continuously between rows and columns. Players can play off other colored dice. Play continues with players playing cards and dice until one player has played all of his dice.
Conclusion: This is a pretty light game and winning depends heavily on luck. There is some light strategy, especially as the game progresses when it becomes less apparent where to place your dice. Kids may need a little help at this point because, as the board fills with nearly 100 dice, legal moves are more difficult to find, especially for a younger eye. My only real complaint is that I wish the instructions on the cards were a little less repetitive. My kids really enjoyed drawing cards that required them to be goofy, but those were less common than drawing “use only odd-rolled dice this round” (and similar cards), which came up more often.
Still, it was a pretty fun game and we’ve played it a few times in the last couple of weeks and it’s enjoyable each time we play. Kids really seem to like it, which is the most important thing with a game like this.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of this game.