A simple dice rolling game that I scored a copy of at GenCon 2011 is Martian Dice. And so it seems like a good candidate for my first post-GenCon review.
You, Mr. Martian Man, are tasked with a mission. You are in charge of kidnapping members of the three strongest races on Earth: Humans, Chickens, and Cows (in no particular order). Of course, there may be some opposition in the form of tanks, but our giant green death rays will crush them - after all, we outnumber them two to one! What this actually means in gameplay terms is that you have 13 dice. Each die has one chicken, one cow, one human, one tank, and two death rays on it. You roll all of your dice, set aside all of the tanks, and then you choose one of the other types (humans, chickens, cows, and death rays) to set aside. You can always set aside death rays, but if you have previously set aside humans, chickens or cows, then you can't set them aside again until your next turn. After setting aside your chosen type of dice, you may choose to score, or you may continue rolling - unless you do not have any dice which you can set aside, at which time you must go to scoring. During scoring, if you have at least as many death rays as tanks, then you successfully score points - one per human, chicken, and cow set aside, and three bonus points if you have at least one die of each type. Continue like this until you have reached the designated number of points (suggested to be 25).
The first thing that I like about Martian Dice is the tank versus death ray interaction. This is really the crux of the strategy of the game. (Did I say "strategy" when talking about a Press Your Luck dice rolling game? Indeed, I did; thank you Martian Dice!) Because of the tanks, it is important to have several death rays each turn. However, if you set aside too many death rays early in your turn, then you won't have very many dice for actually scoring. And so, an initial roll of seven death rays can quickly guarantee that you might score points, but an initial roll with seven humans allows you the opportunity to score significantly more points (and setting them aside reduces the odds of rolling a large number of tanks; but really, one tank too many can kill you just as easily as five). I like the fact that there are decisions to be made while playing the game, instead of simply "should I keep rolling" like in Zombie Dice.
Now, with that pro stated, the tanks can also be a con. As with all Press Your Luck games, there is always the chance that you immediately lose. If you roll seven tanks to start your turn, then there's no luck to press - apparently all of your luck is bad luck. To a lesser extent, if you roll four tanks on your first turn, you still have the opportunity to score points, but you have to commit a significant amount of your turn trying to collect death rays; to the detriment of collecting any dice that actually score points.
With those two points made, I suppose it's time for me to stop writing - after all, it's never a good thing to write a review that is longer than the instructions to the game.
Overall, I give Martian Dice a 7.0/10. I prefer it over the Catan Dice Game or Zombie Dice. If you enjoy Press Your Luck dice games, then this would be a good fit. Plus, with the fun, cartoony art, it could make a good, cheap present that you could give to a friend that is looking for something to fidget with while watching TV (which is what I use dice games for).
If you feel like this was too short and want to read more - check out the Board Game Family's Martian Dice Review. Or, you could read my reviews of Jab: Real Time Boxing, Liar's Dice, and Code 777.
I would like to thank Tasty Minstrel Games for providing me with a review copy of Martian Dice.