Take It Or Leave It Review

Take it or Leave it game in play

Hey, look - it's time to review more kids' games!  This time, it is Take it or Leave it.

Take it or Leave it really strikes me quite a bit as multiplayer Yahtzee (yes, I realize that Yahtzee is officially multiplayer, but playing with more people does nothing to change the game aside from making you wait longer for your turn).  In Take it or Leave it, you have a hand of combos that you are trying to complete as well as an action card.  Each round, the starting player takes a ton of dice and rolls them - there are blue, orange, and red (wild) dice that can be used in combos.  Next, players take turns taking a single die out of the middle and/or playing an action card.  Players may also pass if they no longer have dice that they think will help them.  Once all the dice are gone (or all players have passed), then each combo that is completed scores points, and each extra die that was taken (and every wild die) scores a negative point.  Play continues through several rounds, and whoever has the most points wins.

Now, if you have ever read any of my posts about Gamewright games, this first pro will not surprise you.  I like that the game is kid friendly, easy to learn, and has very high quality components.  This, to me, is Gamewright's trademark, so it should come as no surprise that Take it or Leave it has these characteristics as well.  Specifically, this game focuses on teaching kids probability and "visual discrimination."  I agree with both of these areas, and I really like the probability part - probability that a six will be rolled and probability that your opponent won't steal the die you need.  I would say that it also focuses on addition since you might have combos that are "at least 15 on orange dice," thus forcing you to add up your different values and see what other numbers you need to complete your combo.

Take it or Leave it cards
Actions and Combos
As a second pro, I like the fact that there is player interaction, and it comes in a couple of different forms.  You can either steal a die that your opponent needs, or you might even be able to re-roll several dice.  Either of these actions can quickly cause your opponents to have to abandon certain combos and see what other combos they can attempt while using the previously taken dice.  So, the person that wins will normally be the person that is able to readjust their strategies quickly as they play - or is able to thwart their opponents' strategies.

Finally, I like that you lose points for taking dice that you can't use, and even for using the wild dice.  I also like that your combos are secret.  This combination of rules works incredibly well to allow you to attempt to thwart your opponents, but makes it challenging to do so.  Since you don't know if all of their cards require certain numbers, or colors, you can attempt to guess and make (for example) the orange dice run out quickly, hoping that all of their combos depended on orange.  Or, you can take all of the high numbers, or all of the 5's.  Or, if you wanted to be really devious, you can play an action card to re-roll all of the blue dice available after the first couple of rounds (when they have already started taking dice) - thus changing the numbers on what they planned on taking.  But, any of these strategies for thwarting your opponent are balanced by (and contingent on) the fact that you lose points for taking unusable dice - so, you attempt to make your combos by taking the dice that they need.  But, if you focus too much on stopping them and take extras, you will lose points (but, if you succeed and they get stuck with extras, they lose points)!

more cards from Take it or Leave it
More Actions and Combos
The main con that I have for Take it or Leave it is that the actions don't seem especially helpful - especially since you only have one available at a time.  At the right time, an action card can be amazing and can save you (or earn you) several points.  However, as I think more about the actions, many of them can be used to try to mess up your opponents, but the ones that are useful for you will be used less often.  For example, one of the actions lets you add one or subtract one from a single orange die.  This can be helpful, but you really probably want to get the rest of the combo taken before you use that combo.  And, if all the orange dice are taken, or if the die that is close to the right number is taken, or if you were able to simply take a die with the right number, this action is useless.

Overall, I give Take it or Leave it an 8.0/10 as a kid's game.  The game isn't enthralling enough that I will come back to it over and over, but it is currently one of my preferred dice games - one that actually requires skill other than rolling dice well.

If you like dice games, you might also want to check out Martian Dice, Zombie Dice, and Catan: Dice Game.

I would like to thank Gamewright for providing me with a review copy of Take it or Leave it.

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