The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?
Chupacabra: Survive the Night (Steve Jackson Games, 2012)
You've huddled up your livestock. The chickens are clucking and nervously pecking at the ground. Your goats are restless in their stable. Your bulls, proud and strong, snort in the chill midnight air. But something stirs in the deep, black darkness of the night. You see, among the trees that line your farmland, glowing red eyes. Faster than a flash of lightning you hear the screams of your animals, and blood pools on the farm. How did it happen. What did you lose? And will you roll well enough next turn to do the same to your opponents?
Chupacabra: Survive the Night is a dice-rolling game for two to four players based on the folkloric monster that reportedly plagues Mexico, the American Southwest, and much of South America. The goal of the game is to roll a series of dice in an attempt to steal dice from other players. The player with all the dice at the end wins the game.
Each player starts the game with six dice, and rolls them to create a pool of animals (Chicken, Goat, Bull) and evil Chupacabra eyes. A player can use any dice rolled on the "eyes" face to steal other players' "animal" sided dice. There's a sort of rock-paper-scissors mechanic to the dice rolling. One Chupacabra can steal two chickens or one goat. And two Chupacabra can steal a bull. With all this passing around of dice and re-rolling, the game swings from player to player.
You may start out with an extra three dice, but find yourself in trouble when the other players set their sights on you. If you roll all Chupacabras, you become "Chupacabra Loco" and can capture an extra amount of animals. This simple game rewards fast thinking and quick play. At the end, if you've got all the dice in the pool, you win!
Over the past few weeks we've been taking a look at long, intricate, detail-oriented games. This is not one of them. The only strategy is to be the fastest and luckiest. As such, it makes a great party game, the type you'll break out in between appetizers and dinner. If you've got a core group of friends who play games each week you won't get too much mileage out of Chupacabra, but if you're the type to host game nights for all types of people you'll love this game.
This game, like Zombie Dice (another luck-based game by Steve Jackson Games), appeals to the casual gamer in me. I don't always want to sit down to a four hour game, so I reach for small games like this to fill game night. And aside from all the praise I sing for this game only one fact really matters: the dice glow in the dark!