Chupacabra is the only game I actually bought during Gen Con 2012. I was wandering through the halls, on my way from the Rio Grande room towards the main expo hall, when my attention was caught by a man carrying a serving tray suspended by a strap around his neck. He beckoned me over, along with a few others and handed us each six dice. The dice were all the same and had pictures of animals and glowing red eyes embossed on them.
The man instructed us to each roll our dice and then match up like animals. I rolled and had a group of three eyes, a bull, and two goats. My opponents made similar groupings, but no one had nearly as many eyes as I did. He told me that made me lucky, as my chupacabras got to eat first. Eating works like this:
1 Chupacabra………………..can eat…………………. 2 Chickens
1 Chupacabra………………..can eat………………………….1 Goat
2 Chupacabras ………………..can eat………………………….. 1 Bull
I began evaluating the clusters that my opponents had, that’s when our GM told us of another very important rule: there is safety in numbers. For instance, I only had three chupacabras, so if my opponent had a group of two bulls, I couldn’t decide to eat one bull and leave the other. I had to be able to eat the whole group, or none at all. Well, that changed things a bit! I ended up eating a group of chickens, and some goats, because that combination ate the most dice. The dice that I ate then became part of my grouping of dice. We went around the table, until all the chupacabras had fed, and then we moved on to the next “night”. Each person picked up all their dice (the dice they had left, plus any dice they just ate) and re-rolled. The game continues like this until one person has all the dice.
The game stayed on my mind, and eventually I went to the dealer hall and bought myself a copy. The game was fun. There was plenty of moaning as people ate your animals, and a lot of triumph when you rolled a lot of chupacabras. I mulled over the idea of writing up an article about the statistics behind the game, like I had done for Zombie Dice. I started pondering how best to go about that, and that’s when the realization dawned on me… this is just a variation on a “put and take” game.
|Designer||David Blanchard, Brian Frodema, John Jacobsen|
|Artist||Alex Fernandez (I)|
|Publisher||Black Monk, Edge Entertainment, Haywire Group, Steve Jackson Games|
|# of Players||2 - 4|
|Mfg Suggested Ages||8 and up|
|Mechanic||Dice Rolling, Press Your Luck|
|Alternate Names||Chupacabra, Chupacabra: Przetrwał noc|
There are a lot of put and take games on the market. The most famous of which is probably the dreidel game, which is a staple of Jewish tradition. But if you don’t know much about Jewish culture (or have never heard the dreidel song) then you might not know what I am talking about. However, you might be familiar with L-C-R. L-C-R is a game that took the nation by storm about six years ago. When I worked at Games by James in 2006, it was our most popular game. We sold hundreds of copies each month (although now you can simply pick up a copy at your local Wally-world). The game consisted of nothing more than three dice (with L, C, and R on them) and some chips. It’s a game people commonly play for money at parties. The goal there is also to be the last man standing, and if you are, you get the pot of money. Pretty simple and nothing more than a game of luck.
Chupacabra is also nothing more than a game of luck. The only decision you make in the game is which groups of animals to eat, and the logical strategy for that is to always eat the groupings that are going to yield the most dice. I suppose that one could make arguments for eating lesser groups of dice, if it meant taking away dice from someone with a large pool, rather than taking away more dice from someone who has very few, but the argument is thin at best. Either way you go, it really is just a matter of lady luck smiling upon you.
But even now, given that this is nothing more than a game of luck, it’s a FUN game of luck. Something about it appeals to a baser instinct. Couple that with very neat looking dice (that glow in the dark, I might add), and you are looking at a game you can’t help but want to purchase for filler. Well, at least until you see the price tag. This game sells for $20.99 online. I paid an even $20 for it at the convention. Once you realize you are paying that much for a simple “put and take” filler game, that price tag becomes harder to swallow. However, in their defense, this game comes with 20 custom dice that are embossed with the images rather than simply being stickers or paint. The game components are quality. So the question you must ask yourself is, “How much do I like put and take games?”