Square Shooters: Not Much of a Game, but a Nice Component.

Square Shooters

One of my business partners scored us a demo copy of this “game” to test and review during the Origins game fair.  They brought it back to our booth where we were working and that night we gave it a try. I guess it would help to first explain what it was that I was expecting.

Square Shooters is advertised as a dice game that uses a set of dice capable of creating any poker hand.  Apparently some very intelligent individual worked out an algorithm necessary to accomplish that. These snazzy dice come in a box with a nice dice cup, some cards, some chips, a score pad, and of course some instructions. Therefore what I suspected was a well thought out poker variant using these new dice. What I got was far from that.

The game consisted of flipping over a card, which said something like “A full house – 4 points, A full house using _____ cards – 8 points” (where _____ was a list of specific cards).  Roll the dice and see if you can get that in three rolls.  If you can, great! If you can’t pass the dice and let the next person try with a new card.  I was far less than impressed.

Now I’ll be the first one to admit that dice games are not exactly my favorite style of game in the world. However I can enjoy a game of “Mmmm… Brains!” or “Zombie Dice” while waiting for my appetizers to arrive, and I know others in my group actively enjoy dice games. So when I found that we were all bored and ready to move on so quickly, I found myself surprised and disappointed.

I must say the dice worked as intended. It seemed that you could always get the last “card” you needed, if you had a good roll, which is something that can’t be boasted by other poker dice. For this reason, this might be a really good set of dice to add to your dice bag for rainy day occasions, but as a complete game, it wasn’t worth the piece of paper the rules were written on.

A better look at the square shooter dice.

A better look at the square shooter dice.

I found out quite after the fact that while the company pushes a “Deluxe” set, which is what we were given, there is also a “Basic” set, and a third option that allows you to purchase just the dice. The Deluxe set comes with all the things I described above (cup, playing cards, game cards, chips, etc). The Basic set still comes with the game cards and chips, but ditches the cup and playing cards. The last option, the dice set, comes with just that: the dice. My suggestion to potential customers? Save yourself some money and disappointment, and just pick up the dice if you really feel so inclined.

This entry was posted by The_Null_Entry on Monday, July 18th, 2011 at 6:17 am and is filed under Board Game Reviews, Luck and Betting Games . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Comment

  1. I received an email from the creator in response to this blog. I feel that what was said might be of significance to my readers, and thus I am sharing this communication with you. It paints this game in a different light, and so I feel it has merit here:

    Dear [One Gamer’s Opinion Author],
    I’m the inventor of Square Shooters. I worked out the algorithm of the dice. The challenge then was to explore the possibilities of game play. I believe it’s only limited by the imagination of the players.

    After reading your review it became clear to me that you did not realize the feature game was really designed for children. As are some of the other games included in the rule book. Our intention in creating the “Deluxe” version was to show the versatility of the dice. To provide a product to appeal to a wide range of ages. Because Square Shooters is not just one game, but many.

    [Creator of Square Shooters]

    My reply to these statements:

    [Creator of Square Shooters],

    I think that you made a very nice game component, which I state in my review. The algorithm you created works very well, and is far superior to any other poker dice on the market in my opinion.

    Yes, it was not in any way clear that the game functionality was designed for children, either in the instructions, marketing campaign, or via the helpers enlisted for conventions. The manufacturers suggested age for this game is listed as 8+. This is the same designation given to Risk, Settlers of Catan, Abalone, and Fluxx just to name a few. Games specifically designed for children have more traditionally been given suggested ages between 2-6, which is the case with Life, Snakes and Ladders, Candy Land, and Sequence for Kids among many others.

    In addition to lower suggested ages, the art work for children’s games often lean on the side of the whimsical. As is the case with the children’s games I have mentioned above. This is not to say that the art work present on a game is a deciding factor in it’s age appropriateness, but it does give the purchaser (or in this case the reviewer) an immediate visual cue as to the intended audience.

    Lastly, the subject matter must be taken into account when deciding upon the intended audience for a game. Yu-Gi-Oh, a game with a suggested age of 8+, is commonly relegated to children of that age group based upon the subject matter (a card game based on a cartoon). Because of this link between a children’s program and the game, there is little doubt in the purchasers mind as to whom the game is intended for. However, in the case of Poker, I have found little to no link between it and children. In fact, given the nature of our society, this game seems to be confined almost exclusively to the realm of adults. Even in the realm of something as benign as Yahtzee, this seems to be true. The manufacturer suggested retail age for the original game of Yahtzee and nearly all of it’s spin offs is 8+. However, the one variant that differs is Yahtzee: Texas Hold’em, which has a huge spike in the manufacturer’s suggested retail age to a whopping 18+.

    I apologize that there was a miss communication in regards to the intended audience of your game. I always try to review games with the intended age group in mind. However, I hope I have been able to give some incite into why the intended audience was misconstrued as being much older then you have clarified. I don’t believe that I am alone in this, given the comments section for your game on BoardGameGeek.com.

    I wish you the best of luck with your game,
    -[One Gamer’s Opinion Author]
    Co-Owner of Game Paradise
    Author of “One Gamers Opinion”

    I hope that you all find this helpful in making up your own mind about the game. As well as give some potentially interesting incite into manufacturer suggested ages.

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