Martian Dice – Tasty Minstrel Games – Review

"Martians and chickens hit the charm factor for me. Combine really nice dice and some push-your-luck junkies and you get a game to crow about."

Theme and What is it?

Chickens beware!  Martians are coming to get you.  Actually, in Martian Dice, YOU are the Martians coming to get humans, cows, and chickens.  Watch out!  That puny little human army is coming at you with their tanks.  They will be no match for your death rays!

Gameplay Mechanics

This game is a humorous little push-your-luck dice game.  There are 13 six-sided dice with chickens, cows, humans, death-rays, and tanks on them. 

The goal is to reach 25 points before your fellow Martians.  You start out rolling all the dice at one time and removing all the tanks.  Those dice represent the human Army coming to defend Earth.  Then, you must decide whether you want to take all the death-rays to counteract the tanks or abduct humans, chickens, or cows.

You win points when you capture the earthling species as long as you have defeated their Army.  This means to claim points you have to have at least as many more death-rays than tanks.  Oh, did I mention once you have set the dice to the side you can no longer roll them?  You are left to re-roll the things you didn’t pick up.

Each time you re-roll you must take the tanks.  You can only pick one other type of dice face per turn.  You can always choose more death rays on each roll but once you have taken one of the earthling species you may not select them on a future roll.

Your turn is over when you …ahem …chicken out.  Your turn may also end when you have no more dice to roll.  Push your luck taking those cows or play it safe by taking more death rays?

Game Build Quality

Wow, these dice are nice!  I’ve seen chintzy dice but these rock.  They feel good and look good.  Oh, and the box sure is cute too.  It can be used for rolling dice.  The top sectioned off part with the flying saucer can be where you put the abducted creatures.

Initial Impressions

I was so excited when I heard there were chickens and Martians in this game.  That is what initially drew me in.  The colors and theme make a great combo.

Cool looking dice can make me weak in the knees.  I’m such a sucker for dice.  I saw these and really wanted to add them to my collection.

I was wary about such a tiny game.  How could there be a game in 13 dice?  Really?  Yeah, I’m bad at thinking that a tiny game equals boring.  Even so, this game had me at ‘chicken.’

Artistic Direction

Holy cow!  There are chickens!  Humans have that dreadfully funny face going on too.  The dice are cute.  The art on the box is well done.  It is nice how the box works as a dice roller and allows you to ‘suck up’ the creatures into your flying saucer.  It adds to the whimsy.

Fun Factor

Martians and chickens hit the charm factor for me.  Combine really nice dice and some push-your-luck junkies and you get a game to crow about.

This is a great filler you can play till you hit the 25-point mark or stop whenever needed.  It’s fun to hoot and holler when someone pushes their luck too far and croak.  Sometimes there are these “WHOA!” moments when everything works out with the roll of dice.  Then the table goes nuts.

Age Range & Weight

The box says Martian Dice is for ages 14 and up.  The instructions inside say it is for ages 8 and up.  I taught my 6-year-old.  He loved rolling the dice.  I could see his little gears turning in his head though.  He didn’t want to lose and tried to think of ways to manipulate how the dice fell (we know we all have the same secret desire).  This is why I think it is best for 8 and up.  A typical 6-year-old doesn’t take losing well.  The nature of push-your-luck games is tough on the not so developed brain.  I can see a young kid having a cow after losing too many times.

Conclusions

I like this game.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to enjoy the push-your-luck mechanic because it hadn’t really interested me before.  However, the theme and the dice really put it all together for me.

Martian Dice is a great filler.  Everyone can carry on a conversation while playing.  It helps to warm up a room or break the ice with strangers.  Who knew how bonding alien abductions could be?  Grab a chicken and do-si-do!