Scream or Die Preview: Where Monsters, Dice, and Screams Collide

Scream or Die

Monsters, dice, and screams: the three ingredients for a fun push-your-luck dice game with a unique twist of strategy — now on Kickstarter.

Gameplay

Each player chooses one of four monster characters, takes a certain number of scream tokens, and then decides who will be the first roller.

There are three phases to each round. During the first phase, the roller randomly draws five dice from the dice bag to create the dice pool. Dice can come in five colors, white (which only rolls screams) or one of the colors that matches the characters. After the dice are drawn, each player can decide if he would like to spend scream tokens to add more dice to the pool. You may spend as many scream tokens as you have, but once the dice are drawn, you cannot choose to pay for more. Some dice are better for your character than others with a higher likelihood of scoring you points. Each character comes with a mat that shows which dice are more helpful to your character.

After each player, including the roller, has made their decision, the dice are rolled. Once all the dice are rolled, each player can choose to spend one scream token for each die they would like to reroll. You may only choose to do this once, but may reroll dice that another player has already paid to have rerolled.

Once the rerolling phase is complete, points are scored. If one of the rolled dice shows your character, you earn a point. Some dice can also award you two points with a single roll. Any dice which show a scream token earns that token for the roller.

All the dice are then put back into the bag, the next player becomes the roller and another round begins. The first player to thirteen points wins the game.

Scream or Die components

Review

Scream or Die adds something new to push-your-luck dice games. Your success is still determined by the roll of the dice, but there is a layer of strategy introduced as you choose how best to spend your scream tokens. The character mats give you all the information you need as to which dice will help and which will be of no use at all, which helps you choose when to add dice and when to hold back.

There is a lot of player interaction as you try to judge when to save your tokens and hope other players add dice to the pool or when to reroll a result and hope to take points away from another character. There’s essentially no downtime as players are all kept active and engaged throughout the game, and no one is ever out of the running no matter how far behind you fall. In our game Vlad the Vampire, after spending the first few rounds at two points, swooped in and stole the victory from Harry the Werewolf who had been one point from victory for the past two rounds.

The artwork in the game is adorable, though it’s not always clear how the character ties in with the color of their dice and the matching meeple that tracks your score. The rulebook also raised one or two minor questions for us, but that’s something that could easily be fixed.

If you like dice games and pressing your luck, check out Scream or Die’s Kickstarter campaign, as the game is a fantastic addition to the genre. It feels different and fresh and is just plain fun.

Pros: No downtime, lots of player interaction, nice blend of strategy and press-your-luck

Cons: Rulebook could clarify a point or two, the character’s dice color doesn’t really tie in with their artwork

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate