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Long Shot: The Dice Game

A reimagining of Long Shot, this roll-and-write game has players racing, betting, buying horses, and (of course) visiting the concession stand.

From Perplext and currently on Kickstarter, Long Shot: The Dice Game features close run races and intriguing choices with every roll of the die.

Gameplay

The board shows a race track. Eight horses, each numbered one through eight and a different color, are placed at the start line. The eight horse cards are then set out next to the board. Each player takes a player board and a dry erase marker. Everyone is then dealt a start card, which has each player mark off four different tokens on the concession grid on their player boards, as well as showing which two horses they each start with bets on and for how much. Each player also starts the game with twelve dollars.

On your turn, you roll two dice. One will correspond to one of the horses and one will give you a number one through three. You then move the horse you rolled that number of spaces on the track. Next you consult that horse’s card. Each horse card starts the game with at least one other horse marked on it, and during the game more horses can be marked off. After you move the horse that was rolled, you move all other horses marked on its card forward one space, as well. Finally, all players take turns taking one action, starting with the active player.

There are five actions you can take. You can spend one, two, or three dollars to make a bet of equal value on the horse that was rolled. Once a horse passes a certain point on the track, you may no longer bet on it. If you have enough money, you may buy the horse that was rolled and place its card in front of you. Each horse has a special ability that only applies to a player who owns it. You may mark off the jersey or helmet of that rolled horse. When you mark off a jersey, you get to mark off another horse from its card, while the helmet allows you to continue to place bets on that horse regardless of its position on the track. If you mark off both on the same horse, it is worth five points at the end of the game.

The final action you can select is the concession. You may mark off one of the spaces that match the rolled horse. When you complete a row or a column, then you mark off and perform one of the concession bonuses. These can include things such as earning more money, moving horses forward or back, placing bets without having to spend money, or buying a horse for free. Once a bonus is marked off, you cannot take that bonus again.

Horses cannot be moved back over the finish line once they have already completed the race. Also, a horse can only cross the finish line due to the roll of the dice and never through a concession bonus. You can also never place a bet on a horse that has already finished.

During the game, you may mark off a wild space on your board in order to treat the horse die as having rolled any horse when completing your action. You have three of these wild spaces and may skip your turn in order to clear one that you have already marked off.

Once three horses have crossed the finish line, the current round is completed, and the game ends.

Players earn points for a horse they owned coming in first, second, or third. You also earn points for bets, with your bets being multiplied by different values based on whether the horse came in first, second, or third. If your horse passed a certain point on the track, you simply earn points equal to the value of the bet. Finally, any money you have left over is turned into points, and the player with the highest score wins the game.

Long Shot: The Dice Game components

Review

Long Shot: The Dice Game does a good job of blending a betting and a racing game into a tight thirty minutes or less. Gameplay is suspenseful — with all players acting every turn, there’s little to no downtime, and everyone stays engaged. 

The game also nicely emulates the back and forth of a race, with first one horse taking the lead and then another. The fact that each game, different horses will be checked off each other’s cards also helps to bring extra variety between playthroughs, as does the fact that there are two cards for each horse, so you can swap out horse abilities between games.

Each action feels useful, and it’s interesting to try to plot out your best strategy while adapting to the dice rolls. From choosing where to bet, to which horses to buy and which concession stand abilities to use and when, you have a lot of good choices to decide between each turn. The fact that all bets are public knowledge, also adds an extra element to consider when making your choices and to the player interaction itself.

There are a number of elements to remember in the game, and while there is some iconography to help you recall it, player aid cards would be a good addition, and it will take a little while to teach all the rules to a new player.

The components all look nice with the player board information neatly presented. The horse tokens are particularly well designed, with their numbers marked clearly along the top of them and their colors also helpful to differentiate them.

Long Shot: The Dice Game takes up minimal space, and once you know how to play it’s quite easy to set up and get going. It does a great job of evoking the suspense of a race, while the multiple scoring elements ensure that more than just the winning horse determines the winner of the game. Check it out on Kickstarter.

Pros: Racing and betting are nicely combined, component quality, minimal downtime

Cons: Does take a little while to teach, no player aid cards

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.