What does it say about our culture that a game about guns, featuring toy foam guns, has to ensure that there are orange tips at the front of the guns? There’s not a whole lot to say except that the orange tips fulfill a two-fold role. Firstly, it sort of keeps children from getting shot, and secondly, it makes sure banks don’t get robbed by foam-toting thieves.
CASH N’ GUNS! What is this game about? Well, it’s about a group of thieves that have robbed say, a museum and a few banks, and now they are about to divvy up the spoils. Of course, the Wire be damned, these thieves don’t really have much of a code. They all point their guns at each other and, depending upon whether the guns were loaded, shoot their friends and take the loot for themselves. It’s a treacherous game that on its face should be a lot of fun. It’s a bluffing game and a social game and those kinds of games are usually right up my alley. While I’m a fan of the game, I think it’s more of a snack instead of a meal.
Let’s talk about the rules quickly. In the first round, you choose one card from your hand, either a bang card or a blank card, in secret. You then count to 3, and point your gun at one of the other players. Then you count to 3 again and you either put your gun down or stay in. If you stayed in, and a player pointing a gun at you didn’t reveal a bang card, then you get to split the faceup loot cards. Sometimes you’re the only one in a round, and sometimes everyone gets to split up the loot. If you get hit by three bang cards, you’re out – you can get hit multiple times per round if more than one person has a gun pointed at you and loaded their gun up with a bang card. One of the loot cards is the godfather card: the player who is the godfather gets to make one player move their gun from one player to another player. This usually involves making someone pointing a gun at you move their gun over to another player (maybe also holding a gun at you). Mexican standoffs ensue.
Part of the problem with Cash n’ Guns is that the actual game can be very punishing if you’re the kind of player that other people want to point a gun at on a regular basis. I’ve played games of this where I got one shot at loot the whole game. I’m not sore (maybe a bit hole-y) but it is a bit frustrating watching the rich get richer. It’s enough to turn me towards a life of crime.
I feel like somewhere, there’s a group of people playing the platonic game of Cash n’ Guns where each round takes a long time because everyone is talking and talking, and people are constantly changing targets and the godfather is continually being passed around. The game is close and tense and is a lot of fun. I haven’t really been involved in one of those games yet. Usually someone wins by staying under the radar and slowly amassing a large fortune. The godfather should be a huge bullseye, but I’m always surprised by how often the godfather gets to continue their reign of terror. There’s not a whole lot to the game, but there’s a sense that you could be caught with nothing at the end of the game, so there’s a mad scramble for the highest value loot, and the godfather card often gets lost in the shuffle.
So, is Cash n’ Guns worth your money and time? Well, it’s definitely worth your money. Cash n’ Guns costs about $25 to $30 depending on where you pick it up from. Your friends that are only casually into board games will want to play it way more than anything else on your shelf on first glance, so you’ll definitely get a lot of mileage out of it. It’s very easy to teach, can be played in about 20 minutes, and can play 8 people, which is an absurd amount of people to get playing a board game. There really isn’t anything else like it that I’ve played, but it’s a bit thin on the replayability side. You’ll get several hours out of it and may not be too excited about the prospect of another game OR maybe it’ll be your favourite game. I recommend that you pick it up. It’s light on your wallet and is a good casual game for your collection.