Some years back Gamewright created their “Twelve Minutes Or Less” line of games with the premise of creating quick family games that not surprisingly you could play in less than twelve minutes. I have looked at a couple of these games in the past and today brings another game from the series, Go Nuts! The basic premise of Go Nuts! is a simple press your luck dice game where you try to roll as many nuts as possible. While you might not go nuts over Go Nuts!, it is a solid yet simplistic dice rolling game.
How to Play Go Nuts!
Every player takes a dog die. The player who was the last player to eat a nut gets to be the first player and takes the five squirrel dice.
Playing the Game
A player begins their turn by rolling all five squirrel dice. Each die has three different symbols. Nuts are worth one point. Squirrels are worth nothing. Car dice are worth nothing and cannot be re-rolled during the player’s turn (with one exception). Players count up the number of nuts they rolled to determine their current score for the round.
The player then has to choose whether they want to keep rolling their dice.
- If the player decides to stop rolling the dice, they will bank the points they have scored during the round.
- If a player chooses to re-roll their dice, they will re-roll all nut and squirrel symbols. The player will need to keep track of the points they have scored from previous rolls.
If all of the rolled/re-rolled dice end up on the squirrel side of the dice, a Go Nuts! round begins. For example if the player rolls three dice and all end up as squirrels a Go Nuts! round begins. The player looses all of the points that they have acquired so far in the round.
In the Go Nuts! round the player will roll all of the dice that started the Go Nuts! round (three dice for the example above). The current player yells “Go Nuts” and the round begins. The current player will keep rolling the dice and count up the number of nuts that they roll. The other players will roll their dog dice. When these players roll a dog symbol they bark and stop rolling. When all of the players have rolled a dog symbol, the Go Nuts! round ends immediately. The current player scores points equal to the number of nuts that they rolled.
If a player only rolls cars on the dice they roll, the player’s turn ends immediately. The player will score no points for the round.
If the player has only one die left to roll and rolls a nut, the player can start rolling all five dice again.
Winning the Game
The game ends when one player reaches 50 points (or the agreed upon number of points). That player wins the game.
My Thoughts on Go Nuts!
At it’s most basic level, Go Nuts! is pretty much your typical press your luck dice game. You begin your turn rolling dice trying to score points. You can keep rolling dice to score more points but you need to be careful or you might end up scoring zero points if you press your luck too far since every car you roll goes out of play making it easier for you to lose all of your points.
Since you are basically just rolling dice, counting nuts, and deciding whether you would like to stop or keep pressing your luck, it should not surprise anyone that the game is quite easy to play. It takes minutes to learn and usually less than ten minutes to play. The game has a recommended age of eight but I think children younger than eight shouldn’t have too many problems with the game. With the game’s simplicity and length, Go Nuts! would work really well as a filler game.
I think the most interesting mechanic in Go Nuts! is the mechanic that bears the same name as the game itself. For the most part Go Nuts! is a press your luck dice rolling game. The Go Nuts! mechanic actually adds an interesting speed element to the game though. While one player is rolling squirrel dice as fast as possible to score points, the other players are trying to roll a dog symbol in order to stop the player. The mechanic might be really simple but it is mindless fun.
While they are pretty fun, the Go Nuts! rounds are very important in the final outcome of the game. You will occasionally score less points from a Go Nuts! round than you would have from a normal round but that doesn’t happen often. Unless all of the players roll a dog quickly you will likely score considerably more points in a Go Nuts! round. While all of the players will get quite a few Go Nuts! rounds, the player who does best in them will likely win the game. There really is no strategy to the mechanic since you need to just try to roll the dice as quickly as possible. Your success in a Go Nuts! round depends quite a bit on the number of dice you get to use for the round. If you get to use three or more dice for the round you can score a lot of points in just one round.
While I like the Go Nuts! rounds, they occur way too often in my opinion. It seems like every other turn ends with a Go Nuts! round. This is due to half of the symbols on every dice being a squirrel symbol. When you get down to one or two dice it is very likely that you will roll squirrel symbols and activate the round. While the Go Nuts! rounds are probably the best part of the game, they don’t really feel special when they pop up all of the time. I think Go Nuts! would have benefited if they didn’t come up so often since the rounds would then feel more special rather than just a regular occurrence.
The other somewhat unique mechanic in the game is the idea of rolling your last die hoping to roll a nut. At this point in the game you are going to be taking a big risk rolling the dice since you could easily end up losing all of your points. You have a one in six chance of rolling a car and losing all of the points you have earned. There is a 50% chance you will roll a squirrel which will lose all of your points and start a Go Nuts! round where you can only roll one die. Then there is a 33.3% chance that you roll an nut. While you are taking a pretty big risk trying for a nut if you are able to do it you get a big benefit being able to once again roll all five dice. Being able to roll all five of the dice a second time will usually lead to scoring quite a few points in a round. I think this is a pretty good implementation of a risk/reward mechanic since you could either lose most of your points or earn quite a few more based on the roll of the die.
As far as the game’s contents they are basically what you would expect for this type of game. The dice are pretty nice especially with the game being so cheap. The score pad sheets are a little on the small side but you could easily just use a normal sheet of paper to keep score so it is not a big issue.
Go Nut! is basically the definition of dumb fun. There is very little strategy to the game and outside of taking way too many risks the luckiest player is going to win the game. This is not necessarily a bad thing even though it will turn off people that like some strategy in their games. While I think the game will appeal more to people playing with children, adults can still have fun with the game. While it is far from a great game I had some fun with Go Nuts! I don’t see playing the game a lot but when you factor in the game’s size I plan on keeping the game and playing it occasionally,
Should You Buy Go Nuts!?
Go Nuts! is basically a very solid but unspectacular press your luck dice rolling game. You can have fun with the game and it is easy to pick up and play. The Go Nuts! mechanic is a fun interesting addition to the game even though I think it comes into play too often. Outside of choosing how much risk to take though players really have no choices in the game. The luckiest player will win the game most of the time unless they take too many risks. While I wish players had more impact on the outcome of the game, Go Nuts! is a perfect example of a dumb fun game. If you want a game that you can quickly play without putting much thought into you can have fun with Go Nuts!
If you are looking to actually have a decent amount of impact on your fate in the game, Go Nuts! is probably not going to be for you. If you are looking for a quick and simple press your luck dice game though it might be worth picking up Go Nuts! if you can find it for a couple dollars.