Originally created back in the 1960s, the Pop-O-Matic dice popper is a game component that has a surprisingly large fanbase. While the component was only used in children’s games, a lot of people still fondly remember it from their childhood. Basically you pressed down on the top of the popper. This pressed down on a thin piece of metal which would pop up the die/dice inside the popper. While there was nothing particularly special about the Pop-O-Matic there was something so satisfying about using it. With the popularity of the Pop-O-Matic it was a forgone conclusion that someone would try to make their own version of the popper at some point. This brings us to today’s game Win By A Nose. The game replaces the Pop-O-Matic with a dice popper where you pull on the character’s nose in order to roll the dice. Win By A Nose deserves some credit for having one of the most original game components I have ever seen but is otherwise a very generic children’s roll and move game.
How to Play Win By A Nose
- Each player chooses a playing piece and places it on one of the corner spaces along the bottom level of the board.
- Place the Mr. Nose dice popper where everyone can reach it.
- The youngest player will start the game.
Playing the Game
A player begins their turn by rolling the dice. To roll the dice the player pulls out Mr. Nose’s and lets go of it which will roll the dice. The number rolled will determine how far the player’s playing piece will be moved. The player will move their pawn clockwise around the board along their current level.
If a playing piece lands on a space that is occupied by another player, the current pawn will be moved to the next available space.
When a playing piece lands on one of the step spaces, they will move their pawn up to the next level.
When rolling the dice if the face die lands with the nose pointing up you get to move your playing piece up to the next level after you moved it clockwise around the board. The pawn will be moved to the space directly above the space that it landed on. If the playing piece landed on a step and the player also rolled a face up nose, the player will only be able to move their pawn up one level.
There are two special spaces in Win By A Nose.
- Sneeze Space: When a player lands on a sneeze space, they will get to send one of the other players back to one of the start spaces.
- Nose Dive Space: When a player lands on a nose dive space, they will return their pawn back to one of the start spaces.
Winning the Game
The first player to get their pawn to the top of the gameboard wins the game.
My Thoughts on Win By A Nose
When I first saw Win By A Nose, it looked like one of the silliest games that I had ever seen. I have seen games that have used weird components and yet I don’t know if any of them compare to the dice popper in Win By A Nose. Instead of using a Pop-O-Matic, the game gives you a dice popper with a rubbery face on it. In order to roll the dice you need to pull the nose on the face and let go. This pops the dice into the air.
Being a fan of the Pop-O-Matic I found this component to be really interesting. You have to give the designer(s) credit as they were thinking outside the box when they came up with the concept. I was a little skeptical about how well the dice popper would actually work though. Outside of wear to the nose (more on this later), I was genuinely surprised by how well it works. The popper actually rolls the dice pretty well. It doesn’t really add anything to the gameplay, but just like the Pop-O-Matic I found it surprisingly satisfying.
Unfortunately there isn’t much else to the game. Outside of the silly dice popper Win By A Nose is basically the same as every other children’s roll and move game. You roll the dice and move your pieces around the gameboard. The first player to get their piece to the end wins the game. For this reason it should not be surprising that the game becomes dull rather quickly. You basically roll the dice and move your piece. Rinse and repeat until the game ends.
The one somewhat unique mechanic the game adds to the typical roll and move game is that the gameboard consists of several levels that you have to climb to reach the top. First you can land on one of the steps which moves you up to the next level. The other way is through the face die inside the dice popper. I have to say that the face dice is one of the weirdest dice that I have ever seen. Basically you want to have the face land with its nose pointing up. That is easier said than done though.
Statistically with the dice having six sides you should have a one in six chance of rolling the nose face up each turn. As it is really rare to roll the dice with the nose pointing down, your odds should be closer to one in five. Playing the game though we did not seem to have much luck rolling the face die. We ended up rolling a face up nose quite a bit less than we statistically should have.This means that you will usually have to move up the gameboard by landing on the step spaces.
For a game that relies solely on rolling dice, it is pretty obvious that the game would rely on quite a bit of luck. Instead of wanting to always roll high numbers, you want to roll the number which will allow you to land on one of the steps. You also usually want to roll a face up nose as that will help you progress as well. There is just as much luck in not landing on spaces though. One of the special spaces sends you back to the start while another lets you send another player back to start. These can be huge in the game as it is a slow process gaining ground in the game. You could be close to winning the game and then be sent right back to the start. As Win By A Nose is a simple game meant for children, this normally wouldn’t be a big issue.
The problem is that these spaces that send you backwards make it really hard to make any progress in the game. Maybe we were just really unlucky but we regularly landed on these spaces which kept sending us back to the start. This made the game drag on far longer than it ever should have. As soon as someone was close to making any progress they or another player would land on one of the special spaces which would send them back to the start. If Win By A Nose was a good game this wouldn’t be such an issue. With the game being quite dull though it makes the game take forever to end.
Unless you want to spend way too long finishing the game I would highly recommend implementing the house rule we eventually ended up using. We decided to let players choose whether they wanted to raise their piece a level if they rolled a face up nose. When players would roll a face up nose it seemed to always happen when they would land on a space that would send them back to start. By letting players choose whether they wanted to go up a level, this made it a little easier to avoid hitting one of these spaces.
With all of this said it is obvious that the target audience for Win By A Nose was young children. Unfortunately the game doesn’t do anything to broaden the audience to anyone else. The game was made for younger children and that is basically the only people that the game will appeal to. The game is just too boring for adults. There are literally no decisions to make in the game as you can’t decide where you want to move or make any other decisions that will impact your fate in the game. You just roll the dice and do what the dice tell you to do. There are no decisions to make in the entire game. This leads to the game becoming dull pretty quickly.
While the game doesn’t really appeal to adults, I could see the game appealing to younger children and their parents. The game is simple enough that pretty much anyone can play it. Anyone who can count to six shouldn’t have any troubles playing the game. I think what will appeal most to younger children though is the game’s theme. The game is meant to be silly which I think younger children will appreciate. I also see them getting quite a bit of enjoyment out of using the Mr. Nose dice popper.
As far as the components I think Win By A Nose deserves some credit but there are some areas where they could have been better. As I mentioned earlier, I thought the dice popper was pretty clever. It works well but is susceptible to wear over time. The more you play the game the more wear there will be on the nose. Parts of the nose will break off so it will be hard to find a copy where the nose is still in good shape. Normally this wouldn’t be that big of issue except that it makes it quite a bit harder to grasp the nose and use the dice popper. Other than the dice popper the components are quite generic due to basic plastic playing pieces and a plastic board with stickers to indicate the special spaces.
Should You Buy Win By A Nose?
When most people see Win By A Nose the first thing that will probably catch their eye is the strange dice popper. I have to give the designer(s) credit for coming up with something unlike anything I have seen in any other board game that I have played. Basically you pull the nose on the dice popper in order to roll the dice. While this is really silly it is kind of satisfying as well, just like using a Pop-O-Matic dice popper. Unfortunately there is not much else to the game. The game relies almost entirely on luck as you just roll the dice and move your playing pieces. There is no decision making in the game which leads to the game becoming boring pretty quickly. While the game is not for adults, the silly theme and the simple gameplay should lead to young children enjoying the game. Nonetheless Win By A Nose is a game with a clever component but not much else.
I wouldn’t recommend Win By A Nose to adults unless you can find it for really cheap and are a sucker for weird game components. I doubt you will actually enjoy playing the game. I could see Win By A Nose being fun for younger children though. So if the game looks like something your children might enjoy, it might be worth picking up if you can get a good deal on it.
If you would like to purchase Win By A Nose you can find it online: eBay