“What game should be play next, I have one with Styrofoam guns…”
Ca$h and Gun$ (yes, that’s really how you spell it) comes to us from Repos Production, the publisher best known for 7 Wonders. It shouldn’t, then, come as a shock that Ca$h and Gun$ works best with a larger group; the game is recommended for 4-6 players but you’re going to want a full six. Trust me. Life is more fun with more Styrofoam guns.
The game’s premise is simple: you’re all gangsters and you’re attempting to tally up the loot from a score. However, not everyone agrees in an even split, because gangsters. Therefore, players will load their guns by placing a card face down in front of them and simultaneously point their guns at opposing players. From here they have option to chicken out and forfeit a chance at their loot or to go ahead and pull the trigger. The brave can get rewarded; out of your eight card hand, only three of the cards fire. There are two “Bang!” cards and one “Bang! Bang! Bang!” card which gets priority.
Board game veterans will immediately recognize the need to count cards. Hands, as you’d expect, are kept hidden from other players, meaning you can easily prey on the extra cautious by pointing at them with a blank. Or, if someone is harmed, the mere possibility of death could be enough to scare them out of the loot. It’s an element of strategy that creates tension strong enough to mimic (what I assume to be) an actual stand-off. Not every score is worth the cards/health; knowing when to bow out is the key to victory.
Once cards are revealed, cowardly gangsters have chickened out, and shots have been fired, only the unscathed remain; being shot eliminates you from the loot, because logic. From there, the remaining players must evenly distribute the cash. If this is impossible, the extra cash is leftover for the next round, only emphasizing the fact that not every score is worth it. Picking your battles carefully will result in victory. The strategic element of the game is more than enough to carry Ca$h and Gun$ once the novelty of pointing a Styrofoam gun at people wears if. If it wears off, of course.
The game continues for eight rounds until all cards are played and the winner is the player who is both alive and has the most money. That is, of course, if the police don’t arrive on the scene. A traitor mechanic is also included in the mix and it plays perfectly with the game’s theme. One of the gangsters is an undercover cop who, at the end of the round, can make a call back to the station. The “call card” is passed around under the table so the undercover cop can flip it over in secret. Should three calls be made, the jig is up and the traitor is victorious.
The inclusion of the traitor mechanic in a game that isn’t co-op provides an interesting challenge. You’re already fighting against everyone else, but teamwork is needed to ensure even a chance at victory. This brings us back to the point of the game’s strategic element. It’s about playing the right cards, aiming at the right people, and going all in at the right time. That’s what makes Ca$h and Gun$ so rewarding; all of your hard work will pay off as you fondle your money and shoot your Styrofoam gun into the air with pride. This is a game that rewards both patience and intelligence. That alone makes it an easy recommendation.