It’s a little known fact that monsters love candy. Hence the reason you see so many of them walking around on Halloween. They just want some of those sweet, sweet handouts. At least, that’s what Scream or Die might have you believe. A dice rolling game with a far more sinister name than theme. With some of the classic monsters having been shrunken down and turned into children, they’re no longer after blood, but roam the streets in a competition to be the first to get 13 candies, but screams always help a little too.
Scream or Die is a little game in which each player represents one of four different classic monsters. Players are doled out a specific number of “screams” at the start. These screams act as the currency in the game, used to manipulate the dice. The active player starts by drawing five dice from the bag. Then, each player has a chance to pay to have him draw additional dice. The dice are color coded, so each player’s character has a higher chance to score if a specific color is being rolled. After the player rolls all the dice paid for, there is an additional phase in which players, in turn, can pay to have specific dice re-rolled, spending their precious screams to do so. Finally players score the amount of points equal to the number of dice showing their icons. The active player can also earn screams through the dice on their turn as well. Play continues until one player has reached 13 points.
First and foremost I think it’s important you know what kind of game this is before going in. It’s light and relies pretty heavily on luck. That’s something you should know right off the bat. It’s not trying to appeal to eurogamers or even people that only enjoy midweight family games. It’s a little lighter than Yahtzee. However, it’s a good little game that works well before or after a heavier game. It’s got a fair amount of “take that” but not overly so. You have to spend your screams wisely, trying to find a balance between helping yourself and hindering your opponent. The game offers quick play with interesting little risk calculations allowing players to stay engaged even when it isn’t their turn.
It works well at most player counts, but at three it runs into a little hitch. The dice distribution is going to, slightly, favor two players over the third. The way the dice are color coded and certain ones work ok, while others offer no chance for a player to score, means while the orange dice is great for player A and ok for player B it’s going to be completely bad for player C. This is partially mitigated through other dice variability, but still offers a pretty raw deal for player C. Overall, it really isn’t a big deal, and we saw victories come from all parties. It comes down to luck and how you choose to spend your screams. Still, drawing dice from a bag is an underutilized mechanism for the filler genre so it’s fun to see that.
For what it is Scream or Die does a decent job of using an amusing theme and cute art to turn a light dice chucker into a fun filler experience. If you like this kind of thing, it’s worth a look. If not, give it a pass.
Fast and light
Lots o luck
Uneven at three player count