Saturday, October 12, 2013

Game Review: Chupacabra: Survive the Night

Chupacabra: Survive the Night by The Haywire Group

The legend of the chupacabra is a new one to me. The story arose in Latin America of a beast that would kill farm animals at night, especially goats, by drinking their blood. The name "chupacabra" means "goat sucker." The first reported attacks were in 1995 on the island of Puerto Rico, so this beast may be new to you too.

Chupacabra: Survive the Night is a dice game where each player (two to four can play) is given six dice with animal symbols on them--one chicken, two chickens, a goat, a cow, or the red, glaring eyes of the chupacabra!

The dice of Chupacabra

Players role their dice at the same time and arrange them by animal. A random person is given the starter chip. If that player has rolled any red eyes, he can send out his chupacabra(s) to attack another player's farm. One chupacabra can kill up to 2 chickens or one goat. Two chupacabras are required to take down a cow. Here's the trick--the attacker needs enough chupacabras to take all of a type of an animal from the chosen victim. So if the attacker only has one chupacabra and the victim has rolled three chickens, the attacker cannot take the chickens. The dice representing the killed animals are added to the attacker's set of dice. Other players are given the opportunity to send out their chupacabras if they have any. Once everyone has attacked, the starter chip moves clockwise and a new round begins. If a player loses all his dice, he is eliminated. Whoever collects all the dice is the winner.

As you might imagine, the game suffers a little bit from a runaway leader problem. If a player is rolling 15 dice, their herd might be unassailable and they are more likely to get chupacabras to attack with. For a longer game, the rules offer the Chupacabra Loco rule--if the player has three or fewer dice and rolls all chupacabras, when he attacks he can take the largest pack of an animal type regardless of its size. So there is a way to catch up in extreme circumstances.

The dice also glow in the dark, though I didn't get good results when I tried it. Also, I'm not sure how to light all sides of the dice without a glass table to light the bottom sides. Glow-in-the-dark is a nice gimmick, but doesn't work so well.

Dice in the dark

Otherwise, the components are high quality. The game even includes a letter from "The Centre for Fortean Zoology" describing how terrifying these monsters are. You can decide for yourself how credible they are by visiting their web site!

We enjoy playing this game, especially being silly making the attacking noises and such while playing. It's a fun, light game in the vein of Zombie Dice.

The box must look fun because L (my four-year old) asked to play it. I was at first reluctant until I decided to change the story a little. Instead of eating my animals, L's chupacabras were inviting them over to her farm to have fun. I kept the same rules and we both enjoyed playing. I guess I'll have to call it Chupacabra: Party All Night when I play with L.

Zombie Apocalypse Appropriateness:
As if zombies aren't enough to deal with, what if chupacabras do go loco in the inevitable apocalypse? The game doesn't impart any skills but knowledge is power. Probably not enough power to survive an attack. The box is too big for its components and could easily be reduced to a small pouch for portability. Then it would be very portable and very fun to play with other survivors.

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