So you want value when you turn your hard-earned dollars into gaming options?
Well of course we all want that, but in few instances will you get better bang for you buck than when you plop down four or five dollars for the game Cosmic Wimpout.
Cosmic Wimpout is a game which reinforces the old adage good things come in small packages, although you might update it to 'great things' in the case of this little gem.
Cosmic Wimpout is a dice game, so not technically a board game, but hey it still fits here. The game consists completely of a set of five dice, which fit in a little plastic tube which is only 3 3/4 inches long.
Talk about your portable classic. You could take this one backpacking up the side of a mountain without knowing you had it in terms or space and weight in your pack.
And, as a dice game, it can be played on any flat service, so take it down to the local coffeehouse and play away over a cup of your favourite cappuccino.
The game, as most dice ones are, is rather straight forward, once you get a handle on the rules.
The rules are where this game, first released in 1975, gets its quirks and charm.
The six-sided dice have unique faces. As an example, there are crescent moons, star bursts and lightning strikes which fit nicely with the cosmic theme, as well as having a 5 and 10 side. Four dice are white, a fifth is black, the black dice having a flaming sun side, which is essentially wild, allowing you to use it in a number of different situations throughout the game.
The game centres around collecting points, usually attempting to be the first to reach 1,000.
Points are achieved by rolling flashes, three of a kind on a single roll. Ah, but wait, don't add up the points so quickly. You have to clear a flash in this game, meaning you have to roll the remaining dice and add to the score before you get to keep the flash points.
Roll five of a kind, called a 'Freight Train' and you could be in for a big win. Five of the moons are 200, five of the fives is 500 etc. Roll five of the star-sixes and you instantly win.
Of course you might 'Supernova' too. That is rolling five-10s on a single roll, which is deemed 'just too many points' and you are automatically out of the game.
When you have satisfied the rules, you can chose to stop rolling the dice, and take your points, or keep rolling to add to the total. But you must score points on every roll, or you 'wimpout', losing any points accumulated on your turn so far.
The only exception, score with all five dice, and you must push your luck and roll again.
For flavour, if you fail to score when rolling all five dice, you have managed a 'train wreck'.
This game has zero skill requirements past rolling a handful of dice, and enough math to keep score, but there is such a quirky feel to the game, and it goes so quickly, who cares. This one is all about fun.
Created in the 70s, it has that sort of smoky, Woodstock, Haight Ashberry feel to it, sort of Yahtzee on speed, being way more fun than the more familiar dice-toss and add game. Highly recommended.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 25, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada