I’m always on the lookout for a light, quick game that I can play in my natural environment of the pub. Games like this are good because they don’t require that much of a commitment from my friends, and I can get out of teaching mode as quickly as possible. Cash & Guns could be one such game.
The first impression upon opening the box is unfortunately quite disappointing, the art is just not good. I can understand having a cartoony aesthetic and imagining a more realistic art style doesn’t feel like an improvement, but this attempt really didn’t do it for me. This sadly makes Cash & Guns the only game I own that has art I actively dislike, which is a shame since good looking components really help me to sell a game to my friends.This is in sharp contrast to the fact that the foam guns might be the best board game components I’ve ever seen.
On the gameplay front however Cash & Guns shines, a mechanically light game with plenty of bluffing and betrayal, it manages to do the most important thing which is get everyone around the table talking. At the start of a round some loot will be laid out in front of everyone and all players will take their silly foam gun and load it with either a bullet or a blank, then everyone points their guns at each other and starts around 2 minutes of shouting and recrimination. At this point people who feel the heat is too high can get out of the kitchen and lay their character down, meaning they will not be eligible to share in the loot. Those who were brave enough to face down the guns now reveal what they loaded, blanks or bullets, with people getting shot if a real bullet was pointing at them. Needless to say people who get shot are also ineligible to take loot, and get themselves a wound for their trouble. Those who are still standing take turns grabbing cash, diamonds, rare art and even medkits and extra ammo from the central pile. The game is nicely timed, always lasting eight rounds and the person with the most money at the end without taking 3 wounds and dying will be the winner.
To improve your experiences I would highly recommend more chatting and deal making, it’s never binding so feel free to go back on your word, often. People are going to be annoyed by you shooting them, but what if they were going to shoot you anyway. Besides they might only have blanks left so put some bants into the mix. Playing games like this honest can work but i think at least a few of you should stir the pot to get the most out of it.
There are also a bunch of special role cards you can optionally play with to spice up the game, letting you aim after everyone else or making you tougher, or perhaps some benefit to ducking out of a round. But these definitely seem underwhelming to me, not actually adding much to the game, so I haven’t tried them out. If you end up playing this game a lot then they might be what you need to get some more life out of it.
If you can get past the terrible art then I think you’ll have a lot of fun arsing around with this game, it doesn’t ask for a large commitment and can usually be wrapped up in less than an hour. The game has one expansion out and another on the way which I am definitely considering, since it brings in new different guns like a giant revolver or a taser. but given the relatively high price of the base game for what you get (£30) this is definitely a tentative recommendation.