Review – Kill Shot from Dan Verssen Games
Designer – Dan Verssen
Art – Paul Hoefener
note – thanks to Dan Verssen Games for providing a review copy of this card game
Well, a game that has a subtitle of – “the Counter-Terrorism Party Game” may very well raise eyebrows in some quarters, that’s for sure, so let’s say right up front that if you avoid games that are about current conflicts as a bit too current for your tastes, then this card game from Dan Verssen Games will probably not be for you.
Kill Shot is a fast playing (20 minutes) card game for 2-5 players (per Dan – “if you are playing the formats that do not tie a card color to player, you can play with more than 5 players”) for age 13+ I would say as age isn’t indicated.
The basic premise of the game has the players identify, hunt down and eliminate the world’s most dangerous terrorists. Rather than a complex war game simulation, Dan Verssen has boiled what appear to be the critical elements of an operation to a playable card game format. The speed by which you play your cards from your hand may very well determine whether you are able to eliminate a greater value in terrorists than the other players.
Inside the professionally produced packaging, you get a set of 110 high quality cards – a 100-card Tactical deck and a 10-card Terrorist deck. The terrorists include very current faces from today’s news and the tactical cards have modern military images.
The object of the game is to claim the largest value of Terrorists eliminated.
The game set up has you place the Terrorist deck face down and each player receiving 6 Tactical cards as their starting hand. You then start by turning over the top Terrorist card to reveal your first target.
The first player says 3…2…1…go! and the players need to quickly play cards from their hand simultaneously (there are no turns) onto a common Hunt pile. The idea is that players are involved in a firefight and things are happening very fast.
Each card has a Hunt number from 1-9 which escalates the progress of the Hunt, staring from the 1 of the Global search card to the 9 of the final Kill Shot which ends the Hunt and need to be played in order of escalation by the players. So it needs to start with a 1 card and so on. Players must shout out the name of the card they are playing so everyone knows what is going on and can shift focus to their next quick decision and I do mean quick!
Generally, after a 1 card is played by anyone, then players can play the same number card as the current card on top of the Hunt pile or the next highest card number in sequence. So when the 1 is played, then a 1 or a 2 can be played and so on. You can’t play a lower Hunt value card than the current top card on the Hunt pile. The first player to play the 9 Kill Shot card during a Hunt eliminates the current Terrorist and claims the card and value to be added up at the end of the game. Players then prepare for the next Hunt by discarding any cards left in their hand and getting a fresh hand of 6 cards and then revealing the next terrorist target.
Players can discard and draw cards as they wish up to a maximum of 6 cards in their hand. You have to shout “Reloading!” when doing this.
Players also can play 2 types of Special cards are played and have the following consequences:
Bad Intel – the player declares “Cease Fire!” All players place their hands face down on the table and the player who played this card discards the last 2 Hunt number cards from the Hunt pile. Then says 3..2..1..go and it all starts up again from there.
Jam – Played against other players who then must declare “Jam!” out loud, and thens shout “Slap, Pull, Release, Tap, Squeeze” to simulate the clearing of their jammed weapon before they can continue playing cards.
Once all Terrorist cards have been Hunted, players total the value of their claimed terrorist cards and the highest total wins.
Aside from the main game type, there are 2 other ways to play – one where each player has their own deck of cards and another type which is turned based. There are also a number of optional rules to create more variety.
This is a very simple game and essentially an interesting take on the game of “Snap”. It can be very chaotic and you have to think and react very quickly or miss out on your chance to play the Kill Shot card. The rules are easy to understand and you will be up and playing within minutes.
Did it work for me?
I really enjoyed playing Kill Shot. I do think that you may have to play with the right group of friends though as the topic may not suit some. For me, as a war gamer and with my interest in games of conflict, I found it to be very good fun.
I like how Dan Verssen has taken a simple formula and put it into the context of a very fast paced firefight. The theme absolutely works well, especially with shouting out the escalating steps in the Hunt. You are a team hunting down terrorists and need to push things along but who will take the Kill Shot? It is very tense as you are playing your cards, stressful even more so when someone plays a Jam card on you and frustrating and a bit of a breather as someone plays a Bad Intel card. The speed of the proceedings is fun and frantic, which made for a lot of laughs amongst the high tension.
Overall, if you are ok with the theme, which admittedly is very current, this is one of the better card games as a fun filler between heavier games. With 3 variations on how to play and the option rules, this is a very nice package of fun. One of the better card games to cross my path in ages. I continue to be a fan of what Dan Verssen is bringing to the board and card game universe.
Boardgames in Blighty rating – 8 out of 10
This is not aimed at a family audience.
For more information go to –http://www.dvg.com/