As you sit around the table observing your fellow bank robbers; something is clearly not quite right. Uncle Brian has been awfully shifty lately, he’s had his eye on collecting paintings and that makes him a threat. Nan’s focusing on cash, so for the time being, she’s trustworthy. But Auntie Lilly, well she’s gaining a huge monopoly on the diamond market and is proving too troublesome to keep in the gang. Auntie Lilly it is then, she’s the only choice. You load your bullet card into your gun and patiently hold your breath.
You open your eyes and observe the new power dynamic of the room, Lilly’s aiming her gun at Tom, he’s doing vice versa. Brilliant. It all went to plan.
You’re safe, everything’s going to be ok-
Oh no, not you Nan.
You turn and observe Nan pointing a foam gun straight at you and now; well she’s in for an easy sweep of the cash on the table.
In Cash ’n Guns yourself and your fellow players take on the role of bank robbers who are engaging in a string of successful robberies - naturally splitting the loot evenly is fair and easy.
But where’s the fun in that?
There are eight rounds in the game each of which makes up a unique heist which can involve plundering a variety of different loot. Players must acknowledge the loot up for grabs and then at the count of three, draw their gun at an unsuspecting target to knock them out of the round and gain a larger share of the loot. However, with only three bullets to last eight rounds you might choose to point your foam gun at another player and not even load your gun with a bullet, a deliberate bluff to try and get them out of the round without wasting any of your limited and oh so precious ammunition.
If you’re on the receiving end of a few pistols and feel confident that your opponent’s guns are loaded with blanks, you can push your luck – but as more guns get pointed at you, your chances of being on the receiving end of a deadly bullet will grow and grow.
The winner of the game is simply whoever has the most money by the end and it’s this simplicity that makes Cash ‘n Guns a fantastic introduction for anyone who thinks board gaming consists of just Monopoly and Operation.
During each round of the game, one player will also be assigned as the Godfather and it is their responsibility to lead the heist, pick from the loot first and they also have the rather handy influence that during the standoff stage they can tell one player to point their gun at another target. It’s fair to say that this comes in handy considering being the Godfather makes you a prime target for an ambush.
Despite it being a ‘board game‘, Cash ‘n Guns doesn’t feature a board which as a result has quite a positive effect on your interactions with other players adding to the immersion of the game as you’ll be spending your time staring at your fellow players (and down the barrel of their guns!) – attempting to read whether they can be trusted or if they’re planning to betray you in the next round.
This only gets even more complicated with the variety of expansions that have been added to Cash n’ Guns which include ‘Team Spirit’ transforming the game into a cooperative experience whereby players are divided into teams who have the assistance of powerful mercenary cards and ‘More Cash n’ More Guns’ which simply adds new guns to your standoffs such as the ‘Big Gun’ and ‘Twin Guns’ which allows you to target two opponents in a standoff.
These expansions are great fun, but they tend to overcomplicate things somewhat – it’s extra depth if you want it, but Cash n’ Guns real charm lies in it being a fantastic gateway party game. Like these expansions the base game also features additional rule modifiers through unique character abilities but once again I’d recommend playing without them for your first few games as they can add a bit of confusion to proceedings.
So aside from the extra modifiers, it’s a relatively refined game of backstabbing and greed which can even rival poker when it comes to bluffing and reading peoples poker faces (or should that be Cash n’ Guns faces?).