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Dice Game Review: ’77 Ways to Play TENZI’

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TENZI is a fast-paced game of dice-rolling genius in its simplicity. The entire game consists of rolling ten six-sided dice, racing to be the first one to get all ten reading the same number. In its original set, TENZI proved versatile with different ways of rolling the dice, such as stacking or calling out a target number. Kevin and Steve at Carma Games have been hard at work with new takes on TENZI and have come up with not three or four, but seventy-seven.

tenziexpansion77 Ways to Play TENZI is a deck of cards, each with its own instructions for a unique game for the ten-dice setup. Players may draw a new card each round, call for rematches, or even mix and match to create complicated rounds. The cards are broken into different types of games, such as tweaks of regular TENZI, Non-Speed Games based on luck, and Pattern Games. The Pattern Games are simply an arrangement of nice squares that represent rolls of the dice that players must match. These are great for logical, spatially-oriented players who thrive on puzzle-solving.

The Non-Speed Games are largely competitions on rolling the dice. “SIXZI,” for example, has the players roll their ten dice and eliminate any that rolled sixes. The process is repeated until one player runs completely out of dice. “GUESSZI” adds an element of prediction as players call out ahead of time how many rolls they predict it will take to create a TENZI with the closest as the winner. “BATTLEZI” is perhaps the most interesting as a take on the game High Card mixed with classic marbles, winning dice from other players who roll less.

Most of the cards in the deck are dedicated to changing up the standard model of rolling ten dice as quickly as possible. Some, like “OPPOSITEZI” set goals, such as rolling a TENZI and then rolling a second TENZI of the number of the opposite side of the dice. Others call for rolling all odd or even numbers, two “straights” of one through five, or having five pairs of dice that add up to seven in “SEVENZI KEVINZI” for the math-savvy. Stacking returns in “PYRAMIDZI” requiring lower numbers to be stacked on top of higher ones in four levels.

Some cards in 77 Ways utterly change up the game, making it something more of a party game above its dice-racing base, a fitting addition with the Party Pack expansion that includes six sets of dice instead of the regular four. “RELAYZI” creates teams that roll one at a time, which is bound to get exciting with cheers from those not rolling, and “BLINDFOLDZI” has another player giving orders to a teammate who cannot see. The party atmosphere gets crazier with cards like “STORKZI” that make players stand on one foot or “THUMBZI” that disallows thumbs. Several cards prompt players to name a state, clap their hands, or bark like a dog with every roll that causes players to break focus as they cannot resist laughing.

77 Ways to Play TENZI is for two or more players aged seven and up. The party pack adds new colors to the mix, giving almost no limit to the maximum number of players. Changing up the games greatly increases the replay value of the original TENZI, and the deck also includes three blank cards for players to create their own TENZI mini-games, fostering Carma Games’s ideal of always having fun.

Four out of Five Stars

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.