In June 2013, in an effort to put revenue from the popular Munchkin series back into the game hobby, Steve Jackson Games acquired Haywire Group‘s dice game Chupacabra: Survive the Night. After Jackson posted a direct invitation to established publishers, it appears Chupacabra won the ‘easiest to repackage and redistribute’ award. Soon thereafter SJG applied their extremely successful Zombie Dice model to Chupacabra (why recreate the wheel?). New graphics, portable container, smaller instructions and BAM….another excellent dice game on the shelf.
The 24 dice provides 2-4 players with 10 to 20 minutes of gameplay. Everyone starts with six dice and rolls at the same time (one of the better game mechanics). Each die is the same, it contains a single chicken, double chickens, two single goats, a cow, and a Chupacabra. Like dice must be grouped into herds or flocks (safety in numbers!), and any Chupacabras rolled are used to attack–steal–other player’s animals. One Chupacabra can take up to two chickens or one goat, but it takes two Chupacabras to eat a cow. You must have enough Chupacabras to take an entire herd or flock (i.e. if you roll two Chupacabras, you could take up to four chickens, but no more). The winner is the player who takes all of the dice!
One more devilishly fun rule…Chupacabra Loco…when a player rolls all Chupacabras they can be used to kill any one herd or flock, no matter how many animals are in it. So if your livestock has been depleted and you’re down to one die, you have a one-sixth chance of staging an epic comeback.
Chupacabra, like Zombie Dice, is a perfect example of a ‘filler game.’ Groups of friends don’t come together to play a dice game like this, they come together for 3 hours of Arkham Horror or an all-night RPG session. BUT, in the 15 minutes it takes to set up those games, or in the 10 minute snack break, Chupacabra is the perfect filler. Though they sacrificed higher quality dice for a gimmicky glow-in-the-dark feature (the substance used is already chipping on some dice), I’m glad Steve Jackson decided to expand his gaming empire. If you have $15 left on a gift card now that the holiday dust has settled, this is a great buy.
Designers: David Blanchard, Brian Frodema, and John Jacobsen
Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy