Ah, summer camp. What happened to the good old days of spending a week in the woods, singing songs, swimming in the lake, telling ghost stories, and learning new dice games from the girl with red hair? Oh yeah, summer jobs. Luckily, at least one of those memories can be relived when you play Zilch, a dice game of luck and strategy. Race against the computer (or another friend) to 10,000 points, and rightfully claim the last marshmallow for another s'more.
Each turn starts by rolling all six dice. You can earn points by rolling 1's and 5's (worth 100 and 50, respectively), or by rolling 3 or more of a kind, or several other special configurations worth big points. After each roll, you have the option to bank the points you've currently earned (with a minimum of 300 points) and ending your turn, or re-roll all of the dice you're not using for your points total with the hopes of getting even more points. If you can successfully score with all six dice on one or more rolls, you can pick up all six dice and start racking up more points, but any throw in which you do not roll any points counts as a Zilch: You lose all your points earned so far in the round, and your turn ends. To add to the risk, getting three Zilches in a row costs you 500 points.
This is where luck turns into strategy. How many points are you willing to risk by rolling that last remaining die in order to roll all six dice again? Is it better to re-roll some of your dice worth points, in order to try to get a three-of-a-kind? Should you bank now in order to avoid getting that third Zilch?
Analysis: Zilch is definitely one of those games that's "easy to learn, hard to master." Games usually run about 5-10 minutes long, which make it an excellent lunch break diversion. The interface is very nicely set up with a nice wooden tabletop theme, subtle sound effects, and one hundred twenty achievements to unlock (so you'll be playing for a while, to say the least). There are three levels of computer difficulty to choose from, a two-player mode, and the promise of online play to be coming soon.
Are you ready to let it roll?
Cheers to Chris, Tonypa, Katie, Klaser and Treniac for sending this one in!