So you opened up your copy of Cash & Guns and you were pretty happy with all the contents; as advertised, you found both a stack of cash and a pile of guns.
But maybe, just maybe, you looked in that box and you said to yourself, “Really? This is it?”
I’ve got great news for you, stranger. There’s a new box in town, and once again it brings exactly what it advertises:
How it Plays
I’m assuming you have played, or at least heard of, Cash & Guns, correct? If you haven’t, check out our review of the base game first. It’ll help to know what’s going on here. But if that’s an offer you can refuse, here’s a quick summary: 8 rounds. Each round you point your gun at someone. You might have a bullet, you might not. You get one chance to chicken out; after that, the triggers are pulled and you find out who is right and who is dead. Any remaining players (non-chickens and those who did not get shot) get a chance to split the loot from 8 piles of cash on the table.
As you might expect from the title, More Cash ‘n More Guns escalates everything. It adds a slew of new loot and a boatload of special powers, including new, unique guns. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Fake bills are like cash – but they might be worthless if, at the end of the game, the final Godfather decides they don’t count towards your total
- Fake diamonds are worthless by themselves, but the single card counts as two when determining who has the most Diamond cards for the $60,000 bonus
- The Fake Painting is worthless, unless you spend $20,000 in cash to make it count. Might be worth it, if you have a lot of paintings.
- The Suitcase and the Key are each worth $25,000, but only if both are held by a living player at the end of the game. If one goes unclaimed (or the holder is dead), the other is worth 0.
- The Safe is a new pile of Loot that only the Godfather can access. But, if he does, he takes two cards and gives one to the player on his right
- The Combination lets you jump into the Safe and take any card you like.
- Surprise cards give each player a mighty one-time-use power, such as picking everyone’s loot for them, firing your gun even if you backed out, or using the small gun which lets you shoot at two people at once
- New character cards offer a variety of new abilities, including the dual-wielding power, which lets you point two guns every round (but one of the guns is fake and never does damage, even if a Bang! Card is played)
Is that all? Well, I suppose the question now is…
An Offer You Can’t Refuse?
I like Cash & Guns. I guess you need to know where I’m coming from; if you don’t like Cash & Guns, this expansion will not save it for you. If anything, it’ll make you like it even less. Of course, I don’t know why you wouldn’t like it, unless you have serious moral issues with pointing fake guns at your friends (which, if you do, more power to you).
At it’s heart, C&G is basically a gamification of the idea that every nerd has always wanted an excuse to reenact that scene in every gangster movie where everyone in the room is pointing their gun at someone else. It’s ridiculous, over the top, and completely silly. It’s not dramatic negotiation or deep strategy that makes it fun (because there isn’t any), or even tactical mayhem. It’s just fun to sit in a circle with friends and point fake guns at each other.
On that note, More Cash ‘n More Guns just takes this idea to the extreme, with ridiculous powers, ridiculous-er loot, and ridiculous-est guns.
First things first; I love the new Loot. It adds a tasty new layer of intrigue without increasing complexity; the new twists are simple enough that it’s easy to remember exactly how they work after a quick explanation, but special enough that the choice of whether or not to pick one is interesting. For example, if you take a lot of Fake Cash, you’re going to really want that Godfather desk in the last round (yeah, it’s actually worth taking now) so that someone can’t spurn your wealth. If you get the suitcase, you may want to do your best to help the Key guy stay alive. The Combination cards not only give you a choice of loot from a larger, hidden selection, but if you pay attention when you use it, you might know when to snag the Godfather in order to claim even more good stuff (the safe stack never shuffles).
Speaking of the Safe, I think it’s another neat addition that doesn’t add much complexity. It adds more motivation to claim the Godfather desk; sure, being the Godfather has its perks, but before it was often difficult to choose the Desk over Loot. Of course, since the Godfather has to share something he takes from the safe, it helps the player to the Right out a little bit. Usually, that player, being the last in the circle, has to suffer with the last dregs of Loot, but now they might get a little boost from the Godfather’s safe. Maybe not a great boost, but something, at least.
That leaves us with the new Character cards and the Surprise cards. Now, I love special powers. I think that’s one of the things that makes thematic games special and fun, and also gives them replay value. Many of the powers in this expansion are really neat, too; especially the powers that relate to the new guns. The dual-wielding power is a lot of fun, and adds a lot of trickery. You still have only three bang cards, but one of your guns is fake. You have the same death-dealing ability as anyone else, but everyone you aim at has to decide A. if you loaded a Bang! card and B. if you’re pointing the real gun at them. The chances of safety are high, but there’s never a guarantee. It’s exciting! For the record, the tiny gun (a Surprise card power) does let you shoot two people, but only once per game.
The other, non-gun related powers are pretty cool, too. Well, most of them. I have to admit, there is a little imbalance here when it comes to the Surprise cards.
I use the term imbalance lightly here because, as I mentioned above, this isn’t supposed to be a precisely-tuned strategy game. It’s a goofy game about pointing guns at your friends; imbalance is almost a given. But still, you want to be able to try to win, which comes into play by making attempts to argue other players into pointing at the (supposedly) wealthiest player while laying low yourself. There’s also choosing the best times to play your real Bang! cards and snagging the right loot whenever you can.
All of the powers are a bit unfair; that’s the point, and many of them are Unfair from completely different angles so it’s hard to compare and hard to complain about them. I may use a totally unfair, ridiculously overpowered ability one turn, but you’ve got one to use next.
The problem occurs when two powers are similar enough to be comparable, but one is clearly more powerful than another. Here’s an example; in a game with @Farmerlenny, I had a special power card that let me choose everyone’s loot for them during the Share Loot phase. Pretty cool, pretty fun, right? Everyone still gets the loot, but I get to choose (and give myself all the paintings, of course). Meanwhile, @Farmerlenny had a similar card; except his, instead of assigning everyone’s loot directly, he could only shuffle up the loot so everyone had to choose randomly. On its own, it might have seemed cool enough to play and screw with the other players when you’re sitting out for a round. But when compared directly with my ability, the power clearly didn’t stack up, making it feel significantly less fun.
That being said, the powers are numerous, and I don’t think there are that many that are directly comparable; you can always just remove the lesser abilities and play with the fun, exciting ones in the mix.
I do have one last complaint, though; the timing of certain power activations isn’t exactly clear. Sure, it’s always a tricky balance between making your cards overly-wordy and clarifying edge cases that theoretically should be resolvable if you go step-by-step through the rules. But sometimes those clarifications can prevent arguments, and could stand to be in the rulebook at the very least, if not on the card.
The clearest example happened during the same game as above when the Share Loot phase had begun, and I played my special power card to divide the loot myself. After I flipped up my card, another player decided to flip up his Power card, which let him resolve his Bang! card even though he had backed out of the round. It was clear that he had played his card in reaction to my card. We argued a bit and tried to logic our way through the rules, but there was no clear ruling. Ultimately my argument won out (we’d already passed the resolve cards phase, so it was too late to resolve his bang even with the Surprise), but I’m still not sure if I was right. If I was wrong, it also seems less fun for one player’s power to essentially just cancel out someone else’s. I’m still waiting on an official ruling.
But look, we discussed the issue, we came to an amicable agreement, and we moved on. I didn’t even win the game, so there’s that. I still had a lot of fun, and I’m pretty sure most of the other players did too. I would definitely play again with the expansions; at the very least, the new loot, which I think is a whole lot of fun. There are a few less-than-thrilling powers and a few minor elements of confusion, but overall this expansion takes Cash & Guns to the next level with More Cash ‘n More Guns, as promsied.. If you have a group that enjoys the base game frequently, this expansion will take your fun to all new levels. If you’ve played and enjoyed the game but it has tapered off, this expansion might just revitalize it for you, and add a few more months of play.
iSlaytheDragon would like to thank Asmodee and Repos Production for providing a review copy of More Cash ‘n More Guns.