“TPK, Man, TPK!” the adventurer screamed as he rushed from the dragon's lair just seconds before dissolving into a fine ash. Only a steaming skull remains. “Hmmm” The dragon mused “Blackened. Is there a modifier on Blackened Skulls?”
“In days of Yore, according to Lore, after a battle, dragons were left yearning for more. So they derived a game of treasure and skulls, involving flicking and scoring, until reaching twenty plus one.” - A rhyme of olde not composed by Twenty One Pilots or Judas Priest.
There is just something about a game that can literally fit in your pocket. Heads will Roll is definitely one of those games and, bonus, no one will expect you to do any magic tricks if you pull it out instead of, say, a pack of cards. Instead, you get that moment of interest/concern when you place a handful of metal skulls on the table.
There is nothing more Metal than, well, thicc metal skulls. Two silver-colored skulls, two copper-colored skulls, One shield and one treasure chest. That is what you will be working with when playing Heads Will Roll. The rules, as with any good pub-type game, are simple: Roll all six pieces and then flick the shield into the gold treasure chest to earn/bank points. Flicking the shield between the matching Silver or Copper skulls can earn you extra flicks and extra points, assuming your final flick has your shield impacting with the gold treasure chest (and hitting nothing in-between).
This fistful of metal does have a certain heft to it and calibrating your rolling to get a good spread on the “dice” is part of the experience. Years of “Try to contain the dice to this small area of the table when rolling” will need to be overcome. A good skull spread will give you the room you need to show off your flicking prowess while trying to balance just how far you can flick with accuracy (to say nothing of the “You rolled into the chasm of doom/a.k.a. Off the edge of the table.)
The version that was sent to me for review was a mixture of old Dragoon: Heads will Roll pieces and some of the latest versions of the newer pieces. For consistency sake, I have included images of the updated skulls and shield in this review.
A wise man once said: If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing sitting down. (Okay, it was one of my stoner friends but hear me out.) For your consideration: The Lazy Susan
(Feel free to rebrand this as the rotating floor of doom, destruction and digestion). Some of the appeal of Heads Will Roll (especially in a bar setting) is moving around the table and trying to line up a great shot. However, at a certain point in my life, (I think it was my mid-thirties or anytime after 9:00 P.M Eastern Time), the appeal of moving around a table and hunching over it to do pretty much anything lost most of it's appeal. That is where a Lazy Susan comes in. Instead of moving around the table, the “table” moves for you. Lining up a shot is as easy as (slowly) spinning the lazy Susan to get the best possible angle. It also adds the limiting factor of a play surface that is, well, exactly the size of the Lazy Susan you decided to play with.
You can order Heads Will Roll with a playmat which, against all odds, does not feature a copper dragon dick punching a paint-brush mustachioed adventurer. Honestly, almost every table surface I have played on has worked out well, with the only exception being a “ribbed” Lazy Susan that was inexplicably built to keep condiments from sliding off instead of allowing shields to slide unimpeded.
The game gives a stern middle finger to luck mitigation. The highs are highs and the lows are lows: this isn't Prozac gaming, you'll come out of most of your turns with either fist pumping “Yes!” or sour grumblings of “Noooooooo!” The orientation of the skulls you rolled are also a modifier on the number of potential points you can earn. Simply passing between the silver skulls can earn you +2 points or +1 point for passing between the copper skulls. But if silver skulls are facing the same direction (say, both face-up or both resting on their sides) they are worth double points. So, it is possible to earn a stunning 7 points of the 21 needed to win the game by both being lucky with your roll and nimble with your flicker. “But, But, I banked a safe One or two points for the last 5 rounds and you thunder in and smash seven points in a single turn!?!” Well, if you just dust off family crest of this recently deceased explorer apparently “Who Dares Wins.” Or does that say “Deeds Not Words?”
If there is ever a category for “Late night/maybe slightly intoxicated/uproariously entertaining Titles” Matt Fantastic is a first-vote hall-of-famer. If you judge your games on laughter and being slightly ludicrous with extra portions of boasting and blowing it, heads will most definitely roll.
A review copy of this release was provided by the publisher.