Shake Out! Game Review

Please Note: Shake Out! has been picked up by Canadian game publisher Jouets Boom. The newly published game is titled Roll’n Bump. It plays exactly the same as Shake Out!, but can sit up to 6 players instead of 4. As such, we are not going to write a review for it, as it would just be a copy-n-paste job. Still, the change is worth noting as the game can now be purchased with English and French rules, has higher quality components, and can now be enjoyed by more players. But, and we cannot emphasis this enough, it’s the same game. If you’ve played one, you’ve played the other.


The Basics:

  • For ages 7+ (publisher suggests 12+)
  • For 2 to 4 players (newly published version allows for 6 players)
  • About 45 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Strategy & Tactics
  • Risk vs. Reward
  • Hand/Resource Management

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek approved!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

Roll the dice and take a chance! Shake Out! is all about balancing risk vs. reward. Do it right and there is no stopping you, but don’t get too cocky. Even if you claim a card, another opponent can snatch it from you with just a few more points! To play this game right, you’ll have to push your own limits to ensure you get the cards you need, playing both defensively and offensively. Come up short, and you’ll be left far, far behind!

Shake Out! is a card and dice game comprised of a deck of 49 cards (12 blue cards, 12 red cards, 12 orange cards, 12 green cards, and 1 purple wild card), 4 player reference cards, 20 six-sided player dice ( 5 blue dice, 5 red dice, 5 yellow dice, and 5 green dice) and 1 white bonus die. The dice are your typical sort of six-sided variety and the cards are of thick stock. The artwork on the cards is not only colorful but easy to read and well thought out. It takes only a glance to appreciate the time and energy put into the game by the designer.

Game Set Up

Find the purple “wild card” in the deck. This is the only card that is purple and should be easy to find. It is also the only card that is worth 15 points. Once found, place the card, face-up, in the middle of the playing area. Now shuffle the remaining cards and deal 8 stacks of 5 cards each, face-down, around the wild card, surrounding it in a circle. The remaining 6 cards are dealt on top of each stack surrounding the wild card, face-up. In total, each stack will now have 6 cards with the last card you just placed face-up.

Last, give each player 5 dice of a single color. These will be the dice they roll for the duration of the game. The white bonus die is set aside within easy reach of all players.

Example of what your playing area might look like after all the cards are dealt and dice given to each player

Each player now rolls 1 of their dice to determine who goes first. The player who rolls the highest value is the first player. In the event of a tie, the players who rolled the same value roll again. When the first player is assigned, hand each player a reference card and you are ready to play!

The Turn Sequence

There are three phases to a player’s turn. These are Claim, Roll, and Stake.

  • Claim: At the beginning of the player’s turn, they retrieve their dice and any cards they successfully staked a claim to. The cards are displayed in front of the player, face-up. There is nothing to claim during the first round of the game.
  • Roll: The player rolls their dice a maximum of three times. If the player has won the white bonus die, they roll that dice, too.
  • Stake: The player places their dice on the face-up cards and the white bonus die, staking their claim to them.

Counting Cards

The cards count as points and are collected by the players throughout the game. Cards are worth their face value (1 to 15 possible points) and are also worth points based on the number of cards in a same colored set. The type of cards and their value are listed here.

  • Singles (worth 1 point): at least 1 die value of 1 to 6 is necessary to claim it (player can assign more than 1 die to the card)
  • Two of a Kind (worth 2 points): two dice of any value that match is necessary to claim it
  • Three of a Kind (worth 5 points): three dice of any value that match is necessary to claim it
  • Four of a Kind (worth 12 points): four dice of any value that match is necessary to claim it
  • Five of a Kind (worth 15 points – the wild card): five dice of any value that match is necessary to claim it
  • Three Straight (worth 3 points): a consecutive numerical sequence of three dice is necessary to claim it
  • Four Straight (worth 7 points): a consecutive numerical sequence of four dice is necessary to claim it
  • Five Straight (worth 10 points): a consecutive numerical sequence of five dice is necessary to claim it

Players will use the dice to claim these cards on their turn, assign each dice to one and one card only or assign the dice to the white bonus die if possible.

Mine! All Mine!

Staking cards is as easy as number and pattern matching. Some cards require the player to have a single specific die value, some cards require the player have 2 or more dice of the same value, and still other cards require the player have a sequential numerical run of 3 to 5 dice. The player places their dice on the cards, matching their dice to the dice pattern or dice value noted on the card’s face. Once placed, the card is considered “staked” by the player. Unused dice can be assigned the white bonus die.

A player has the option of stealing a previously staked card and the white bonus die, but such an action is more costly, dice-wise. Stealing a card is referred to as “bumping”.

  • For cards that have a single die value (Singles), the player must place more dice of the same value on the card than what is currently there in order to steal it. For example, if the card had a single “6” on it and was claimed by another player using only one die, to steal it you would need to place two or more dice with the value of “6”.
  • For cards with two or more die of the same value (Two, Three, Four, and Five of a Kind), the player must place the same number of die but with a value higher than the die values currently claiming the card. For example, if the card had 3 dice on it with the value of “4”, the player would have to play 3 dice with a value of “5” or “6” to steal the card.
  • For cards with three or more dice in a sequential numerical order (Three, Four, and Five Straight), the player must have a numerical run with the highest value of one of the dice being greater than the highest value already placed on the card. For example, if the card had a sequential numerical order of “2,3,4,5”, the player would have to play a sequential numerical order of “3,4,5, 6” to steal the card.

Even the bonus die is up for grabs and can be stolen from another player! All that is needed is to assign a total value of any number of dice higher than the total value already assigned to it.

Claiming That Which Is Yours

Once claims are staked, the player must wait until their next turn to claim the cards or white bonus die. If their dice are on any card and on the white bonus die on the player’s turn, they are claimed by the player. If they are ever bumped by another player, the dice are returned to the owning player and held until it is their turn again.

Claimed cards are placed in front of the player, face-up, and the next card in the stack is flipped over and revealed.

Claimed cards are out of the game, unavailable to any other player, and held for scoring.

Bonus Die for the Win

The white bonus die is not added to the total dice rolled by the player. Instead, the die value of the bonus die can be used to replace any die value rolled. In this way, the player only ever has a total of 5 dice to stake a claim to cards or the white bonus dice on their turn.

For example, if the player rolled a “4” on the white bonus die, the player could use the value on the white die to change the value of any one die they wanted to a “4”. The bonus die is placed back in the playing area at the end of the player’s turn regardless if it is used or not.

Note that a  player cannot stake a claim to the bonus die on the same turn they use it.

End Game and Final Scoring

The game continues with each player taking a turn in clockwise order until one or more stacks have been depleted. Note that claiming the wild card in the center does not end the game! Once a stack has been depleted, all players immediately claim any cards their dice are still on, including the white bonus die.

Players count their points by first adding up all the points of each individual card as noted on the card’s face. Then the players put the cards into sets based on the card’s color. The higher number of cards in a set, the more the set is worth! In this way, each card can be counted twice. Once for their face value and once for being in a set.

The wild card can be added to any set and be counted as part of the set’s total number of cards. The white bonus die, if successfully claimed by a player when the game ends, is rolled and the resulting value is added to the player’s total score.

The player with the most points wins the game!

Learn more about the game and read the complete rules by visiting the game’s official web site on the Game Crafter. Optionally, you can visit the game’s new publisher’s web site, where the game’s title has changed to Roll’n Bump.

Prediction

Dice? Cards? Are you kidding? This is going to be as popular with my little geeks as sugared cereal! And not only my little geeks! Oh, no! This is exactly the type of game my wife and mom love to play, too! I have no doubt this game will be warmly welcomed by every member of my family simply based of what I have read about the game play and the game components.

Will it be as popular with the Gamer Geek crowd? Hmmm…tough call. Too early to tell yet and I’ll need several plays before I can even guess. Until then, there is much fun to be had with my immediate family!

Right off the bat, the little geeks swarmed around and claimed the colored dice. There is just something about the “feel” of dice in your hand that is welcoming. This is true for me as well as my 2-year-old who knew how to say “dice” before he could say “car”. How’s that for raising your little geek up right?

I let the little geeks have fun with the dice for as long as they wanted. Dice are a great way to get your little geeks excited about games and are practically worry free when it comes to game components and damage. I use the term “practically”, because dice are a potential choking hazard. Obviously, if your little geek is still fixated in putting anything and everything in their mouth, handing over a handful of dice is the wrong thing to do. But if they are well beyond that, giving them dice is sure to bring a smile to their face.

Dice games, such as Zombie Dice and FrankenDie, are HUGE hits with my little geeks and see a great deal of action during the weekend and on the occasional week night. The very fact that Shake Out! comes with dice immediately draws my little geeks’ attention. I didn’t have to wave any proverbial carrot to have them site down at the family table and teach them the game. There were all wide-eyed and smiles while I went through the simple rules of play.

After providing them with several examples and answered all their questions, we were ready to play! While I set up the playing area, I asked each little geek what they thought of the game so far.

“Great use of dice and cards! Looks a little like Poker, too.” ~ Liam (age 7)

“I like the dice and the cards. I like the dice better.” ~ Nyhus (age 4)

“DICE, DADDA!” ~ Ronan (age 2)

First off, I have no idea how my 7-year-old knows about Poker. The things kids pick up at school nowadays never ceases to amaze and horrify me. I’ll have to dig into the origins of my son’s uncanny card game knowledge at a later date. Until then, I am more than happy to focus on the very positive vibe I’m getting off my little geeks for this game! Let’s see if the vibe remains after a couple of plays.

Final Word

Of course, my 2-year-old could not play this game. Although, I am very proud to report his dice rolling skills are greatly improving. Who knew that such little hands could hold so much dice, shake them, and throw them across the room with such poise and accuracy? Seriously, that kid could bullseye a target at 20 paces with his arm. A bit terrifying, actually, but such reckless skill hasn’t cost me anything finacially…yet. Working on his muscle control and understanding that rolling dice is about rolling them in front of you is a work-in-progress.

My 4-year-old liked the game, but not enough to keep at it. He understood what needed to be done and the collecting of card colors and the number value of cards without issue. He even made some wonderful decisions and balanced risk vs. reward very well as he reviewed his dice and what cards were available to him. Ultimately, he just lost steam. I won’t say that Shake Out! is a game a 4-year-old cannot play. It’s just a game my 4-year-old doesn’t want to play. Your results will vary with your little geeks, I’m sure.

My 7-year-old was all over this game. I can see why the game publisher suggests 12+, but my 7-year-old can play the game very well. He’s just short of a card shark…or is it dice shark…in my opinion. He rolls like a champ and assigns the dice like a Boss. He hasn’t won yet, but he causes the other players much grief and keeps everyone on their toes.

The real success story for Shake Out! is with the Parent Geek crowd. This game was a great success and was played multiple times in a row! This is somewhat unheard of as my mother and wife tend to be somewhat drained after playing a game and like to call it quits. Not the case with Shake Out! As soon as the points were tallied and the winner declared, the cards were being reshuffled and the game reset!

The Gamer Geeks were mixed but the consensus was a very positive one. Positive enough to give it a Gamer Geek approved rating and even a game that all who played said they enjoyed. Just shy of being too light, I think, and fast enough where even the most elitist of game snobs won’t have time to get all sniffy about it. The collecting of cards and not just random dice assignment is what elevated the game from simple dice rolling to a resource management game, in my opinion. Players must make smart choices and assign their dice sometimes to low valued cards to get a strong set collection at the end of the game. There is also the element of offensive and defensive playing where it is worthwhile to bump a player off a card to ensure they don’t get the points.

My 7-year-old taunts his mother with dice in hand proving once again that boys and men have no common sense

Gamer Geeks, this is a light but very satisfying push-your-luck game with teeth and meaningful decisions to be made. You’ll be counting cards and offensively pushing off players as you play your dice as defensively as possible to secure your claim! If it weren’t for the “stabby” element of the game,  the set collecting, and resource management with your dice, this game would most certainly be a miss for Gamer Geeks. As it is, the game should prove to be a wonderful diversion and an excellent opener to a game night of heavier game playing.

Parent Geeks, this is a wonderful game that will challenge you and your little geeks. Math and pattern matching are a must but not to a point where a little geek cannot play effectively if they are still strengthening their math and matching skills. This game will also prove to be an excellent choice for family gatherings and parties with friends. Even non-gamers will enjoy this game as there is nothing introduced in the rules that is so outlandish or new to be difficult to grasp.

Child Geeks, roll those dice and claim those cards! It is a race, of sorts, but don’t go so fast that you trip up! The game should be played with every dice seen as a means to a possible end. There is no “bad” roll, but you will certainly get die values you don’t need. With a possible nine cards to claim and a white bonus die to grab, you’ll be hard pressed to not roll something of value each and every time. Watch your cards and your opponent’s and don’t be afraid to push your luck! Win or lose, you’re going to have a great time!

On a personal note, Shake Out! is something of a mystery to me. I have a very hard time clearly giving a reason why I enjoy the game. I can easily identify why others enjoy it, but for myself, there is not one single thing. I am and most likely always will be a fan of games that use dice, but I don’t care for games like Yahtzee. I like card games but am not overly excited about them. In fact, if you just took the game at face value, there isn’t anything about the game that I would get excited about. And yet, the game does excite me! Perhaps it is the element of risk that my staked claims can be taken from me at any time and I bite my nails nervously until my the turn returns to me. Perhaps it is the multiple paths to victory where I can go for high valued cards or go for the smaller ones and attempt to get points with sets? Still, it might just be because of the light rules and the fast game play. I really don’t know and odds are it is a little of everything. The end result is a fantastic game I eagerly look forward to playing and have enjoyed again and again. Do check this game out if it sounds right for you!

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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7 Responses to Shake Out! Game Review

  1. Wow Father Geek, thank you for the very positive review! I would like to point out a couple mis-interpreted rules though. I will be having a look at the rules tonight to see if I need to adjust my wording but for anyone checking out the comments here:
    1. You can stake a claim on a Singles card using any number of dice showing the correct face, not just one. This is relevant because you can also Bump someone from a Singles card using any number of dice showing the same face as long as it’s more dice that what was already there. It’s rare, though, given the low score of Single cards. But, I could put two 4s on a 4 card and have you Bump me use five 4s, for example.
    2. You can NOT stake a claim on the bonus die on the same turn your rolled it. You must place it back near the board and let someone else have a go at it.

    Otherwise, very thorough and informative and I’m glad your family is enjoying Shake Out!

    Louis
    louardongames.blogspot.com

  2. Tom says:

    I quite enjoyed this game when we were playtesting it. I see its role in the games arsenal of mature gamer geeks in three places:

    a) Light fodder that is fast to play, but as you indicate has enough strategic options to elevate it beyond just random luck, ahead of a longer game.

    b) If you are just having a night of small, short games, this one makes a good component of that night.

    c) As an end-of-games-night thing where you have played one or more other games and just don’t have the steam to start another 90 minute game, but don’t quite want to fold up shop yet. It’s fast and lets you wring the last ergs of your day’s gaming mojo out before calling it a night.

    Being the older gamer I am, I can imagine this as a social game at a party too. It could suck in both genders and varying ages with just enough complexity to not break non-gamer geeks brains, but enough to make the game a challenge.

  3. Alex Barker says:

    Great job Louis! Great review. It’s bang on for how I feel about the game.

  4. Carl Salminen says:

    Terrific review. I’ve seen lots of positive feedback about this game. I think (and hope) it’ll do quite well. Gotta love the quotes from the kids, too.

  5. Tavis says:

    I just wanted to mention a quick note about the 12+ age range. The reason for this is that 12+ is the lowest age range that we can support at The Game Crafter due to CPSIA regulations. For more information, visit: https://community.thegamecrafter.com/publish/production/cpsia

    Thanks!

  6. Pingback: Roll for It Game Review (prepublished version) » Father Geek

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