Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game Review

Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game is a game by Pat Marino, published by The Op. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players will take on the role of characters from the Cuphead video game as they try to make their way through each level. Players will need to work together and roll their dice as fast as possible if they hope to beat the timer and knockout the bosses. In the end, if the players are able to defeat the bosses and score a lot of points, they will be declared the winners and will earn the top score.

To begin, each player chooses one of the 4 characters and takes the corresponding player board, 5 regular Action dice and 1 EX Action die along with 3 health tokens. The player board is placed in front of the player and the health tokens are placed on their appropriate spaces on the player board. The Parry, Time and Coin tokens are placed in separate piles next to the Boss board which is placed in the middle of the play area. The Wallop cards are shuffled together and placed face down below the board under the Wallop space. The Boss deck is chosen and the materials removed from it’s corresponding box. It is recommended that players start with Box #1 on their first time playing the game. The deck of cards from the box is placed with on the table with the cover card face up. The cover card is then removed and reviewed for any additional rules or rules changes that may be introduced at this time. The Boss character card is then placed on the standee base and placed in the notch at the top of the Boss board. The health of the Boss is set on the Boss Health Dial based on the number of players. This number is located on the Boss card at the top. The Boss Health Dial is then placed in the notch below the Boss board. The “Phase I” Attack cards are removed from the deck up to where the King Dice card is that says, “Stop! Do not go any further.” The remaining cards are set off to the side for now. The “Phase I” Attack cards are then shuffled together to create a draw pile which is placed next to the Boss board on the left side beside the Draw space. Players will then decide how much of a challenge they want to make the game. They will choose a 10, 15 or 20 second timer by using the Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game timer and scoring companion app on their phone. This app is free to download on both the App store and Google Play. Once players are ready, play now begins.

The game is played over a series of rounds. Each round players will be playing simultaneously using the following 5 steps. First they will reveal the Attack cards. This is done by taking the top 3 Attack cards from the top of the Boss deck and placing them onto the empty spaces on the Boss board in the order drawn. If at least one of these cards shows a “Wallop”, then a fourth card is drawn and placed on the board. It should be noted that each of the Boss cards has 1 or 2 action icons on them that players must roll and assign to their player boards to avoid being hit, more on this in a bit.

The second step is to set and start the round timer. Players can use the app or a timer of their choosing, if they choose not to download the app, to set the timer for 10, 15 or 20 seconds. The same timer length must be used for the entire Boss deck. Once players are ready, the timer is started and the next step begins.

The third step is to roll and assign dice. Once the timer has begun, players will start rolling their dice. The player may reroll their dice as often and as quickly as they’d like. When rerolling, players must roll all the dice that are not assigned to their player boards. They may assign as many or as few dice as they’d like to their player board. Each pair of spaces on the player board corresponds to the Attack cards in play. If only 3 Attack cards are used then the fourth pair of spaces are not used. Players must assign their dice from left to right in Attack card order. Once a die is assigned to the player’s board, it may not be removed or changed in any way. Once the player has begun to assign dice to the next card, they can not go back and assign more dice to a previous card. If an Attack card requires two dice actions, then the player may assign two dice from the same roll or from separate rolls just as long as they’re assigned before moving to the next card. Players have the option of skipping difficult cards in order and moving to the next set of spaces to save themselves from being hit by all 3 cards. By assigning the corresponding dice, players are able to dodge the attacks from the Boss. If they wish to attack the Boss they must assign an extra die showing the “shoot” icon. Players can only assign these attacks to Attack cards that have only 1 required action. These attacks are only effective if the Attack card was successfully dodged before the timer goes off. It should be noted that some Attack cards require a “shoot” action. This does not damage the Boss. It only means that the attack was dodged. An additional “shoot” die must be assigned to cause damage. EX Attacks are special attacks that can be triggered with the EX die. These abilities are described on the player board and on various weapon cards. Wallops allow a player to assign the diamond icon to this space to draw a Wallop card once the Attack is resolved. They may also assign an optional shoot icon to attack the Boss. Some attack cards will provide an opportunity for the player to gain a Parry token. If the player is able to dodge these attacks they gain a Parry token once the Attack is resolved. A player may spend 1 of these to revive another player that has lost all of their health. They may also be used for certain abilities as indicated on certain cards.

The fourth step is to resolve boss attack cards. Once the timer ends, players may then assign their dice from their final roll, following placement rules. The Boss attack cards are then resolved from left to right. Each card is resolved for all players before moving to the next card. If the player assigned the correct dice to their player board to dodge an attack, then they do not take any damage. If they didn’t or they assigned the wrong dice, then they will take 1 damage for that card, removing a health token from their player board. If an additional shoot die was assigned to the attack card, then the Boss takes 1 damage which is tracked via the Boss Health Dial. Other types of attacks may increase the amount of damage dealt.

The final step is to clear attack cards. At this time, players will check to see if the Boss has any remaining health. If so, then the current Attack cards are discarded and another turn is played starting from step 1. If the Boss still has health but their deck of Attack cards have been depleted, then these cards are reshuffled and a Time token is taken by the players, affecting their final score. If the Boss has been reduced to 0 health, then the Boss card is set aside, along with all of that phase’s Attack cards. This happens immediately after resolving the Attack card that defeated the Boss. The next phase is the begun by removing the King Dice “Stop” card. The Boss card for the next phase is placed in the standee base. The Boss Health Dial is reset to the appropriate starting number. The new phase’s Boss Attack cards are taken from the deck and shuffled together. The top 3 cards are then revealed and the attack continues. Health is not refilled for players at this time, but any Parry tokens or Wallop cards earned are kept. If the Knockout card is revealed by removing the King Dice card, then the players have successfully defeated the Boss. This card indicates how may coins each player will earn for victory. Coins are used between battles to upgrade their equipment.

It should be noted that if a player loses all of their health, then they must discard any remaining Parry tokens that they have. A partner may spend a Parry token to revive that player. The returning player is then revived with 1 health and rejoins the battle at the start of the next round. If another player has no Parry tokens to revive them with, then the game is over and the players have lost. All Wallop cards and Parry tokens are discarded and the players must start over at the beginning of Phase 1 of the Boss battle. Players return to full health at this time.

The game continues until the Boss has been knocked out. Once this is done, the players must determine the grade for their performance by using the scoring tool in the app or using the chart on the back of the rulebook. Once the total score has been determined, players will use the results on the back of the rulebook to determine their final grade, based on player count. Players can then move on to the next numbered Boss or may replay any previously beaten Boss decks using any upgraded equipment that they’ve earned to try and improve their score. All of the player’s progress may be saved on the pad of Save sheets, provided in the box.

COMPONENTS
This is a cute and fun looking game that’s full of tons of bits and pieces. There are lots of cardboard pieces, dice and cards. The game comes with 4 different player boards, each based on a different character from the Cuphead universe. These are nice and sturdy and the artwork is big, bold and fun. The Boss board is a thick cardboard piece for you to place the battle cards as you play the game. It’s also quite thick and sturdy. There are health tokens, parry tokens, coin tokens and time tokens which are also made of cardboard. The health tokens are square with the letters HP on them. The parry tokens look like a hand moving, while the coins look like golden coins. The time tokens are hourglasses with arms and legs which fit in with the design of the game, as do all of the different token types. The game also comes with a boss health dial that are two cardboard pieces that are already assembled to be able to rotate to keep up with the health of the current boss. This piece reminds me of the dials for games like Lord of the Rings the card game and Star Wars the card game. There are also a lot of dice that are included with the game. There are 20 action dice that are in 4 different colors which match up with the character’s player board color. There are also 4 black EX action dice that also correspond with the color of the player boards. These have various icons which take a bit of getting used to. However once you’ve played the game a time or two you’ll remember what each icon means. The game comes with a pad of save sheets for keeping up with your score for each of the different bosses, as well as a plastic stand to place the boss character card in. Speaking of cards, there are lots of different card types in each of the different Boss boxes, as well as a selection of Wallop cards. There are 8 tuck boxes for the different levels/bosses. Each tuck box comes with cover cards, character cards, attack cards, stop cards featuring King Dice, knockout cards and Porkrind’s emporium cards for upgrade your character. The artwork and style of these fit in with the art style of the rest of the game and really pull off the feel of the video game. I absolutely love the artwork of this game. Finally there are 4 larger super art envelopes that contain super art cards. Each of these can be opened once a specific situation arises, such as earning an A+ on an aeroplane level or completing a level with full health. There are a few other components but I’ll leave those for you to uncover yourself, as they don’t appear until later boss boxes are opened. I can completely say that I love the way this game looks and feels, as well as how it makes me feel. It definitely reminds me of those old cartoons from way back in the day that I would sometimes catch on those cable channels early in the morning. The quality of the components are top notch and I was very pleased with how well everything was designed. Overall I’m overjoyed with the components.

9 out of 10

RULEBOOK
The rulebook is well written and is laid out in a very easy to read and understand way. There are plenty of pictures and examples throughout the book, which is very helpful in learning the game. The setup process is explained in a step by step process, as is the gameplay itself. The book even has rules for playing the game solo. There are some extra sections included in the book that more thoroughly explain the Wallop cards and the Super Arts and Charms envelopes, that I didn’t go into during the overview. There’s also a section for resetting a Boss deck. The back cover has step by step look at this as well, with pictures. There’s also the results section with letter grades from A+ to F for grading your performance. Overall I think the book does a very good job of explaining everything. It looks great and doesn’t take a long time to read over either. I’m very pleased with the look and feel of it.

9 out of 10

GAMEPLAY
The game itself is a bit of a toss up for me. While I love the look and feel of the game, I’m not particularly crazy about the real time aspect of it at all. Originally I thought this would be one that would have players going back and forth taking turns rolling their dice in a Yahtzee way. That is to say, three rolls and you’re done. You can keep any dice you like and reroll the rest until you take that final roll. Instead this game goes down the quickly roll and make a split second decision on what you’ll keep and what you won’t path. Of course if you want to have a few extra seconds, you’re able to do that but you won’t get any bonuses if you go for the 20 second timer. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea and the concept but I don’t like the real time dice rolling. I get that it’s supposed to be mirroring the same idea and gameplay as the video game and that’s fine. For me and my family, it just doesn’t work. We love dice rolling games like King of Tokyo, Elder Sign and CV. The Yahtzee style mechanics of those hit that sweet spot for us. This real time mechanic was one reason that I got rid of Steam Park. Granted this one has ways to upgrade your character and lots of fun unlockables that I enjoy, like in the Harry Potter Hogwart’s Battle game. This is one thing I definitely enjoyed. I like working your way up against more bosses and unlocking more boxes. That’s a pretty cool idea. I guess that’s why I say it’s a toss up for me. There are things that I really liked and enjoy and others that I don’t. Honestly I guess it’s up to the specific player to make the call for this one. If you like fast rolling real time dice games, then you’ll most likely enjoy this one. It does have a lot to enjoy. If you don’t like that and prefer turn based dice rolling, then this might not be the game for you. I have seen some house rules where players are able to us a specific number of rolls for each difficulty level. I think that’s not a bad idea and it definitely helps me enjoy the game a bit more. Overall I think that this is one that I’m okay with. It’s a good game and has a lot of potential for the right players. We just couldn’t get past the fast rolling dice, so we’ve turned to the house rules instead. This is one that I’d say try it out or watch some videos of the gameplay. If it looks like something you’d enjoy then I say go for it.

8 out of 10

OVERALL
Cuphead: Fast Rolling Dice Game is a real time dice rolling game based on the Cuphead video game. The game doesn’t take very long. Most game sessions last around 20-30 minutes. The components of the game are great quality and lots of fun to look at and play with. I love the art style and find the retro style to be very nostalgic. The rulebook is also well designed. It explains everything in a very thorough way and even comes with rules for solo play, which I’m a big fan of. The game itself was a little less thrilling for me. I didn’t really like the real time dice rolling aspect of the game. I personally would have preferred something more mechanically like Yahtzee. While it does give you that fast paced quick decision feel that is synonymous with the video game, it just felt too tense to me and my family. That’s not to say that it’s not a good game though. I do see the merits of this type of game and how well it could work for the right players. Thankfully the house rules that I found online helped out a good bit making it a bit more enjoyable for us. Playing it by the rules, you’ll find that It’s definitely a fast rolling dice game in every meaning of the words. It’s fast, tense and can be frustrating. Fans of these types of games might find this one to be right up their alley. Overall this is one that I’d recommend trying first to see if you like it. If you do, there’s plenty of bosses and boxes to uncover and explore. Check it out, you might enjoy it.

8 out of 10

For more information about this and other great games, please check out The Op at their site.

https://theop.games/

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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