Living Well Is the Best Revenge Review

Living Well Is the Best Revenge is a game by Mataio Wilson, published by Cryptozoic Entertainment. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be trying to overcome the bullies and tormentors in their life by unlocking their inner abilities and burying their enemies under a pile of points. In the end, the player that can live their best life and rise to the top by scoring the most points will be declared the winner.

To begin, the reroll tokens are placed within reach of all players. Each player chooses a color and receives the player board, player token, 10 ability cards and 2 dice of their chosen color. Players will then take their ability cards and arrange them in a row in front of themself going from left to right from 1 to 10. Each card is placed with the “locked” side face up. Players will then take a corresponding black power die and place it with their other dice. They also will take a yellow/gold power die and place it on their #10 ability card. Each player takes a reroll token and play now begins.

The game is played over 3 rounds. Each round consists of a number of turns. On the first turn of each round, all players will roll and resolve their dice at the same time. This only happens on the first turn. After that, players will take turns resolving their dice individually. On the first turn, players will roll their 2 colored player dice and will unlock their first set of abilities, more on this in a bit. Once this is done the player that rolled the lowest total on their dice becomes the first player. On a player’s turn, they will follow 4 steps. The first step is to roll their dice. This time, the player will roll both of their player dice and their power die. The other players will also roll their power die. It should be noted that if a player has unlocked their #10 ability, then they will gain an extra yellow power die to roll. In the next step, the opponents will gain 1 point for each of their power dice that matches with any of the player’s dice and that also matches one of their unlocked abilities. The opponent will need both to match to gain a point. Each power die that they roll can earn up to 1 point. For the next step, the player can use any of their unlocked abilities. For the numbers 1-6, the ability can only be used if it matches their rolled power dice. For the numbers 7-9, these can be used once per turn to modify the player’s dice total, allowing them to unlock new abilities. This brings us to the last step. Once the player has finished using abilities, then they will add up the numbers on their player dice to determine their player dice total, applying any modifiers from unlocked ability cards. The player will then choose a combination of their locked ability cards that add up to exactly their player dice total and unlock them by flipping the card over. Only cards that have not been unlocked may be chosen. If the player can’t unlock any cards because they don’t have locked cards that add up to their dice total, then they are knocked out and are out of the round. This ends the player’s turn. If the player has been knocked out, they’re not allowed to take any further turns for the rest of the round and must be skipped until the round ends. However they will still roll their power dice on their opponent’s turns to try and score points. Unlocking the #2 ability card will grant the player a reroll token, which can be used to reroll a player die at any time, before unlocking any new abilities. Anytime a reroll token is used, it is returned to the supply. Once a player has completed their turn, then play passes to the next player to continue the round.

The round continues until one player has unlocked all 10 of their ability cards or all but one player has been knocked out. If a player ends the round by unlocking all 10 of their abilities, then they will earn bonus points by rolling all 4 of their dice and scoring points equal to the total. If the round ends because one person was left standing while the others were all knocked out, then that player will roll 2 dice and score the total. If this isn’t the end of the third round, then a new round begins. All players will flip over their unlocked abilities to the locked side and return their yellow power die to the #10 card, if they’d unlocked it during the round. All players will then start a simultaneous turn just like the previous round.

At the end of the third round, the game ends. Each player will flip over any of their unused reroll tokens to score an additional 2 points for each, adding them to the point total. The players check their scores and the player with the most points is the winner.

The game consists of a stack of ability cards in 4 different player colors that match with the 4 colored player boards. There are also a stack of reroll tokens and a whole bunch of dice of different colors. The ability cards are large tarot sized cards and are double sided with artwork on both sides. The finish on the cards are similar to linen finish with a satin like feel to them. The artwork is like all the other Steven Rhodes style games and has that whole 80’s vibe to it. It’s very sassy and silly but I really like it. The reroll tokens and the player boards are all thick cardboard. The boards are especially thick and solid. There’s not much to these but they get the job done and keep everything organized as far as keeping up with the score. The dice are all colored. There are 2 dice of every player color with white pips, 1 black power die with player color pips and 1 yellow die with player colored pips for the #10 card. Every player color has a set of these. In my game, the yellow dice are actually gold. I have to say that I quite like the gold dice. It feels like you’ve actually accomplished something when you’re able to unlock that die to roll. Needless to say, I really like the components for this one. Everything looks great and it works really well with the game. The theming and mood of everything fits perfectly. It’s definitely a good looking game.
9 out of 10

The rulebook is very similar to those of the other games in the Steven Rhodes volume 2 trilogy. Like all the others in this series, this book is 10 pages long. The first pages gives an overview of the game and goes over the component list. The next 7 pages explain the setup and cover all the rules in a step by step manner. The last couple of pages clarify some things about the game and explain the different abilities of the 10 cards. There are lots of examples and plenty of pictures throughout the book. I think the book does a great job explaining the rules and everything is very simple to understand. Pretty much the only thing bad about the whole thing is the use of black pages with white writing instead of the normal other way around. I’m not a big fan of these types of rulebooks as the pages tend to smudge and show fingerprints and such a lot easier than normal pages. Didn’t like this in any of the other Cryptozoic games and don’t like it on this one either. Not a major issue but simply a pet peeve of mine. Other than that, the rulebook is great and looks good.
9 out of 10

When I first saw this game, my mind immediately went to the scene in “The Neverending Story,” where Bastian rides the Luck Dragon to scare the bullies so badly that they jump into the dumpster. Take that and roll in some feelings of the game Machi Koro and you’ll have this game. Each round you’ll be rolling dice and trying to unlock cards in your tableau to score points. There are some strategies to this and a bit of manipulation of the dice, but there’s not much more than that to the game. I know some people would think that this sounds completely boring and dull, but that’s not the case at all. I actually enjoy this game quite a lot. Figuring out which cards to unlock is the key. Of course the game does have a good bit of luck from the dice rolls, but this is easily mitigated with the abilities of the larger numbered cards. Being able to unlock your extra power die is also a good thing as it can help you get more points rather quickly. The main thing is just to try and maximize your points as best as possible. This game does a lot of things right and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. It’s a quick and easy to play dice rolling game that is fun for the entire family. Unlike some of the other games in the series, this is one that even the younger players could enjoy, as long as you’re good with the artwork. For me, I found the game to be a great filler game that is easy to get to the table. It’s one that I think a lot of gamers and players will enjoy. The dice rolling reminds me of Machi Koro. Fans of that dice roller should enjoy this one too. It’s easily a game that I can highly recommend. It is quick and simple enough that I can play it while waiting to play a larger, heavier game. It’s very entertaining and scratches that nostalgia itch as well. Needless to say, it’s really good.
9 out of 10

Living Well Is the Best Revenge is a dice rolling game of living your best life. The game doesn’t last very long. Most games last around 15 minutes or so. The components are top notch and the artwork is silly and fun. The rulebook is well designed and easy to read and understand. The game itself is lots of fun. It’s fairly simple and easy to play but has enough strategy that even hardcore gamers can enjoy. It’s sold as a game for players 14 and up but I think if parents are good with the artwork then the game could be played with even younger players. I don’t really see anything that’s overly difficult for them to understand. The game does have a good bit of luck but some of the cards help take care of this so it’s nothing to worry about. It bears some striking familiar chords to the game Machi Koro for me, so I think that fans of that game would enjoy this one too. Honestly I think it’s one that everyone will enjoy. Overall I really like the game and I highly recommend it. It’s definitely one that you will find hits your table again and again. It’s just that much fun.
9 out of 10

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

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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