Friday, April 29, 2016

LIE - a whole lot of fun and laughter in some tiny cards

Out of all the Pack O Game series, LIE was the one that interested me the least. It just looked like a Liar's Dice variant. Plus, I was primarily interested in the series with an eye for two players and it looked particularly weak for two-players.

However, when I had the chance to play it with more players at the Rincon Fundraiser, I took it. And everyone had a blast.

Short version for anyone who wants to stop reading now, Liar's Dice is a lot of fun which makes variants of it a lot of fun too.

Like every game in the series, LIE consist of thirty skinny little cards. On each end of every card, there is a picture of a six-sided die face with every pip appearing ten times throughout the entire deck. Out of all the games the series, LIE is easily the plainest one artwise, looking pretty drab compared to the very artistic SHH. However, it does the trick.

At the start of the game, everyone is dealt out five cards. Each player then decides what die they'll use on each card. The way the cards are designed, if you hold them fan-style, you'll cover up the dice that you're not using.

Now, if you're even vaguely aware of how Liar's Dice works, you know what comes next.

The starting player makes a bid in the form of a number and pip of dice, like four ones or three sixes. They are betting that there is that number of that pip spread throughout everyone's hands.

The next player has a choice. They can either raise the bid or they can call the last players, saying they are a liar. Everyone's hand is revealed in that case and you find out who was right. Whoever was wrong is dealt one less card in the next hand.

When someone is all out of cards, whoever is left with the most cards is the winner. 

In other words, almost exactly like Liar's Dice.

There are a couple of variants that come in the rules, like playing until last man (or woman) standing. The interesting one is having ones be wild UNLESS the opening bid is for ones. For what it's worth, I have seen those variants with regular Liar's Dice as well.

There is no denying that Liar's Dice is a great, fun game. One way or another, it's been around for generations. You can finds versions played all over the globe. It's a classic and it'll be around for generations to come.

And I do think that Liar's Dice is a better game than LIE. Using actual dice creates more interesting odds and situations. Plus, there's no denying that rolling all those dice is exciting and fun. We are taking about a game that started out as a serious gambling game but works great as a party game.

However, what I didn't anticipate is that even though LIE isn't as good as a truly great game has been vindicated  by history and played on every continent except Antarctica (and I might be wrong about Antarctica), LIE is still a very good game. Holding it up to a such high standard turned out to make me not realize that LIE could still be good.

LIE's big twist, of course, is that allows for a measure of hand management. In some ways, that mixes up the way that being a deck of dice flattens the odds. With some groups, it might actually flatten the odds even more but it really does open the doors to some mind games. I even know some folks that might think that makes it better than Liar's Dice but I wouldn't go that far.

Now, I do own a good copy of Liar's Dice with color coordinated cups and dice. And if I know that it was going to get played, I'd pack it. But LIE is not just a game that takes up no room, it's part of a set of games that has become my default travel choice. LIE is a game I can easily have on me.

LIE takes Liar's Dice and makes it even more portable. It adds some control, allowing for interesting choices with the bluffing. Most importantly, it's a really fun game. I'm glad I gave it a real chance and found out that it's a strong part of Pack O Games.

No comments:

Post a Comment