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Kill Shot from Dan Verssen Games

By James Jester
Published: April 13, 2012

Product: Self-ascribed as "the counter-terrorism party game," Kill Shot is a fast-paced card game released by Dan Verssen Games. It comes with 110 cards (a 100-card tactical deck and 10 terrorist cards) and a single sheet of rules which concisely explain the game and list several optional rules.

The cards are printed on good, glossy stock and have a simple card layout. A glossy graphical element applied to some areas of the tactical cards can make distinguishing some player colors a problem when playing with the optional rules.

Kill Shot is a speed card game broken down into multiple "hunts" for known terrorists. Every hunt is pretty straightforward: Each player is dealt six cards face down, and the top terrorist card is flipped up; after someone yells out "3, 2, 1, GO!" players begin playing cards as fast as possible into a single common pile in order from one to nine. Players are only allowed to play values equal to the current top card or one higher. All the while, players are calling out card titles, shouting "Reloading!" whenever they draw more cards, or playing a couple special cards to wreak havoc on their opponents’ plans. When a player finally plays a 9 card — it is called a "kill shot" — that player takes the terrorist card for victory points and the current hunt ends. After all the terrorists have been hunted down, the game ends, and whoever has the most victory points at the end wins.

Unfortunately, the standard game as written lacks real depth, with the ultimate winning move to be to hold on to a 9 and wait for an 8 to be played. Some of the terrorist cards do have special abilities that affect play from round to round, but it isn’t enough to add much variety to the game.

Luckily, the rules also come with two play variants. One variation changes the scoring mechanism, and the other changes the whole experience into a turn-based card game, both of which have a maximum of five players. The standard game also has several optional rules, all of which add a little variety and potential tactical play to the experience. It would have been nice if DVG had included many of the "optional" rules into the standard rule set, especially since the overall theme rules it out as a "family-friendly" game, thus eliminating need for overly simplistic gameplay.

Even though it claims to be a party game, Kill Shot doesn’t really fit the bill. Although it may meet player limit requirements with just the base rules, the game itself will probably not be satisfactory for a party game. Once you add in enough optional rules to make it interesting, it will only support five players, making it difficult to break out at many parties (at least ones I attend).

However, Kill Shot works well as a short filler game, given the right group of players and enough optional rules in play. There are plenty of other quick-playing card games that can be sold alongside, such as Poo, Nuts, Dutch Blitz or Blink, even though none really have much in common thematically. It would also make sense to sell it beside any of the other titles by DVG, most of which either have a similar war theme or are similarly-sized card games.

When talking up the game, be up-front about the base rules, and encourage customers to play with several of the optional rules. You may have your own favorite set you’d like to share, but personally I found the use of the "Tactical Engagement" game type and the "Reign of Terror" optional rule to be sufficient, with "Night Mission" thrown in for more scrambling gameplay.

Product: Kill Shot
Maker: Dan Verssen Games
Stock number: 32045
MSRP: $24.99
Availability: ACD Games

• Speedy gameplay, cool theme
• Optional rules enhance play
• Works best as a short filler game