Square Shooters is a unique dice & card game that features a complete set of playing cards on a set of nine patented dice. Published by Heartland Consumer Products / C.J. Calvert Designs. I came across this game in the toys and games section of my local department store, so it seems to be widely available. I was intrigued by the packaging and concept and decided give it a try.
I love these dice. To have a complete set of 52 playing cards plus Jokers on a set of nine dice provides interesting possibilities for a variety of games that could be played. The basic set comes with the nine dice, 42 game cards and 100 scorekeeping chips. Instructions included list a number of games with rules that can be played with the dice and game cards.
To play the Straight Shooters game, the chips are set aside in a chip “bank” and the deck of cards shuffles a set in the center of the table. The object of the game is to have the most chips at the end of eight rounds of play.
On their turn a player draws and turns over a card from the deck. If a “target card” is drawn, that player has three rolls of the dice to match the hand(s) shown. For example, the target card may say, “Win 4 chips for any Full House or 8 chips for this hand” and shows a specific Full House hand (2 of Clubs, 2 of Spades; Jack of Spades, Jack of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds). If the player matches either the type of hand or the exact hand shown the win the amount of chips indicated on the card. If the player matches the hand on the first or second roll the get a five chip bonus. After play, the card is discarded and play continues to the left.
There are also eight “shootout” cards in the deck: Double Down; Quick Draw; Showdown and Joker cards. All of these cards (except the Showdown cards) can be kept and used at another time, and another card is drawn and played by that player.
When a Showdown card is drawn, the player chooses another player to a three-roll “showdown” for the best hand by rank: Royal Flush through Two Pairs . The winner takes five chips from the losing player’s chips.
Play continues until eight rounds have been played and each player totals their chips. Although the rules do not specifically say how to keep track of the eight hands played, we found it easy enough to keep track on a notepad.
Recommended for ages 8 and older, the instructions for Square Shooters also include multiple variations of the basic rules that can make the game different or more interesting for the players. There are also rules for a version of Twenty-One (Blackjack) and Rummy where the players use the dice plus a notepad and pencil to complete “sets” and “runs”. The game’s designers seem to encourage using your imagination and exploring the possibilities of different games that could be played using the dice. My only complaint with the set is that the large size of the nine dice, plus the stack of mini cards that come with is keep it from being a “pocket” game, it is still compact enough to take on a trip or camping to play with friends and family. While we have not tried to invent or play other card games with the dice yet, I have thought that with multiple sets it could make an interesting game of Liar’s Dice.