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Run! It’s ‘Bears!': A Review

by October 18, 2011

Game NameBears!

Publisher: Fireside Games

Designer:Anne-Marie De Witt

Year: 2011

Players: 2 – 4

Ages: 7+

Playing Time: 20 Minutes

Retail Price: $19.95

Category: Dice Game

Components:

  • 20 Camp Dice
  • 20 Player Dice
  • Rules
  • 4 Scoring Aids
  • Box to roll the dice in

From Fireside Games:

Bears! is an exciting dice game for 2 to 4 players ages 7 and up.

Bears! is a fast-playing, competitive game in which you score points by pairing dice. Shoot bears and run from tents for a few points, or take a risk and score big by sleeping through the attack! But watch out! If Bears are left­ at the end of the round, your sleeping campers are done for!

A frantically risky dice-pairing frenzy!

Bears! is the newest offering from Fireside Games, apart from the imminent release of the Wizard’s Tower expansion to Castle Panic. It is a simple dice game in which players are racing against each other to score the most points by combining dice before the dice are gone and someone yells “Bears!”.

The game comes with 20 player dice, each displaying icons of sleeping campers, running campers, or a gun. Each player receives five player dice at the start of the game.

There are also 20 camp dice, and each has icons with bears and tents on them. You use five of these dice for each player in the game.

To being a round you throw the camp dice in the box and roll them, and each player also rolls their own player dice at the same time. Once the box lid comes off, the players start pairing their dice with the camp dice. Pairing a gun with a bear will net you one point. Pairing a runner with a tent will get you two points. Pairing a sleeper with a tent will get you five points, but if the round ends with a bear die left over, then all sleeper combinations get minus five points, obviously because the bears eat them.

The round continues until either all of the tents are gone or all of the bears are gone from the pool. When this happens, a player yells “Bears!” and no one can take any more dice. Each player totals up their points for the round and records them on a sheet of paper or whatever. The dice are rerolled and another round begins. Play continues until a player reaches 100 points and wins the game (or you can play a shorter game up to 50 if you wish).

One note, you can reroll your player dice whenever you wish, but never a die that you have already paired off with one of the camp dice.

This is a light, fun dice game that is great for the family. The rules say ages 7 and up, but it could easily be played by smart younger players. The fun comes in everyone scrambling for the different dice and then yelling “Bears!” to the dismay of the rest of the group.

What’s funny is that I could easily see this game being taken on a camping trip for a thematic game experience in the great outdoors. I’d say probably not in areas where you might actually see a bear though.

The dice faces are etched and seem like they will stand up to a lot of rolling, and the box is sturdy and makes sufficient noise when rolling the dice in it to please my four year old daughter. The rules don’t actually say to use the box to roll the dice, but it seems tailor made for that purpose.

There is also another variant in the rules to make scoring and playing even easier, which would help the youngest campers. You can easily play with more players by simply getting another copy of the game.

Overall, it’s a nice way to warm up a family game night or a camping trip. I’d love to see them release a version with UFOs instead of bears, which would be nice and creepy to play on a camping trip, with no possible irony of being abducted by actual UFOs while playing (well, less of a chance than being eaten by bears anyway).

Details
Title

Bears

Publisher

Fireside Games

Badges
Pros

Light, fun game for the family. Short playtime, easy rules, and high quality dice. Low price point.

Cons

I couldn’t see sitting around with a gaming group and playing Bears! Maybe if I came up with a drinking variant the game could go along on a guys camping trip. There are guns on the dice, which represents shooting the bears. So if you don’t want your kids playing with gun dice, then you're really sensitive and just get Yahtzee instead.

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Overall, it’s a nice way to warm up a family game night or a camping trip. I’d love to see them release a version with UFOs instead of bears, which would be nice and creepy to play on a camping trip, with no possible irony of being abducted by actual UFOs while playing (well, less of a chance than being eaten by bears anyway).

7.0
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Elliott Miller
Elliott is well versed in all subjects and brings his expertise to bear on strategy, family, and Euro-style gaming.

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