You're running late for work so you rush to your local convenience store to grab some breakfast. Turns out tho' that you're not alone: it's one of those days where everyone is doing the same so you're competing for the breakfast food on offer. That's the premise for Steve Ng's Check Out! from Mercat Games. It's a real-time dice-rolling game for 2-6 players and it comes tightly packed in a bite-size box with with art by Le Delicatessen.
There are no turns in Check Out! You roll your five six-sided dice, allocate them if you can to items in the shop, and re-roll. You don't have to wait for others to roll their dice. Speed games obviously favour those with quick reactions but there's an in-built catch-up mechanic here because when you allocate your dice you have fewer dice left to re-roll: opponents who've yet to spend their dice have more chance of getting what they need to nab what's left. Tho' you're competing, and it can be quite frenetic, especially at higher player counts, the set up means there are quite a lot of items up for sale (two per player), the majority of which require two dice, so there's only a slim chance you'll be left with nothing. You can re-roll as many times as you like but you can't pick and choose which dice you re-roll: you have to re-roll all of your unallocated dice.
The breakfast items all have a victory point value (3 for one-die items; 5 for two-dice items and 7 for items that demand three dice) but their background colour (red for meals, yellow for snacks and green for drinks) is also significant because there's an end-game set collection bonus of three points for each set of all three colours. From our Board's Eye View plays, it seemed to us that the one-die items were over-valued at 3 points while the 7 points for the three-dice items seemed overly parsimonious.
You don't have to spend all your dice on the breakfast items. At any point you can move your unused dice and place them in the check out queue. There you can buy promotional items that are up for sale. These have a cost in dice but without regard to their numerical values, but they may also be available at a discount price or even free if you've previously grabbed a corresponding meal, snack or drink card. Any dice that aren't spent on promo items earn a coin. That's worth a point but coins can also be spent in the final 'bonus' round to buy dice, which otherwise aren't available in that round.
Check Out! then delivers a good mix of frenetic dice-rolling and strategy. There are decisions to be taken over whether or not to pick up promo items or collect coins to buy dice in the bonus round: you're not just mindlessly rolling dice, Check Out! gives you something to chew on! And, equally appropriate for the theme, Check Out! is a filler-length game that's unlikely to take more than 10 minutes or so to play.
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