18 November 2019
A whole game based on the idea turns out to be just as silly and enjoyable as you’d hope.
There’s an ineffable joy to finger guns, isn’t there? Pointing your index finger at someone and saying “Bang” is gleefully childish – as it turns out, a whole game based on the idea turns out to be just as silly and enjoyable as you’d hope.
Finger Guns expands your armament from the classic single-shot digit with an array of satisfying hand-to-hand weapons. You can rock devil horns to lob dynamite at your neighbours, order up health-restoring vittles with a number of fingers (match someone else and no-one gets to drink), fire off a five-fingered power shot (no, not like that) or lasso an ally card from the middle of the table for an instant or ongoing effect, as long as you’re the only person twirling their fist.
What makes Finger Gun work as a game is that there’s order to its chaos. Everyone reveals their choice at once, but different weapons can cancel later actions in the hierarchy – so your power shot is wasted if you get blown up. The chance to turn a thumbs-up into a posse-up and damage multiple players as long as you can convince most of the group to join you makes for some fun shifting alliances and broken promises. It’s silly, but not stupid – as the ability for eliminated players to gang up as ghosts and take revenge on the living together proves.
Finger Guns’ gameplay is as well-worn as its western theme. It’s Rock, Paper, Wizard without the revolving spellbook of hand gestures and race to get to the treasure; Bang minus the social deduction and stack of cards; Cash ‘n Guns sans the cash (or guns). But there’s a simplicity to Finger Guns that makes it such an obvious crowdpleaser – you could lay down the player aid with the list of gestures in front of almost any player and have them instinctively know how to play.
This simplicity is the game’s greatest strength and most notable weakness (other than the naff slider clips used to track health). For some, the relatively straightforward approach to fingergunning down your friends won’t have enough to sustain more than a couple plays. For most, this will quickly join the ranks of quick-draw party favourites to pull out when you want to have some laughs with friends and not think too much. And to be honest, if you can't abide pointing at things and going “Bang” every now and then, maybe you need a little more silliness in your life.
PLAY IT? PROBABLY
Designer: John Velgus
Artist: Daniel Solis
This review originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.