Deer in the Headlights, from University Games‘ Front Porch Classics brand, is fun and easy. The object of the game is to be the first player to run out of cards in each round, but players must be careful: rolling a deer in the headlights symbol on the dice could slow down their progress. The game is designed for two or more players ages 5 and up and it’s easy for kids to learn, so the whole family can get in on the fun!
To play, all of the cards in the two decks are dealt out evenly among the players. Each player takes a turn rolling all three dice. Players then match up the symbols (numbers, a car, a running deer, or a deer in the headlights) and match the combination to the included chart. Players then follow the instructions on how many cards to discard either to the center pile or to their opponents. The first player to run out of cards win the round, and the other players tally up the points remaining in their hand according to the number value on the cards. The game is over when a player receives 150 points. At that point, the player with the lowest score wins.
At first the chart of combinations is a bit daunting, but after a few rounds of play, older players will be able to pick up on the patterns and memorize them quickly. In just two rounds of play, the group I was with had the chart memorized between us. Although the game may be easier if each player had their own individual chart to reference, having to share doesn’t slow the game down (and it even encourages a bit of cooperative play). The packaging is absolutely adorable—the outside of the box features a cute graphic of the deer in the headlights. The game can be as fast- or slow-paced as the players desire, making it a great game for low-key group hangouts.