No matter how we try, every bag of popcorn always ends up with at least a few un-popped kernels. Bummer, right? But what if more kernels meant more points? Well, they do in Kernel, a pop-tastic dice game! Let’s check it out!

What Is It?

A push your luck dice game. Players roll 2 d6 dice on their turn to start building up points (equal to their roll) until someone reaches 100, which triggers the round end. You can choose to end your turn after any roll and bank your points, but not if you bust!

Your turn ends if you roll a 1, losing you any points you rolled so far that round, and 1 of your kernel points. If you roll double 1’s you lose 4 kernel points and have to reset your round score to zero. If any other doubles are rolled players rush to grab the corn cob from the center of the table to earn a bonus kernel. Players also earn bonus kernels when they roll any 6’s.

At the end of a round, the player with the most points wins more kernels. After 3 (or more) rounds, the player with the most kernels wins the game!

Who Is It For?

  • 2 or more players – Score card has room for 14
  • Ages 6 and up
  • Groups that like a small rule set and don’t mind heavy luck
  • Fans of pushing their luck


  • Quality – Everything is good quality, no complaints. The kernels in particular are great. They’re a unique component and they have a nice look/feel. The corn cob is also a nice quality squishy stress ball.
  • Aesthetics – Nice cover art on the bag
  • Turns are very quick
  • The mini speed game of grabbing the corn cob is a nice touch to keep players paying attention on everyone’s turns
  • Can be used to help younger audiences learn counting


  • I don’t like that you can immediately lose your turn after one roll, and you have to lose a kernel point too. Worse yet, if you roll double 1’s you lose all your round points, and 4 kernel points, which is huge (it happened to me twice in one game on my first roll).
  • Comes in a bag – hard to store
  • Can run a little long for what it is

Final Thoughts

I thought this game had a good look and I like how accessible it is, as I feel I could teach it to just about anyone, which is great.

My biggest gripe is that I just wish you couldn’t bust on your first roll. Sometimes you could just lose a turn right away (since rolling a single 1 happens something like 30% of the time), which felt more frustrating than fun. It was just because of pure luck, and it took away that player agency of deciding whether or not to actually push your luck. On the other hand, I did think that the added speed component that comes up every so often is super neat, so that was my favorite part.

All that said, it’s probably not a game I’d pick super often, but I know lots of people who really enjoy this nice, light style that doesn’t require deep, strategic turns. So if that sounds like you, check this one out!

Additional Information:
My Final Rating – 5/10

Designer – Richard Killian
Publisher – Nalik Games

*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*

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