Buckshot Roulette is a violent roguelite that has recently gained a lot of popularity, coinciding with its Steam release and the addition of the Double or Nothing mode. This brought Buckshot Roulette to a new crowd, one that might be confused by some of the quirks of this deceptively simple game. This weird take on Russian Roulette is a far more complicated affair than it initially appears.

To make things more interesting, the Double or Nothing mode, what many players are calling Endless Mode, added a lot of weird items to the mix. Items were already what made Buckshot Roulette interesting, and the new ones made everything even more complicated. Those include the burner phone, expired medicine, and adrenaline.


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7 Shooting The Dealer Is Almost Always Better

The Best Option Until Items Come Into Play

aiming the rifle at the dealer in Buckshot Roulette

Putting items aside for a moment, Buckshot Roulette is pretty much just Russian Roulette but with just two players and the ability to shoot the opponent instead. The brutal game that inspires this title isn’t well-known for its tactical depth, and as it turns out, the same is true for Buckshot Roulette.

Whether there is one live round out of two or two out of three, it’s always better to shoot the dealer instead of the player. The only exception is when there is only one live bullet out of three, or two out of six. In this case, the chances of victory are exactly the same whether the player shoots themselves or their opponent.

6 Use The Magnifying Glass Before The Saw

Making Every Shot Count

checkingthe color of the bullet in Buckshot Roulette

Buckshot Roulette would not be the game it is without items. Two items in particular significantly change how the game is played. The magnifying glass is the most important of those items, while the burner phone is a recent addition that switches things up a bit but ultimately does something very similar.

The magnifying glass allows a player to look at the round currently loaded in the rifle. This makes the decision of whom to shoot trivial, but it also makes the saw much more useful. The saw doubles the damage dealt by a single bullet, but it only works on live rounds, which the magnifying glass can help identify.

5 Count The Bullets

Like Counting Cards In Poker

looking at the number of bullets in Buckshot Roulette

Just as counting cards is a vital skill in any traditional trick-tacking game, counting the bullets is the key to victory in Buckshot Roulette. Even if most of the time the best option is to just shoot the dealer, proper items use relies on knowing what is currently loaded in the rifle.


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This might mean knowing how many chances one has of shooting a blank, but it might also mean getting to the last round with a clear picture of which bullet is in the chamber. The best course of action is to shoot the dealer regardless of which bullet is in there, but knowing for certain can help using items to the best of their ability.

4 Use The Burner Phone At The Start Of A Round

The Best Way To Use The Phone

a visaul effect plays while using the burner phone in Buckshot Roulette

The burner phone is one of the items added in the Double or Nothing mode that is only in the Steam release of Buckshot Roulette. Once used, this item allows players to receive a hint about the state of a certain bullet, informing them on whether it is a blank or a live one.

It’s important to use this item just as the rifle is charged for two reasons. It lets players make decisions based on this information for longer, giving them an advantage, and it avoids an issue with the item. The fact is that the burner phone doesn’t always give information about the future but might reveal the state of a bullet that has already been shot.

3 Strategize Before Using Adrenaline

This Item Can Change The Course Of The Game

finding the adrenaline item in Buckshot Roulette

Unique to the recent Double or Nothing mode, adrenaline allows a player to steal an item from their opponent. Just like any other item, adrenaline can also be used by the dealer. Unlike any other powerup, the player’s adversary doesn’t ever fail to use this item effectively. That luxury is kept for the player.


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The narrative justification behind adrenaline is that it makes the player so fast that they can steal an item from their enemy. Of course, it is only logical that this effect lasts only a few seconds. And in fact, if the player takes more than five or six seconds to choose which item to steal, they won’t get anything at all. It’s best to decide one’s target before actually activating the item.

2 Only Use Expired Medicine With A Backup

Wait Until At Least Two Doses Appear

finding expired medicine as an item in Buckshot Roulette

Expired medicine can be appealing, but it is also dangerous. Unlike cigarettes, which heal the player for one life point, expired medicine promises the possibility of curing the player of two life points instead. However, while there is a 40% chance of healing two hits, there is also a 60% chance of receiving one damage.

The math only really makes sense if one plans to take more than one expired medicine. Taking just one is too much of a risk, but taking two or three until one ends up healing the player makes it almost a guarantee that the player will at least finish this process with the same amount of health left, if not more.

1 Never Drink Beer

This Item Is Not As Useful As It Seems

drinking beer in Buckshot Roulette

The exact math behind this reasoning is complicated, but the short version is that drinking beer never actually helps the player. Its only good use is as an alternative to shooting the player when one is certain that the current bullet is a blank, but it brings no benefits.

Even in a situation when there are two blanks and one live round, drinking beer doesn’t help. If one uses the beer, there is a 1/3 chance of wasting a good round and 2/3 chances of reaching a state with a 50/50 chances to deal or receive damage. If one shoots the dealer immediately, there is a 1/3 chance of dealing one damage and 2/3 chances of reaching a state with a 50/50 chance to deal or receive damage.

Buckshot Roulette

Buckshot Roulette
December 28, 2023

Mike Klubnika


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