It has been far too long ladies and gentlemen, since I took the time to review one of The Comic Hunters absolutely amazing board games. It has been even longer since I actually reviewed a game that involved a real life board and had some dice with it as well, but that time is NOW!
A Roll of the Dice is brought to you by Fat Adam, and this week we are going to tear apart my newest game acquisition, Dice City. Now, Dice City is a game that is released from AEG (Alderac Entertainment Group), so it has the backing of one of the largest game developers in existence. With titles like 7th Sea, Love Letter, Arcana, and Nightfall, just to name a few, this is a powerhouse in the industry. They know how to take a game from basic to another level, even if they do make Phatter Phil a bit salty from selling off popular franchises once they get there.
I went into The Comic Hunter wanting a game that involved dice (as I love rolling all over the place), but that was more than the other games I had (such as roll for it and zombie dice), but I was not expecting a game that had so many dynamics all mixed together, it actually confused the hell out of our group the first couple times we played it. I actually love finding a game that you have to read the rules two or three times to fully understand it, as that means it is not a walk through game. With so many games being released on an almost weekly basis, most of them are geared towards a casual gamer who just wants to jump in and play. Not a lot of thought, and not a lot of dynamic game play.
Now I am not saying this is the next Xcom, but it does have a few different levels to it, which almost gives me a very 7 wonders feel to it. I’ll get to that in a bit, but for now let’s go over the basis of the game!
You are a king and you need to build your kingdom to be the greatest kingdom in the world. In order to do this you need to rely on luck, talent, and making the right moves at the right times. Each decision you make could elevate you to success, or doom your town to failure. The winner is the King who can raise the most VP’s (Victory Points) by the end of the game.
First, the set-up! We need to give each player (this game actually plays one to four players) a board to play with. All of the boards are the same, so do not worry about checking them out first. We also need to give each player one die of each colour, which should total five dice each (White, Black, Blue, Red, and Blue).
Next you need to separate the cards into piles for Quarry’s, Lumber Mills, Mine’s, Regular Army Cards, and all the less standard cards into piles to place in the middle of the play area. There are bandit and trade ship cards, both which give you Victory Points, but need to be purchased with your income (get to that soon). You turn eight cards from the location deck face up, and the rest are hidden. Each time a location is purchased, a new one is flipped immediately (so the current player may end up purchasing more than one).
We pick the starting player by either random draw, or the person who last rolled the dice in a game (this is the game rule of picking). Then finally every player rolls their dice, and puts them into the proper position on their board. The chart below shows you the proper place for the dice to go.
What we learn from this board is that you can either gain army, re-roll die, gain instant victory points or gain resources towards building. The resources need to be used this turn except for one of each of the three. You can carry one of each over to another round, keeping in mind there is ways for other players to steal your resources when held. It is a fairly cutthroat strategy, but trust me when I say it works REALLY well.
Now that set-up is out of the way, let’s actually discuss the average turn!
HOW TO TAKE A TURN
We start the turn by following the following four turn order. Use Dice Step, Attack Step, Building and Trade Step, End of Turn Step. This is the proper order, so let’s break each down a bit.
Use Dice Step is fairly self explanatory. You can use the dice as they were rolled at the end of your previous turn. Gather resources, gain an army, win victory points, OR you may pass on one of your die and gain a pass token. By using two of these you can gain any resource you want, increase army strength by one for a turn OR force all other users to re-roll a die of my choice. Pass may seem like a very meh strategy, but sometimes you have one resource or roll left which is useless to you, so at least you get something instead of nothing.
Once you are done with each die, remove them from the board so you know they have been used in the game, and get ready to roll them again at the end of the turn. Once all five dice are done, then you move onto the attack phase.
The Attack Phase is also fairly easy. You can either try and battle bandits (all you have to do is beat their defense or even tie it) and they give you Victory Points for the end of the game. If you have attack greater than the defense of a location on a players board, you can attack their city as well. You gain Victory Points equal to that locations Victory Point setting, but you also Deactivate that locations abilities. This means that square is now useless for the enemy. You can NOT attack a location that does not have a defense score. This means no attacking the starting locations.
Finally, you can take a resource from another player instead. It takes two military to take one item, so remember that is is slightly costly, but can be worth it in a crunch.
Next is the Build and Trade Phase. I feel like explaining this to any gamer is a mistake. You spend your resources to build new locations.
Finally is the End of Turn Phase. Store one of each resource you may have remaining, keep all your pass tokens, knowing any resources not stored are returned to their individual piles. Roll your dice to prepare for the next turn, so you know how to plan accordingly. Finally, your army strength reverts to zero. Each turn, you start off brand new.
The overall game dynamic is a really fun one. It is a competitive game, but it does not take itself too seriously. It does a good job of being slightly more advanced strategy wise, so it keeps gamers attention from many different levels of skill. Mainly though, it is a game you can play with the whole family.
The design of the game is cute, and uses a lot of little almost chibi style art to it. It is geared towards a younger style of art, but that fits the theme of the character and game quite well. The games are usually close, but even when one person does run away with it, you find a way to adapt your strategy and change the game up a little bit.
There is a few ways to get the victory, whether you want to collect the bandits and steal from friends with war, or you want to sneak your way, little by little, to the end of the game using the locations and luck of the dice. Either way you need to gain the Victory Points to win.
The game ends when any one person has locations purchased for two complete rows in their map. Once the pieces are in place, each player gets to finish that round. Meaning if player three gets the second row complete, only player four gets another turn.
I am going to give this game an 6.5 out of 10.
This game has dynamic, strategy, a good premise, and uses dice AND boards. It has everything most people want in a game. In my opinion, this is a great game for beginners, and there is a few advanced rules for long term gamers. No matter your level of gaming, this one will actually be a good time!
My only downside to it is the repetitive nature. The game changes slightly each time you play, but not enough to give this game much on the way of replay value.
Until next time, I hope every game you play will give you a victory over your peers! Please make sure to stop by The Comic Hunter in Moncton OR Charlottetown to gain new games, comics, or any other nerdery you are looking for. Also LEAVE ME A COMMENT with whatever game you want to see me review. I am always on the lookout for new and exciting games to add to my ever growing collection.