Type: Worker Placement (Dice)
Time to play: 45-60 minutes (Teaching: 15-20 minutes)
Best played with: 2-4 players (Best with any)
(Image from BGG )
This was a more fun game than perhaps it had any right to be, so I have been looking to featuring this one in the blog. I am also pleased to say that this is a game my wife really enjoyed and that the two player game of this can be very fun and a tight game.
So the premise of the game, you roll dice each round and then you place them on the worker placement sections of the main game board. Sounds simple? It is, and it isn’t. Ultimately you want to manipulate these dice to gather resources, more dice and more tech, and ultimately more victory points. The reason I think I like this game despite my general hatred for games that make you roll lots of dice…. is two fold. Firstly, the dice get rolled and then you choose your action – i.e. you have input luck and not output luck. If you hate dice when you make a decision and then have to roll to see what happens, that’s output luck – and this game is vasstly different. This is more akin to drawing a hand of cards from a deck – once you made the draw, it can be good or bad, but it is what it is and you can now work out how to best use it. Secondly, I enjoyed just how much you can manipulate the dice. Each space on the board needs certain numbers, but at least at the start of the round you have lots of choice and some abilities to change the dice numbers you actually rolled (tech cards depending). This means that you rarely roll the dice and sigh because you can’t do anything you wanted, but you are almost always trying to work out if you can do EVERYTHING you wanted.
The game is also tight – the actions of the other players will block you off and limit your choices. For me, this is essential in a worker placement game, as otherwise you are just playing a solo game next to someone else. Compare your scores at the end, but you could have played it in different rooms…. By having a tight game space where a player blocks off another player or limits another player’s options, there’s much more competition throughout this game. Especially towards the end as you can really stop the other player getting the victory points they desparately need.
This seems to be reflected in the scores. Most of our games finished extremely closely – no run away winner. It never felt like there was a catch up mechanic for the player at the back, just a genuine difficulty to score vast numbers of victory points ahead of your opponents. The victory points are hard fought and if you prioritize it in one round, your opponent is likely to do so in the next round.
There’s an expansion for the game, and whilst we brought it into our games to extend the replayability of the game, the base game is sufficient here. The expansion is enjoyable without adding too much weight to the game and if you have played this for a while I would recommend it, but it won’t re-imagine or change the game – so if you are on the fence / not getting this off the shelf enough, then don’t expect the expansion to completely change it for you.
Lastly, I would just say that once you are familiar with this game it can move very quickly. Turns have low decision space, and its very clear what your options are. Rolling at the start of each turn means you can “math out” one whole turn at best – and even that means trying to predict your opponents. Dive in, take what you can and don’t forget that having more dice is always better!