Roll and Write

Copenhagen, the polyomino placing game that hit Kickstarter earlier this year, is now receiving the roll and write treatment. Copenhagen Roll & Write, is designed by Daniel Skjold Petersen and Asger Harding Granerud, the designers of the original game.

Copenhagen Roll & Write plays 2-4 players and takes only about 20 minutes. In the game, the active player is drawing the Tetris-like shapes on their provided player sheet based on their dice roll. After rolling the dice, the active player will select the shape of their choosing from what is called the “common sheet.” The active player must begin at the bottom of their player sheet and work their way up, adding walls and windows to the facade of their building. The other players will follow in turn using the dice that the active player did not use, working towards fulfilling bonuses.

This campaign ends July 26, 2019. If the game sounds interesting to you, check out its Kickstarter page here.

Renegade Game Studios partners with Frosted Games to publish its first roll-and-write game, Hex Roller.  Designed by Rustan Håkansson (Nations and Nations: The Dice Game), Hex Roller features a score pad with a hexagonal groupings of hexagons to record die rolls.  Over the course of seven rounds, players will roll the dice, selecting two grouping of numbers to record on their scoresheet.  There are numerous scoring opportunities on the scoresheet, so players need to think strategically when selecting and recording their rolls.  Hex groupings are only scored when they are completed, and they are worth the predominate value recorded in the grouping.  Each scoresheet does start the players out with some pre-filled numbers in each of the hex groupings.  Connecting those numbers scores points also. The unique six-sided dice, numbered 3-8, help in providing higher scores, but the game also rewards filling the hexes with the largest array of values so long as it starts with 3, the lowest number. The simple rules and game play will appeal new gamers while the various scoring strategies will appeal experienced gamers.  

Hex Roller plays 1-8 players, ages 8+, in about 15-20 minutes.  Contents include 8 dice, pad of game sheets and the rulebook.  Hex Roller is available for pre-order now or look for it in your friendly local game store in May.

Did you know that roll-and-write games were invented in the 4th century BCE?  Okay, maybe not.  But, Days of Wonder and designer Sébastien Pauchon (Jaipur, Jamaica) are publishing, Corinth, a roll-and-write game with a theme set in the 4th century BCE.

In Corinth, the players are traders using the dice to acquire resources and deliver goods to the market.  The active player rolls nine dice, then the dice are grouped according to value and assigned to different levels of the common harbor board which depicts the various actions.  Additionally, the active player can spend gold to roll additional dice that only they can use.  The current active player gets first choice of which group of dice to take and then mark the corresponding action on their personal sheet.  Subsequent players get to choose from the remaining dice pool.   The number of dice the player takes from a given action location on the harbor board dictates the number of resources they acquire, or goods they deliver to a given location.  In lieu of delivering goods to a particular market, the player can choose to take the value of the dice at a give location and move a steward along a path around the market (represented by lines on a grid) in order to gain resources, goods or additional bonuses.  At the end of their turn, the player may spend gold to construct a building, which can provide additional bonuses to future actions or end of game scoring.

Corinth appears to have a little more player interaction than the typical roll-and-write game, since players may want to take dice from a given location in order to prevent other players from completing spots/bonuses on their boards.  Corinth has an estimated play time of 20-30 minutes, and is for 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up.

The game is due to be released in March for Europe and May for North America.  You can read the full press release from Days of Wonder here, or visit the publisher product page here.

A second printing of Welcome to… with new expansions for the game has launched on Kickstarter. In this roll-and-write dice game (without dice), players build the best new town in 1950s United States. Instead of dice, cards are flipped from 3 piles to make 3 action sets to fill in a house on your street in numerical order. Actions are taken to increase point values of estates built or score points at the end of the game for the best buildings, parks and pools. Welcome To… caters for solo and large groups of players because of its communal actions (think Bingo with more strategy and less retired people).

Thematic Neighborhood Sheet Packs have been added as expansions to the base game and serve as refill packs. While the pretty decorations change the feel of the game a bit the packs also come with new ways to score to add strategic variety. In the Halloween themed sheet pack, a spooky neighborhood has players build houses then choose a trick or a treat. Circling a ghost marks the trick while circling the candy is the treat. The firsts player to reach a certain amount of either type can declare it as their bonus which prevents all other players from claiming it as their bonus. In the Zombie Outbreak themed sheet pack the neighborhood needs to be protected from zombies. Ammo is collected, barricades are repaired, and the horde must be repelled.

Welcome To… is designed by Benoit Turpin, with art by Anne Heidsieck, and published by Blue Cocker Games. It supports 1-100 players (depending on the number of score sheets available), for players aged 10+, and plays in roughly 25 mins. The Welcome To… 2nd printing & expansions Kickstarter project will run until Tuesday, November 20th 2018, with shipping expected in March of 2019. The project has made 600% of its funding goal with close to 1500 backers.

Scott Almes, the designer behind the Tiny Epic series of games and the very popular, Heroes of Land, Air & Sea, has just kickstarted a new, stand-alone game, called Boomerang.

Boomerang could be described as a card drafting game (like 7 Wonders or Sushi Go!), mixed with a roll-and-write game (like Yahtzee, or Qwixx).

With roll-and-write games taking off the last few years and card drafting already a favorite mechanism among many, Boomerang is sure to appeal to a wide swath of gamers.

In Boomerang, players are touring Australia, trying to see and do as much as they can before their holiday ends! By spotting native animals, collecting pieces of Australiana, and doing other holiday activities, players will earn points. Each round players will draft cards, mark off various accomplishments on their score sheets, and at the end of the game, the best traveller wins. You beauty!

To find out more, visit the live Kickstarter campaign. And now, the obligatory clichés: Crikey, this looks promising. G’day, mate.

Welcome to… is the latest roll and write, although it is more accurate to say flip a card and write, from Benoit Turpin and Blue Cocker Games.  In the game you are trying to build the best and most desirable suburban community back in the 1950’s, and what is considered desirable is determined by city planning cards.  On each turn of the game three cards will be flipped, from those three cards you will pick which one you will use, and write down the corresponding house number and take that card’s special action.  Some of the actions include adding fences, building pools, improving the points you get for your housing clusters, and even modifying the numbers on the cards.  On your sheet you have to write numbers in ascending order from left to right, so number placement becomes very important so you don’t block yourself.  However, there is a way to get around this, and that’s by copying a house number and marking it as a B, but doing so will get you negative points at the end.  The game ends when either all three city planning cards have been satisfied by a player, someone fills their entire neighborhood with house numbers, or someone was unable to write a house number for a third time.  At that time points are totaled and the most points is the winner.

This is an interesting take on the roll and write genre that I personally find interesting, but so far it has only seen a release overseas, until now.  Deepwater Games has announced they have partnered with Blue Cocker Games to create an English version of the game to distribute worldwide.  Pre-orders will be starting up on the 18th of April, and release of the game will come later this year in August.  You can find out more information on the Deepwater Games’ website, and then brush up on your 1950’s interior decorating ideas while you wait for the games to arrive on store shelves.  Unless you are attending Origins, they will have copies there to distribute to those who opt to pick up at the convention.

Grail Games have announced a few games they’ll be publishing by prolific designer, Dr. Reiner Knizia.

Yellow & Yangtze

Yellow & Yangtze, the sister game to Tigris & Euphrates, will be released in 2018. The game is set in the Qin Dynasty (part of modern day China) along the Yellow and Yangtze rivers. It sees the rival states of Qin, Chu, Qi, Yan Han, Whei, and Zhao battling for supremacy in 221 BC and is beautifully illustrated by Vincent Dutrait. Yellow & Yangtze supports 2-4 players, aged 14+, and plays in roughly 90 mins. The designer has improved and tweaked the game play of Tigris & Euphrates so that while Yellow & Yangtze will have a similar feel it will be its own “beast”.

Game play details according to the publisher:

In Yellow & Yangtze, players build civilizations through tile placement. Players are given five different leaders: a Governor, Soldier, Farmer, Trader, and Artisan. The leaders are used to collect victory points in these same categories. However, your score at the end of the game is the number of points in your weakest category. Conflicts arise when civilizations connect on the board. To succeed, players’ civilizations must survive these conflicts, calm peasant revolts, and grow secure enough to build prestigious pagodas. [source]

Criss Cross

Coming in Q1 of 2018 is Criss Cross, a roll-and-write game illustrated by Heiko Günther. This is a custom dice game played over 12 rounds where 2 dice are rolled, and players write the symbols in adjacent squares on their scoring sheet. Groups of symbols in columns and rows score points. While all players share the dice symbols the placement of these will vary across players. Criss Cross supports 1-6 players, aged 8+, and plays in roughly 10 mins.

Stephenson’s Rocket

In Stephenson’s Rocket, players take on the role of rail barons in 1830s England. They can invest in railway lines, transport passengers, build up local industries, and compete for the honor of becoming the most prestigious rail baron. Illustrations are by Ian O’Toole.

On September 15, 1830, the age of the railroad began with the opening of the first line between Liverpool and Manchester. The locomotive that ruled those rails was George Stephenson’s Rocket. With a top speed of 45km/h (28mph) Rocket, was the most advanced engine of the day, and its arrival marked the beginning of the modern railway. [source]

Stephenson’s Rocket supports 2-4 players, aged 12+, and plays between 60 and 90 mins.

King’s Road

In King’s Road, players are nobles attempting to gain power and influence in the king’s provinces. As the king travels along the road in his provinces, he will allow the most influential noble in each region to govern in his stead. Over time the most favored noble will win the game.

King’s Road is an area-majority game. Each player has identical decks of eleven cards. On a turn, players simultaneously select the three cards they will play, and in what order. To win, players not only have to influence the king as he traverses the land, but attempt to read the minds of their opponents.

King’s Road re-implements the game Imperium, previously only available within game compendiums. [source]

This game is also illustrated by the great, Vincent Dutrait and supports 2-5 players, aged 10+. Game play length is around 30 mins. King’s Road is currently available at retailers.

Kashgar: Merchants of the Spice Road

Unlike the prior games in this list, this one is not designed by Dr. Knizia but by Gerhard Hecht with art by Franz Vohwinkel. The core mechanism will be “open deck-building” with players trading spices along the Silk Road from Asia to Europe. The game supports 2-4 players, aged 12+, and plays in roughly 45 mins.

According to the publisher, the game plays as follows:

In the beginning, each caravan consists of three cards that are spread out vertically so that the top part of each card is visible; each card stands for a caravan member with different abilities.

On his turn, a player performs only one action, choosing one of the cards on top of the three caravans and executing one action shown on that card. Then the card is put at the back of its caravan. To use the same caravan member again, a player must first use all the other cards on top of that caravan row. [source]

Kashgar: Merchants of the Spice Road will release in Q2 of 2018.

While a certain project just launched by CMON will be getting most of the attention, we still want to highlight some other good ones that might be worth backing.

First up is the reprint and re-theming by Indie Boards & Cards of the popular flip and write game, Avenue, now called Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama.  How to play the game remains largely unchanged, where you flip a card to see what kind of road you can draw, and then drawings it on your personal map.  Some of the changes being made to the game are the inclusion of double sided dry erase boards, meaning you no longer have to worry about running out of maps.  Also being included are components for a 7th player of the game and decree cards which offer more variability when you play the game.  Overall if you like this kind of game, or just missed out on Avenue the first time around, check out this Kickstarter today.

Next we have an expansion for the cowboy saloon building game called Saloon Tycoon: The Ranch Expansion from Van Ryder Games.  Saloon Tycoon is all about building up your own saloon to be the best in the west, but others want to achieve that goal as well.  You will take turns adding to your saloon, trying to satisfy you secret goals as well as public ones.  Attracting citizens will help you out, but be careful of the outlaws, they just want to make trouble.  The Ranch Expansion adds more tiles for you to build, cows and horses to wrangle, more characters, and four different mini expansion that are Kickstarter exclusive.  You will also be able to add on the base game and the Boomtown expansion to expand your game even further.  So if this sounds interesting to you, check out the Kickstarter.

Following that we have a new party game being done by Grail games called Hang 12.  Hang 12 is a personal trivia type game where the active player will pick a beach to surf, and that beach determine what kind of trivia question they have to answer.  Some of the question are “I have seen all the Star Wars movies”, or “I have eaten caviar before” and so on.  The active player secretly answers either true or false and then everyone else guesses to see what the right answer was.  If you are right you get to take the next level of point card, if you are wrong then you lose your current point card and start over.  What makes the scoring interesting is that it’s a bit of push your luck because as you get more answers right in a row, you point card increases faster and faster, but get a question wrong and you lose it.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to risk the points you play the surf card to ride the wave in and bank the points, moving closer to the 24 point victory.  If this surf themed party game sound like something you want to try, check out the Kickstarter now.

After that we have a new cooperative game being designed by Chris Batarlis and Steve Avery called Metal Dawn.  The game essentially has you playing out the Terminator movie before the robots have fully taken over, where you play agents fighting back against the machines.  The game plays out like an area control game where you have to deploy your characters to different zones in Washington DC before they get overrun.  You will have to find gear and gain intel to use against the constant onslaught of robots in order to turn the tide and secure the zones.  Then you will have to use some of that intel on DOMINUS, the satellite that took over all the robotic enemies and started the rebellion.  Once you bring him down to Earth he turns into a massive robot menace that once you defeat that, will finally end the robot uprising.   Hopefully your skills are up to par and you have good teamwork, because DOMINUS will not go easy on you.  Check out the Kickstarter today, and if you upgrade to the deluxe edition you also get rules to play the game competitively as well.

Last, and by certainly no means least, we have the expansion to the popular character creation game, Roll Player: Monsters and Minions by Thunderworks Games.  Roll Player has you rolling dice to give your character stats, learn skills, gain traits, and equip them with the best armor and weapons you can manage. Roll Player: Monsters and Minions expands on that by adding more of what you want, more classes, more races, and more market items, including a brand new item type, scrolls.  But what makes this expansion great is that now you take this character you crafted, and put them up against monsters like bugbears, goblins, vampires, and dragons.  Hopefully the character you created is up the snuff or he may be taken out.  You can check out the Kickstarter here, which is well past funded and blown through many stretch goals.

We all know some roll and write games, Dice Stars, Can’t Stop Express, OctoDice, and more, each with minimal theme and lots of dice throwing.  Well Nevermore Games thought that was a waste, and so they teamed up with Jason Tagmire of Button Shy Games to launch The Spiel Press.  What they hope to do with this new label is produce premium roll and write games that will have a lot more theme and more replay value with legacy type elements.  Each book, yes book, will have dozens of pages of full color game sheets to play on, and when you finish playing the game you can move to another page to play again.  But in a legacy type fashion, the games before will affect the games after, making changes to the play area and giving you a new experience.  In the first book, Blood Royals, this means the political map of the game will change as different factions fight.  In the second book, Star Maps, this means the map you play on will change and evolve as you explore the galaxy.

Both of these sounds like great ideas and hopefully the execution is as high quality as they are making it sound.  You can head over to The Spiel Press’s introduction page to read more about it, and then look forward to future Kickstarters for these books coming this summer.

Turn One Game Supplies has announced Space Invaders Dice!, a 15 minute “roll and write” dice game for 1-4 players. Players roll laser dice to mark columns on the score sheet. They then roll the invader dice to begin crossing off invaders of different colors from a score pad with the full complement of invaders. The classic Space Invaders structure and theme is all there with shield bunkers, the different aliens and even the UFOs on the top of the paper. As players clear columns of invaders, they lost invader dice, making the game faster and more dangerous as you kill more invaders. Several multiplayer game modes exist including a dice drafting variant.

Space Invaders Dice! is due to be released in May 2017.