Roll and Write Games

Roll and write games are starting to gain in popularity it seems, as more and more games with that type of mechanic are released like Dice Stars, La Granja No Siesta, and even OctoDice.  So Flatlined Games is trying their hand at it by creating a roll and write, pick up and deliver train game called SteamRollers.  Like the mechanic name suggests, the active player will roll dice, and on your turn you draft a die to use the value to mark something on your board.  The different options include drawing track, delivering a good from the central board, increasing the power of your engine, or taking an action tile.  Where these things can happen and what you can draw are determined by the dice that you roll, the white dice giving you numbers and the black die a track shape.  The action tiles you acquire give you different options to further manipulate the dice, mess with your opponents by taking dice from them, or giving you an additional action.  Delivering goods gets you points, connecting towns gets you points, upgrading your engine gets you points, and action tiles you have may give or take away points.  At the end the person with the most points is the winner.

This game seeks to bring a fresh take on roll and write by bringing it into the pick up and deliver train game genre, and I think they accomplish that.  The art, while sparse, looks good and has a clean design to it that makes things easy to read.  If you want to know more about the game, or back for your own copy, head on over to their Kickstarter page.

Coming into this week I thought I wouldn’t have much to talk about, thankfully Kickstarter proved me wrong, lets look at this week’s highlights.

First up is a board game accessory, and that is the Hex Chest Remasters from Elder Wood.  These are essentially hand crafted dice carrying cases that allow you to carry 7 dice in a beautifully made wooden chest.  As per their previous projects, the craftsmanship of these are excellent, and they come in a variety of wood colors and an even larger variety of lid carvings to choose from.  Also available in an oblong octogon to hold 9 dice, and you can even opt for inlays over engraving to give it make it really stand out.  They are even offering a flat pack option where you build your hex chest yourself, saving some money and allowing you to customize it how you want.  So if you are looking for that next great dice accessory, check out this Kickstarter page.

Next is another board game accessory and that is MOJO, the digital score keeper device.  This device boats an inexpensive price tag of $10 and while it’s main focus is keeping track of life and other counts in Magic game, it can be used as a score keeper for various other games for up to 4 players.  It also has a nifty option to flip the screen on one side so you can be playing across from someone and both have your personally score easily readable.  Is this device necessary considering the board game scoring apps out there?  The designers think so as this device is the size of a standard card, and is stand alone so you don’t have to mess with your phone or drain it’s battery.  Check out the Kickstarter page if you think you might want one, but be quick, the campaign ends on July 30th.

After that is the first offering from Spiel Press in their new premium roll and write series of games.  In this campaign you will be able to pledge for the Star Maps book and the Blood Royals book. Star Maps plays like the typical roll and write games you have played, where dice are rolled and you pick a die to fill in on your chart.  As you fill things in you will unlock bonus points and try to score the highest.  The big change however is that after that game, on the next page you will have more options to do things, and eventually even a tech tree of special abilities.  This gives the game a legacy feel as you advance through the game taking differing paths as you go.  The same goes for the Blood Royals game where you are battling your opponent for influence on the map, but as time goes on the geography changes, and alliances shift making for a different feel each time you play.  Needless to say I backed this immediatly as the concept intrigues me, if it intrigues you are well than head over to the Kickstarter page.

Following is a new version of Catacombs simply called Catacombs Conquest.  Catacombs is a highly rated dexterity, dungeon crawl type game where you are heroes flicking yourselves to victory, while the dungeon master tries to take you out.  What Catacombs Conquest aims to do is shrink down and simplify the game so that newer players can jump right into the game without having to learn more complex rules.  In this two to four player game and on your turn you simply do three things, draw a card, play a card, and then flick an obstacle.  This simple system means you will be up and running quickly, trying to flick your opponent into oblivion on an ever changing landscape.  Plus, with a price of $24 Canadian, this game has a low cost of entry as opposed to the larger game.  So if you want in on this flicking game, check out their Kickstarter page.

Next we have a trio of games for young children called Numeracy Legends, all aimed at helping them learn different math and game concepts.  In the first game, Numeracy Legends and The Rainbow Unicorn, players are route building in order to collect ingredients to help the rainbow unicorn make their famous cupcakes.  This is to teach children graph theory by determining the best route to collect all their ingredients.  The next game, Numeracy Legends and the Zerda Fox, has kids learning about probabilities as they decide what paths they want to take, when to get more cupcakes or ice cream, and more.  And finally there is Numeracy Legends and the Gluttony Dragon, this is the final game and turns into a once versus many game with the adult as the dragon, and the kids as the heroes.  The players will be drafting equipment cards and secretly choosing battle types in order to face off against the dragon.  This teaches game theory as the kids will be working together to try and defeat a common enemy.  So if you want to get your hands on this trio of games, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

Lastly we have the 2nd edition of the game Argent: the Consortium.  This is a highly confrontational worker placement game where you are all vying to be the next dean of the pretigous magic school.  To do that you need to get the most votes, but the tough part is, out of the 12 that will vote, you know how three are going to vote.  This means you will either have to use the shotgun approach and try to be good at everything, or spend time and energy learning their voting styles to tailor your strategy.  Either way you are going to be sending out your students to various tasks to get new spells, up various stats like wisdom and IQ, purchase new items, or make some money.  The confrontational part comes in with two aspects, first is that you only collect resources and such at the end of the round, not when you place your people.  Second, you can knock people out of their spots, meaning getting to a spot last may be better than getting to a spot first, and risking getting knocked out.  Either way, if you liked the first edition or are interested in this game now, check out the Kickstarter page.

Perplext Games and designer Chris Handy have announced Roland Wright, a new series of premium dice games in which players take on the persona of Roland Wright, game designer extraordinaire described as “Willy Wonka meets Reiner Knizia“, as he attempts to create the perfect… roll and write game (get it?). 2-6 Players take turns selecting dice to complete game design modules and earning equipment to create the perfect dice game. Chris Handy is best known for creating the “Pack-O-Game” series of microgames. Roland Wright is due to be released in 2018.