Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Five Dice, One Winner (Dice City)

Hear ye, hear ye, to the plight of the city!  Queen Statsia, of the Kingdom of Rolldovia, has decreed that there shall now be a new capital, to rival the old one.  Rumors of the old capital being pillaged and desecrated are greatly exaggerated, and as such, should be disregarded. Those who believe their city is the best of the land shall compete in a contest to see who deserves to be the new capital of Rolldovia!

GAME DESCRIPTION:  Dice City is a dice game for 1-4 players created by Vangelis Bagiartakis and published by Artipia Games.  Players roll, move, attack, and gather points to see whose city should become capital.

SET-UP:  Each player takes 1 Player Board, and 1 set of different colored dice (Red, Blue, Black, Yellow, White).  Split the Lumber Mill, Quarry, Mine, and Regular Army cards into 4 separate stacks face-up.  Shuffle the rest of the Location Cards and place them face-down. Next, draw 8 cards and place them together face-up, as the Display.  Place the Bandits Cards and Trade Ships in three separate piles, with each pile being indicated by the number in the bottom right.  Each Bandit pile will only have a number of cards equal to the total number of players, plus 2.

START:  All players roll their dice, and put them in the appropriate number (located on the top of the Player Board) and color (located on the side) location.  The player to have played a game most recently with dice rolling starts.  During their turn, each player has 4 steps to follow in order: Use Dice, Attack, Building & Trading, and End of Turn.

USE DICE:  During the first step, you may use an action by "spending" a die by moving it from the board.  These actions are:

  • Use the location beneath the die and resolve its ability.
  • Move another die to an adjacent space on that die’s row.
  • Reactivate a Deactivated location anywhere in your city.
  • Once per turn, discard four of the Location cards in the display that are available to build and reveal four new ones.
  • Once per turn, pass and gain a Pass Token.
  • Instead of a die, you may spend two Pass Tokens to gain one Resource of your choice, increase your army strength by 1 for the turn, or force all other players to re-roll one die of your choice.
Once all Dice are spent, the turn moves to the Attack step.

ATTACK:  During this turn, any Attack units used (indicated by a sword) increases your Army strength.  You may attack either Bandits, Locations, or Stock.  For Bandit and Location cards, you must spend a strength higher than the cards defense.  Note that not all Locations have a Defense, making them unable to be attacked.  For Bandits, you gain that Bandit card and place it off to the side, until all those Bandits are gone.  For Locations, place a Deactivation Token on the location.  That player cannot use that Locations ability without Reactivating it.  To gain Resources from another player, you must spend 2 times the Resource(s) you want to steal.  Your Army then returns to 0 at the end of the turn.  

BUILDING/TRADING:  Every other non-Bandit card has a cost of Resources, usually located in the top right, or the bottom for Trade Ships. During this step, you may spend your collected Resources to gain one of these cards.  Trade Ships will go off to the side.  Any Lumber Mill, Quarry, Mine, and Location card bought from the Display will go on the Player board.  These cards can be placed anywhere on the board, but will replace the effect underneath it.

END OF TURN:  If you have any Resources remaining, you may keep one of each kind, with the rest returned to their stock.  All Pass tokens collected remain with the player, however.  The player re-rolls all of the dice and places them back on their Player board.  Then the turn ends, and play passes to the next player.

VP:  Almost every card has a number in a star in the bottom right.  These are Victory Points.  You gain Victory Points from gaining that card, or from a Location's effect.  When you do, you gain VP token(s) equal to the points gained, and place them face-down.  When you attack and Deactivate a Location, gain VP token(s) equal to the deactivated card.

WINNING:  The game ends in one of 3 ways:  Either all three of the bandits piles or two or more of the trade ship piles have run out of cards, the location deck runs out of cards, or any player calls the game over when they have two or more rows on their board filled with built locations, none of which have Deactivation tokens.  The game continues until every player has had the same number of turns.  The player with the most Victory Points wins.

CONCLUSION:  This has always been a hard game for me to review.  There's a little too much down time in a four player game to end as quickly as it does.  I do like that while there is a lot of luck involved, it is aware and does a little to help mitigate it, but not in a way that feels forced.  Also, the single player mode helps to build strategy and see what play styles work for you.  Being able to adjust the difficulty also helps make the game more enjoyable as you see what works and what doesn't.  I would recommend this if you enjoy games like Dominion.  To everyone else, it may be a hard sell, but I would say if you do want to play this, either start with Single Player or limit to three players, as the down time is lessened.

AFTERTHOUGHTS:  A quick thanks to Slumpymaster for helping me with the single player part of this review.  You can check his stuff out over on the right.

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