Gateway Games: Introduction to Dice GamesSeptember 18, 2018
Gateway Games is a series of articles aimed at helping you find the games that are right for you. Today, I am going to focus on dice games.
Traditionally dice games use dice as the sole mechanic of gameplay, such as the classic game of Yahtzee. However, I am going to talk about games that use dice as the main mechanic but also blur the line of resource management games that deal with building civilizations. This will make it easy for folks who have already played some strategy board games to easily pick this style up.
1. Zombie Dice:
I wanted to start out with the basics. This can be played with people of any gaming skill level, including someone completely unfamiliar with strategy board games. Zombie Dice is a really great introduction to games and feels more like a party game than other dice games. It combines classic dice rolling with push-your-luck strategy. As a zombie, you roll 3 dice at the start of every turn. The dice only have three possibilities: brains, footsteps, or blasts. The goal of the game is to collect 13 brains (points) first, so obviously rolling brains is good. Footsteps allow you to reroll again. However, if you roll 3 blasts throughout your turn, your turn ends and you receive no points that round. After rolling your initial 3 dice, you can then decide if you want to take a chance and roll more dice to keep collecting brains. You do this until you either decide to stop or hit 3 blasts and are forced to end your turn. After you have finished all of your rolls for the turn you collect points for the brains you rolled. This is a very quick, easy-to-learn game and it’s great for beginner gamers.
2. Roll Through the Ages – The Bronze Age:
Roll Through the Ages is my personal favorite dice game that blends the fun of dice rolling with pen and paper into building a civilization. In this game, the dice act as your different resources and it’s completely up to you what you want your civilization to focus on. For example, you can use your workers to try to build all the largest monuments or you can choose a development early on to pave your strategy to success. Either way, the more cities you have, the more dice you get to play with. The game has a fun balancing act of ensuring you are able to feed all of your cities while building up your developments and monuments, and of course trying to avoid rolling disasters which give you negative points at the end of the game.
3. Machi Koro
While Machi Koro is a combination of a variety of board game genres, it is still considered a dice game. I wanted to include this as an option in case you are already familiar with the deck building games or resource management games I’ve discussed in this series because this is an exciting leap into dice games, combining exciting elements from other genres to create a unique experience. This is city building game in which you roll dice every turn to activate buildings. An interesting mechanic is that your roll effects everyone, similar to the dice rolling in Catan. Using the currency you collect, you can build more buildings out of face-up cards in the middle, similar to the board in Dominion. The goal is to build four large landmarks before anyone else. One of the best aspects of this game is that there is a variety of cards to use each game and different strategies depending on the card combinations.
I hope this was helpful for people interested in trying out some games beyond what they have already played and as a guide for turning your friends and loved ones into hardcore gamers.