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Dice, Dice, Dice Baby

C’mon, I’m a kid from the 80’s how could I *not* title a post about fun new dice games like that??

Those that have played games with me… any game that has a die of some sort… know that I am the Wil Wheaton of the East. Seeing a double-digit on a D20 is so rare for me, we cheer whenever it happens. Did you know six-sided dice are not just 1,2,3 two times, there are actually numbers higher than that?  I didn’t!  So then it may come as a shock that three of my favorite new(ish) games all involve dice!

First up is a co-operative game (that way I can’t be entirely blamed for losing, can I?) that turns the players into firefighters trying to put out blazes in a national park like setting.  Hotshots consists of hexagonal tiles that you lay out randomly. Each player chooses a firefighter on the team, and each one has a special ability.Several tiles start out on fire  and you work as a team to put them out and hope to keep them from spreading or new ones starting. Turns consist of moving your firefighter one or two hexes, rolling a great set of custom dice to try to put out the fire on the hex (each hex has a row of images that you have to try and match with your dice roll), fail to match enough to put out a set of flames and another one gets added.  At the end of your turn you draw from a deck… it’s not a nice deck, it does things like add or moves fires.  There are special tokens you can earn with your dice rolls to help stop the bad deck from burning everything.  Each hex has a maximum number of fires it can hold and when you reach that max, the tile is scorched. Get a certain number of scorched tiles and you lose, put out all the fires and you win.  This game is very replayable as the tiles are laid out randomly (or you can use one of the layouts that resemble actual national parks in the manual), there are different firefighter abilities to choose from, and the deck of cards is random as well…  not to mention the dice rolling… the key to the game.

 

The next one isn’t so much about rolling dice is it is about using the dice (that are rolled) to make a pattern. Sagrada is one of the most beautiful games of last year (maybe any year).  Each play gets a board and pattern card (can be random or selected). Your goal is to use the pattern on the card (slid into your board) to create a stained glass work of art. You do that by selecting colored acrylic dice and placing them on your board. The catch, you have to match numbers and or colors on your board, but you can only lay down a die touching another die and they can’t be the same color or number.  So there is strategy involved in all the artsing as well. As well as your own personal design goal, there is/are community goals that determine scoring.

Lastly is the most dice dependent game, and I’ve actually won a game or two! Dice Throne is a “take that” battle of fantasy RPG type characters with special abilities. You use custom dice (colored and themed for each character) to hurt or heal in a battle. The dice are used in a mechanic similar to “Yatzhee” in that you are trying to roll 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind, or straights, etc to inflict certain damage points. You also roll the dice to deflect hits or heal. Each character has special abilities on top of the dice rolling in each round (like evasion, bulls-eye, blinding, etc).  The game can be played in teams (2 vs 2, 3 vs 3), free for all, or just 1v1.  I’m not a huge fan of “take that” games but this one relies on the dice to determine what happens so it’s less “mean” than pitting a strategist win at all costs against a newbie player (a pet peeve of mine). It’s just a fun light dice chucking game. And there are character expansions coming for even more variety!

Give these games a roll.

 

Don’t forget to shop local and PLAY MORE GAMES!

~ Sam