Dice Manor: Build for Prestige!
Mundane Manors Inc. is looking for a top new designer to build the most lavish home imaginable: money is no object. Dice Manor is a dice rolling, auction/bidding, and tile placement game designed by Garrett Herdter and brought to the table by Arcane Wonders.
In Dice Manor, players compete build and market astounding manors to become the new Chief Inspiration Officer. They do this buy bidding on blueprints, earning advertising space, collecting inspiration, building, and giving tours of their manor.
In the final round, players will hold a grand tour to score final prestige in hopes of winning. A game plays in about 30-45 minutes for 2-4 players ages 14+.
Dice Manor plays over four rounds and ends with a final Grand Opening Tour. The player with the highest Prestige wins. A round consists of four phases: Bid, Collect, Build and Reset.
Phase 1: Bid
Players take turns clockwise, rolling and placing dice. Roll any unplaced dice. then choose a die number and place all dice with that number to the Project board, or in your Manor. Use Inspiration tokens to modify dice values up or down by 1. If you run out of dice for placement, skip your turns until the round concludes.
Blueprint and Advertising spaces
On the Project board, choose between blueprint locations or advertising. Blueprint locations, numbered 1-6, require specific dice values. Win a tile for your manor by having the most dice in its Blueprint space.
Place any number of dice on an Advertising space to enter a bid there. On future turns, you may continue adding dice to advertising spaces, so long as they match your previously played dice. Other players can outbid you by placing a larger set of dice. When this happens, side the outbid dice set to the right.
To conduct a Manor tour, place matching dice along a path of room tiles, starting at the Entrance. Each die must be placed in a slot with a matching number.
Collect an Inspiration token for placing a single die, or place multiple dice to score Prestige. Create connecting paths of neighboring rooms for more points. In subsequent tours within the same round, you may start from any room connected to a room that already has a die.
Once all players have spent all their dice, move to the next Phase,
Phase 2: Collect
Resolve each location in the following order:
1. Blueprints. The player with the highest bid on each blueprint takes the room tile and dice, and places it near their play area. All other players who bid on that blueprint take their dice back and receive an inspiration token. If a Blueprint has no bids, discard it.
2. Advertising. Resolve bids on this track in two steps: first, advance advertising markers; then move dice.
The player with the top bid for Advertising moves their advertising marker two spaces and gains Prestige. The next bid moves one space (and also gains Prestige). All other players who bid do not get to move their markers, but gain Inspiration.
Everyone who bid on Advertising moves their bonus die towards their marker on the advertising track – as many spaces as dice they bid. When the marker and the bonus die meet at the same space, collect the die immediately and add it to your dice for the next round.
3. Manor tours. Gain a prestige for each die in your Manor, then take back all the dice.
Phase 3: Build
During the Build phase, all players simultaneously add their new room tiles to their Manor, rotating as needed. Room tiles must always be placed door to door.
Phase 4: Rest
Advance the round marker, pass the first player token, and refresh blueprint tiles. When the round maker advances to the star space, immediately begin Grand Opening Tour.
Grand Opening Tour
During the Grand Opening Tour, players simultaneously roll dice and place them through their manor in the same fashion as Manor tours. Place all dice of the same number, then re-roll and continue placing. If you have more dice in a number than can be placed, set aside the extras near the entrance as Unhappy Guests; you can’t use them on subsequent rolls during the tour. Use Inspiration tokens during the tour when warranted.
Once all dice have been used, score three points for each die in your Manor (zero for Unhappy Guests). Then proceed to final scoring.
All players score additional Prestige points in four different areas: Room color majority, Manor room diversity, leftover Inspiration and largest Manor. The player with the most Prestige wins!
At first glance, Dice Manor reminded me of Castles of Mad King Ludwig, for its placement of room tiles in various sizes. But mechanically, they are vastly different.
Dice Manor is light, family friendly, and quick to grasp. You compete for room tiles and advertising by trying to outbid your opponents with sets of like-sided dice. At each round’s end, you’ll need to be clever in placing room tiles, so manor tours are easy to execute.
Inspiration tokens are a consolation prize if you are outbid on room tiles.
Dice games naturally bring an exciting element of chance. But Dice Manor’s clever use of Inspiration tokens adds a delightful strategy to the mix. These tokens let players tweak a die’s value, turning potential setbacks into strategic choices. A room space not looking too hot? Bid on advertising to score additional prestige and extra dice.
The multitude of choices is what makes Dice Manor a fantastic puzzle, and it’s not just a multiplayer solitaire game either. There’s agency in every turn, and your bidding choices will impact others.
Dice Manor’s theme was appealing to me. I love games where I’m architecting something. While the game boasts vibrant art and seamlessly integrated mechanics, there’s a lot going on at once. I think it’s best for ages 12+, especially since the concept of building a manor house might not resonate with younger players.
However, my adult game group thoroughly enjoyed Dice Manor and would eagerly play it again. The game delivered numerous suspenseful moments, especially when someone missed out on a room tile or secured the coveted top advertising spot.
Importantly, Dice Manor maintains its excellence at every player count. Although personally I find the game a more lively experience with the increased player interaction that comes with three or more players.
Arcane Wonders provided The Family Gamers a promotional copy of Dice Manor for this review.
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Age Range: 14+ (we say 12+)
Number of Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30-45 minutes