190 – Our Top Roll & Writes – The Family Gamers Podcast


Episode 190

Our Top Roll & Writes

We’re going to talk about a few roll & write games today. But let’s kick it off with a fact about the number 190… Nick Martinelli reminds us that the grain alcohol Everclear is available at 190 proof (95% alcohol and that’s a high enough percentage to use it to make hand sanitizer!)

Thanks to our sponsor, First Move Financial. Look out for scams related to the stimulus check! The Treasury Department and IRS will not call or email you. Go to irs.gov/coronavirus and click on “Economic Impact Payments” to find out more about your stimulus check or update your information. And go to FirstMoveFinancial.com/familygamers to schedule a 15-minute call and get advice that’s more specific to your situation.

What We’ve Been Playing

Roland Wright – from Perplext, by Chris Handy. Roll dice, draw colored dice into your personal grid. You’re trying to create certain patterns to match cards in your hand, but you will also erase dots to use special powers. It’s actually an engine-builder game in roll & write form.

Endangered – from Grand Gamers Guild, by Joe Hopkins (we had him on the show about a year ago). We played incorrectly (and unintentionally made it a lot easier), but we really enjoyed it. The goal of the game is to win over the majority of “ambassadors” to your cause. But you won’t even know what their victory conditions are until you begin to try to win them over! Meanwhile, you’re also trying to slow the destruction of habitat and encourage the animals to breed.

Bananagrams – (from Bananagrams) has become a good supplement to “school” for our older kids.

5-Minute Marvel – from Spinmaster Games. Our youngest loves playing this, and it’s educational in pattern-matching (aka “decoding”). We lose pretty much every time with him, and that’s okay.

Monster Match – from North Star Games / Happy Planet. Another great pattern-matching game to play one-on-one with our youngest (as I mentioned when we reviewed it).

Super Powered Smash Masters

SNAP Review – Super Powered Smash Masters

Listen to our five minute review of Super Powered Smash Masters, a simple dueling game of superhero smashing.

Giveaway winner!

Last week, Anitra wrote the last entry in our series on HABA games that support learning.

HABA and First Move Financial are making it possible for us to give away one copy of each of the games we wrote about!

The winner of Brandon the Brave: Stephanie Cardoza! Congratulations.

Enter the giveaway for Tiny Park.

Roll & Write Games

Rather than give you a “top 5”, we’re giving you our favorite roll & write games for specific situations.

Let’s start with a the ultimate, classic roll & write: Yahtzee. The very definition of a roll & write: You roll dice, you write some results down, it affects what you can do on future turns.

For Gamers:

Our favorite “meaty” game in this genre (so far…) is Fleet: The Dice Game from Eagle-Gryphon Games. It seems like a lot of decision making, but it’s simpler than it first appears. A game great for the min-max crowd.

For Purists:

No “flip and write” or “draw and draw” here! Roll the dice and write down the numbers in Hex Roller from Renegade Studios (our review).

“It’s just you versus the dice, and if there happen to be other people around, great.”


The iOS / Android implementation is pretty good – very faithful to the board game, and lets you choose to play solo, head-to-head, or even use the app just for the dice or just for the scorepad.

For Theme:

Cartographers from Thunderworks Games is dripping with theme. Flip cards out, they’ll specify 1-2 types of terrain in a shape that everyone has to draw onto their map. But sometimes you’ll draw monsters! These require you to hand your map to another player – who will probably put the monsters in the worst possible place for you.

Andrew loves all the extra flavor in the game – put your “cartographer name”, the name of your land, a crest, etc. This is also a game that looks awesome if you choose to use colored pencils or markers to fill in the different terrain types.

For Family Fun:

Dungeon Academy from The OP is the favorite for our family to play together. Younger kids can play it and have fun, even if they don’t win – because there are “small wins” (such as finishing first in a round or getting a specific loot card) that may be in their grasp.

Because this is a real-time game where everyone takes their “main” (ie not scorekeeping) turn at the same time, younger or slower players won’t feel left out. However, it’s not good for players who succumb to “analysis paralysis” – you’ll need to make choices quickly, knowing that you can probably recover from a mistake later.

See our review for more on this fast-moving, all-ages game.

For Travel:

If you have a limited amount of space (or are likely to be interrupted), we highly recommend Qwingo from Gamewright.

Everyone has a scoresheet and a pencil, but there’s only one die for the entire game! On your turn, announce a number (between 1-100), then roll the die. Everyone must place that number somewhere in the corresponding column – in sequence with any other numbers.

There are other games that do similar sequencing of numbers (Digit’y Do comes to mind), but Qwingo does it in an incredibly portable format.

There are so many more roll and write games (or their descendants) we could talk about – but we only had time for a few. Tell us about your favorite roll and write games!

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One comment

  • Stephanie Cardoza

    Great episode! I’m a little biased because I was super excited to hear my name on the podcast! Thanks for the giveaway- can’t wait to play Brandon the Brave with my kids!