224 – A Deluge of Versatile Dice – The Family Gamers Podcast

Knot Dice

Episode 224
A Deluge of Versatile Dice

This week, we are drowning in a deluge of dice games. It has been a really long time since we talked specifically about dice games (all the way back in episode 66!) and we thought that instead of doing a top 5, we’d talk about how versatile dice are and all the different ways they get used in games.

We learn that the “224” class of patents are for clothing that have things attached (belt loops, an apron, etc.)

Thanks again to First Move Financial for sponsoring the podcast. For expert help applying some of the same principles that help you take down your friends in Agricola, head over to firstmovefinancial.com/familygamers today to schedule a call.

What We’ve Been Playing

The Bears and the Bees (Grandpa Beck’s Games) – see our SNAP review. Your goal is to empty your hand of cards.

Christmas Lights (25th Century Games) – a bit like Hanabi, but competitive. You’re trying to set out a string of Christmas lights in a specific order. But you can’t see your own light cards!

5er Finden (HABA) – a favorite game for our family. See our 12-year-old smirking over her win on Instagram.

Cloud Control (25th Century Games) – Claire won this one too, even though she had to miss the second half of the game…

Dungeon Drop (Gamewright) – drop a bunch of cubes into your play area, this forms the “dungeon” that you’re exploring. An interesting gimmick for randomization.

Unmatched: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Restoration Games) – Buffy is really powerful. (The secret is to suck a few hits and bleed her of cards.)

Tidal Blades (Skybound Games) – after pushing through the overwhelm our first time, we’re starting to understand it. It’s really cool, but we wish there was a little less set up.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (25th Century Games) – there’s a rubber chicken in the box. Very useful for making little boys laugh. You are a fox, trying to “collect” chickens from the coop (and also cook the chickens you’ve already gathered…)

Shifting Stones (Gamewright) – review below.

Dragomino (Blue Orange Games) – why would you need “My First Kingdomino”? Because it’s still fun and the dragons are adorable.

Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time (Fun Forge / Passport Studios) – a coop that we’d recommend as a step up from Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters.

Atheneum: Mystic Library (Renegade Games) – We love the spatial puzzle of organizing the books in a library. And the footprint was surprisingly (pleasantly!) small.

Dice Forge, with expansion (Libellud / Asmodee) – We still love being able to customize the dice and make them more powerful over time.

Discoveries: The Journals of Lewis and Clark (Ludonaute) – Surprise! Sneaky homeschooling attached to our current social studies unit on the great westward expansion.

Shifting Stones green plant tile

SNAP Review – Shifting Stones

We love this puzzly game that’s easy to understand. It’s full of a good tension where you can never quite do all the things you want to do.

See the pictures and read the transcript for this SNAP review.

Giveaway Winner

We announce the winner for My First Castle Panic. Congratulations Sara!

Dice are Flexible!

Dice might be the most versatile element in board gaming. They can be used in so many ways: for randomization, as counters, as “workers”, as a building tool, and more. Let’s talk about some of our favorite games that use dice in different ways.

Dice Throne (aka “Battle Yahtzee“) is a combat game, and also uses set collection. It feels a lot like other back-and-forth battle games (Battle Goats, Magic: The Gathering) . Roll For It is also set collection.

How about some spatial puzzles? Our favorites are Roll Player and Sagrada. Although both have dice drafting, only Roll Player gives a lot of chances to later manipulate and change those dice values. Knot Dice (from Black Oak Games) also has lots of game options that are spatial puzzles.

Using dice as workers is an interesting twist on worker placement. Endangered is our favorite option here – roll your dice and then decide which locations make the most sense. Other games that use dice as workers are Euphoria and Teotihuacan (in which you never roll your dice at all, but instead you increase their “rank” one step at a time).

Steampunk Rally is an engine builder, with dice everywhere and literally building the engine for your airship. Dice Forge is also a sort of engine builder. You’re physically upgrading the dice to increase your chances of the results you want.

Once we talk about engine building and dice building, we have to mention Quarriors, which is a deck-builder except with dice. You’re always pulling the same amount of dice from your bag, but you’re trying to put better dice into your bag – and in deck-builder fashion, you can also cull dice and discard them to make your bag better!

What about drafting? Sushi Roll is an excellent example of dice drafting, while Knot Dice and a lot of roll-and-write games use drafting to good effect as well.

And of course, pure push-your-luck with games like Zombie Dice and Can’t Stop.

We’re putting a poll up in The Family Gamers community. What do you think is the most dynamic element to use in a tabletop game? We’ll share the answers with you in episode 226!

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Or, for the most direct method, email us! andrew@thefamilygamers.com and anitra@thefamilygamers.com.

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