Lightning Dice – Let’s Roll With It!
Ask any “serious” strategy gamer about dice and you might just get an eye roll—games with high levels of chance are for the newbies, right? But let’s face it, a pair of dice is more ubiquitous to gaming than just about anything else. So why not put a little variety back into your gaming diet? You may just surprise yourself—and have a load of fun while you’re at it—with Lightning Dice, a game that puts a new twist on a timeless symbol of leisure.
Lightning Dice is a competitive dice-rolling game that rewards both quick reflexes and quick thinking. It’s one of those pick-up-and-play types of games that’s approachable for both gaming groups and families. Published by the Wild East Game Company and designed by Brian Bollinger, Lightning Dice is a spirited game of furious rolling for up to six players that clocks in at about 15-20 minutes.
Each player chooses a color and takes the matching set of six dice and a token in their color. Place the tokens on the starting area of the scoring track. Shuffle the Goal cards and form a draw deck in the middle of the table where everyone can easily see it. Finally, assign a number to each player (player one, player two, and so forth). It’s time to roll!
In Lightning Dice, everyone plays their turn at the same time. Once the players are ready to begin, draw a Goal card and place it face up. All players immediately attempt to roll the exact combination shown on the card. Players may keep or re-roll any of their dice any number of times (think Yahtzee on steroids). Once a player matches the Goal card, they yell “Got it!” and win the round. The winning player advances their token two points on the scoring track. If the player who claimed victory didn’t achieve the Goal card, then they lose two points and the mayhem continues.
Sometimes the dice just don’t cooperate! Thankfully there are several options available to players during their turn. Players can try to roll their player number (assigned during setup). This means they need to roll all six dice to match their number (e.g. player four would need to roll all fours). If they do this they call out “Bonus!” and move their token up the scoring track one point. Alternatively, players can try to roll the player number of another player. If they do this they yell “Thunder!” and move that player’s token down the scoring track one point. In either case, players can pick up their dice and still attempt to meet the requirements of the current Goal card.
Rounds continue like this until a player reaches 20 points on the scoring track.
As the name suggests, Lightning Dice plays extremely fast and requires quick wits. It’s hard to explain, but there’s just something mind-bending about digesting the combination on the Goal card and trying to match it on your dice. More than once I’ve caught myself picking up a die and re-rolling it when I didn’t have to. Words like “agonizing” and “crazy pills” are completely appropriate here!
But that’s exactly what makes Lightning Dice so addictive to play. The rounds move quickly, and even if you were oh-so-close to winning a round and came up short, the next round kicks in and off to the races you go.
To keep things fresh, the game designer also threw in a handful of Goal cards that don’t require players to roll their dice. Instead, the game turns into a manic exercise in dexterity. For example, one Goal card says, “Stack your dice to make a pyramid,” and another says, “Get two dice spinning like a top at the same time.” These little surprises make it a load of fun and give your brain a quick break.
In Lightning Dice, the rattling sound of dice hitting the table never stops. This, along with the almost infuriating feeling of not winning the round keeps emotions—and stress—on full tilt the entire time. My kids (ages 9 and 11) were constantly engaged, but they also said they felt a lot of tension.
For some families, these dynamics may not be what you want for game night. But for others, this might be the best way to burn off 20 minutes and get your blood pumping! It’s also a solid pick for a quick “filler” between longer games.
No one was swinging for the fence on this one. You get a couple of handy dice bags and the components aren’t completely terrible, but they don’t fit back into the box very well. The Goal cards themselves have a quality finish.
Lightning Dice puts an entertaining spin on something we’re all familiar with. There’s tons of ways to “house rule” the game and make it fit your needs. It does an admirable job of taking something we all take for granted and giving it fresh life.
Anyone can play this and it’s quite easy to set up and get going. The rounds move quickly, everyone is engaged all the time, and the competition gets heated! Quite a lot of fun.
You can buy Lightning Dice directly from Wild East Games, or ask for it at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a promotional copy of Lightning Dice from Wild East Games. All images in this review were also provided by Wild East Games.
Number of Players: 2-6
Age Range: 8+
Playtime: 15-20 minutes