SNAP Review – Roll to the Top: Journeys
[Andrew] Hey Anitra, we’re on a roll.
[Anitra] We are… Wait, is this a setup for another bad pun? Because I already know why we’re here.
[Andrew] Well, it was. Wait, did you just roll your eyes at me?
This is a SNAP review for Roll to the Top: Journeys.
Roll to the Top was designed by Peter Joustra and Corné van Moorsel. The first version was published in 2018. This new version published by Allplay has better art, cleaner mechanics, and more interesting landmarks to explore.
The box says its for up to six players, ages 8 and up, and plays in about 20 minutes.
So Anitra, let’s talk about that art.
Horia Tundrea did the new illustration for the backgrounds, and the graphic design has been updated too (by Anca Gavril & Daniel Profiri). All the boards are very clear, and as we expect from Allplay, the dry erase actually works well and erases cleanly.
We have to mention the dice. There are six of them, and they’re all different and colorful and chunky. I love this because it actually makes it harder to mix them up (confuse them).
So why all the different dice? Let’s talk about the mechanics and how to play this game.
Roll to the Top is a race. Your goal is to be the first person to fill all the spaces on your board.
The active player rolls all the dice in the dice pool, then puts the action die in front of the next player.
Now all players write numbers from the dice on their individual boards.
You’re generally building from the bottom up: each space must receive a number that is equal or larger than the largest number in the spaces below it (and those spaces all have to be filled already). You can use each of the rolled dice once – either on its own or adding it to other numbers – but you can also choose not to use one or more of the rolled numbers.
You also can’t subtract dice from each other.
When everyone is done writing numbers, the next active player does the action specified on the action die. This might be adding another die to the active pool, removing a die from the pool, or swapping an active die with one that’s been set aside. Then the new active player rolls all the dice in the pool and it’s time for another turn!
When someone fills the last box on their landmark, the game is over and they win.
There’s also a solo mode, in which you are always the active player, but you put Xs on a companion landmark sheet each turn, depending on how many dice you just rolled. Your goal is to fill your sheet with numbers before the companion sheet is filled with Xs.
So Anitra, what did we expect from Roll to the Top: Journeys?
[Anitra] I like roll and writes, and the simplicity of this one really appealed to me. I also loved the dice from the moment I opened the box. ;)
[Andrew] First off, I’ve said for a long time that I wish companies would settle on box sizes. If you pick up some of these Allplay games, I’ve got good news for you. It makes the organizer in me so happy that all of these are the same box size. First because it’s a great size for a smaller box game, and also because it’s consistent. Thank you!
[Anitra] Looking at the rules, we expected this to feel a lot like On Tour or Welcome To… where you’re pretty much focusing on your own puzzle and don’t care much about what other players are doing.
[Andrew] Roll to the Top is available on mobile devices, and Journeys is actually a remake of the original game, so I had a pretty good idea what I was getting into. I expected it to really shine as a solo game, but I didn’t know how engaging it would be in a group. But that leads us to our surprises.
The adding and removing of dice actually encourages you to look around the table and change your strategy. If you can put in lower numbers than anyone else, maybe you want to get rid of those big dice! But maybe you’ve got some handy spots for big numbers that other players would have a harder time using – if that’s the case, you could add large dice or remove small ones when it’s your turn.
Since Roll to the Top is a straight race to fill your board, it encouraged us to take risks. In a five-player game, we thought one player had it locked up, but other players took risks to write bigger numbers or strange combinations and we ended up with an incredibly close game. (Only one box apart!) Sometimes these are decisions made out of necessity, but it doesn’t make the game any less exciting.
The solo mode actually led to a very different strategy; it’s best to always stick with the lowest numbers possible so that when the right roll comes up, you can fill the board really really quickly.
Each of the six boards has a very different feel, so there’s no worry that repeated plays of Roll to the Top: Journeys will feel stale. There are different strategies for each board that’s available.
Although I like the look of the dice, they’re not quite as readable as we’d like them to be – they use this kind of handwritten font on them, which takes a little getting used to. The ones and sevens on the higher sided dice can be tricky to read, for example.
So Andrew, would we recommend this game?
[Andrew] Roll to the Top: Journeys is a great game for families. It’s simple to play, although the strategy of which numbers to write and which to skip over can be a little bit challenging. Although younger players can play, the box says ages 8 and up, and that seems about right for kids to be able to actually enjoy the game. And there’s a little bit of arithmetic in it, too. (that’s true!) Good for us.
[Anitra] Much like On Tour, you could use extra boards to accommodate more than 6 players, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that. More players means less chances for each person to alter the dice pool, and being able to affect the dice is part of what keeps this game interesting.
So what are we going to rate Roll to the Top: Journeys?
I think we’re going to rate it 4 landmarks out of 5.
And that’s Roll to the Top: Journeys in a SNAP.
Find it on Amazon, buy direct from Allplay, or ask for it at your friendly local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Roll to the Top: Journeys from Allplay for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?
Roll to the Top: Journeys
Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 1-6
Playtime: 20 minutes