Sports Dice Hockey
Sports fans, we’re back, with the latest installment of Sports Dice. This time it’s hockey! Sports Dice Hockey is the 4th installment in the Sports Dice series designed by Andy Geremia and published by Fun Wiz Games (an imprint of FoxMind Games).
As with the other games in the series, Sports Dice Hockey aims to capture the action of the real sport. Puck flying action is simulated by fast dice rolls and simultaneous turns. Games of Sports Dice Hockey take about 15 minutes, for ages seven and up.
In Sports Dice Hockey, players take to the cardboard rink. Opposing teams seek frosty glory by having the highest score after three periods. As usual, players will roll their dice, review who had more identical symbols, and apply the outcome. Of course, they’d like to score a goal in the process.
Sports Dice Hockey begins with each player (or team) taking a set of dice, followed by flipping the Power Chip. The winner of the toss takes possession of the chip to initiate the game. Next, both teams roll their dice for the initial face off at center ice. The team whose roll shows the highest number of any single symbol is declared the winner of the roll and proceeds to apply the corresponding action indicated on the face of the die.
Each die has four different symbols: Hockey Stick, Puck, Check, and Referee. The chart below outlines the action for each face.
Although most of the game is moving the puck back and forth on the ice, the ultimate objective is scoring goals. When the offense wins the roll with hockey sticks, they can choose to advance the puck or attempt to score a goal.
Goal-scoring is a two step process. First, the offense rolls and sums the number of Hockey sticks they rolled. If the puck is within the rink section with a +1 or -1 symbol, add or subtract one from that total. Then, the Defense team rolls the red Goaltender die only. The team with the higher number wins. After a successful shot on goal, move the scoring token one spot.
After each shot on goal, move the red token one space to the right on the Shot track. Each period lasts for five shots on goal. After three periods, the player with the higher score wins.
Checks and Referees
If the Check symbol is the winning roll, the winning player re-rolls all their dice with Check symbols. Then they apply the new majority die face, even if the opponent’s roll would have beaten the re-roll.
Just like in real games, Referees are always vigilant. When Referees win the roll, they penalize the opposing team, who rolls one fewer die on future rolls. The penalty remains in effect until the next shot on goal, or the next point is successfully scored.
Whenever the puck crosses center ice, players swap Offense and Defense roles. After any shot on goal, the puck returns to center ice for a face off, and both teams roll as Offense until sides are determined again.
The Power Chip
As with all the Sports Dice titles, the player with the Power Chip resolves ties. They may surrender the chip to their opponent to win a tie. Alternately, they can maintain Power chip ownership, but concede the roll to their opponent.
Sports Dice Hockey also introduces an advanced rule: the Power Chip can be used to initiate a reroll of any of the player’s dice.
Sports Dice Hockey packs a quite a punch in a little box. Its small footprint is perfect for travel or play at a pub, using the box lid and bottom for dice trays.
Players have no down time, rolling and taking actions non-stop. Sports Dice Hockey excellently simulates the fast-paced action of a hockey game, and after every shot on goal, the puck returns to center ice for another face-off. The puck will travel all over the rink just like in the real game! If a game ever ends in a tie, the rulebook outlines an overtime period to settle the score.
Sports Dice Hockey is the first game in the series to offer a re-roll actions, and I’m here for it! If you luck into Checks, you’ll be able to roll those dice and whatever the outcome is, you win the action for that round. I love the extra tension this re-roll provides; they’re powerful in a pinch.
As expected, the components are high quality. The glossy board allows the puck token to glide along with ease. The dice are super chunky and very satisfying to roll. Pro tip: use a dice try or box lids to contain rolls as the dice will travel farther than you’d like. Small hands can easily handle these dice and older eyes will have no trouble reading the faces.
A Chip off the Old Block?
Looking back at the other Sports Dice games I’ve played and reviewed, selecting a favorite is a genuine challenge. All the games in the series share the same fundamental mechanics at their core; they diverge by introducing thematic rules tailored to each specific sport. Hockey distinguishes itself with its rapid gameplay, thanks to the inclusion of a built-in shot clock. As far as simulating the sport itself, I think it achieves that with its back-and-forth play. I do think fans of the sport will genuinely enjoy the game, and want to play it over and over.
Sports Dice Hockey is the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for any hockey fan in your circle. It’s easy to teach and approachable for folks who might not otherwise love games. Sports Dice Hockey‘s compact size makes it perfect for small tables.
Ready to slapshot your way to glory? Find Sports Dice Hockey on Amazon or skate on down to your friendly local game store to pickup a copy.
The Family Gamers were provided a copy of Sports Dice Hockey for this review.
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Sports Dice Hockey
Age Range: 7+ (can skew younger with help)
Number of Players: 2
Playtime: 15 minutes