Dice Trip: Roll and Write Game Review
WBG Score: 7/10
Player Count: 1-4
You’ll like this if you like: Any roll and write!
Published by: Helvetiq
Designed by: Hartmut Kommerell
Dice Trip has a very pure concept. The package, name, branding, theme, rules and structure are all very clear. In a world of roll and writes turned up to 11, Dice Trip brings the genre back to the core. And the net result is a very pleasing, relaxing, and meditative game. This, I feel, is what this mechanism should be about. Some other games have somewhat over complicated the idea of rolling a dice and marking the result on a sheet of paper in the pursuit of points.
With games like Ganz Schon Clever, I like the clever cascading affect created. With Hadrian’s Wall, I love the deeply entrenched theme and structure. With Divvy Dice, I enjoy the choices and solo campaign experience. But all three, sometimes, just feel like too much of a game. This sounds silly I know. But aren’t roll and writes supposed to be simple?
I love all the aforementioned games, and will play them for years to come. They are my top three in the genre in fact. But I did have a longing for a more simplistic roll and right for those times when I am tired in my collection. Dice Trip hits this spot perfectly.
Time to Roll!
To set up, give each player a sheet and a pencil. Done! The rules? Well, they are not that much more complicated. Lets see if we can do it in three paragraphs?
Players take it in turn to roll the dice. Each player must then combine the four dice to make two numbers. A five and one could make a 51 or 15 for example. Each dice must be used once, and then the two numbers created are written onto the sheet in front of each player. The sheet will show a map of Switzerland. Although there are other maps in other variants. The idea is you are looking to score points by creating links of numbers in consecutive order. A link of four cities next to each other in directly ascending order will score two points. Five consecutive cities will get three points. This runs up to a run of ten plus which would score nine points.
Players will also score there longest road of ascending cities. They don’t have to be in direct order, but they must be in successive order. Players will score one point per city in this sequence. There are also points available for any number you write which has two of the same number in. 11, 22, 33 etc. And there are also coloured circles on the sheet which if you match up with the coloured dice, you will score a point. As in, there are four dice of four different colours. And for example, if you use the 4 from a blue dice to write 41 onto Basel which is the blue city, you will score an additional point.
Each player has two special powers that they can use when ever they wish. One is to re-roll the dice which affects all players. The other is to use the number on a dice twice, which only affects them. Any time you can’t or don’t want to use a dice, you must cross out a city and score a negative point. No number can be written twice so sometimes this is unavoidable. The board us set up into three zones. North East, North West, and South. If you can avoid crossing a city out in all three areas you will be rewarded with nine additional bonus points at the end of the game. If you have crosses in just one area, you will gain seven points. And if you have just one zone without any crossed-out cities you will get four points. Points will also be awarded if you can place a number from each 'decade'.
That’s the entire game. Highest score wins. Players will carry on until all cities have a number or a cross in. It feels so natural and relaxing to play. I find I can set up and teach this game to new players within a minute, and we are usually done for game one within ten minutes.
This game is best played relaxed on a couch. Drinking a hot beverage of your choice. Perhaps planning a driving holiday. Maybe even to Essen one year! That’s certainly how I last played it just now and it was a delight! The game works well in a solo or two, and is an idea filler or "chiller" game.
There is a delicate balance between getting your numbers into the right place, building the ascending roads, and not blocking other scoring opportunities. Learning where to place your first numbers is key and understanding the setup of the score sheet will help players improve their score; rewarding repeat plays. This improvement is satisfying and another reason this game is just so relaxing.
The feeling I get when I play this game is one of content and relaxation. It is not the best roll and write on the market. It doesn’t try to be the cleverest. But it certainly will end up being the one I reach for more than many others due to its accessibility.