The Herald Bulletin

June 27, 2013

Dwarven Miner strikes gold on tabletop

By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin

When I was at Origins a couple of weeks ago, the only new game I tried and made a point to play again was Dwarven Miner.

This offering, from Rather Dashing Games, is both a dice rolling and resource management game.
Players take of role of a Dwarf who is a miner and has patrons who are in need of gear before they can go out adventuring. Each turn the dwarf will roll 6 dice and try to accumulate the resources off the dice faces that are needed to craft the items needed by the patrons.
Patrons are represented by cards. Those cards outline the needs of that patron, the points to be won by outfitting that patron and any special abilities having that patrons might bestow on the dwarf. Once a patron  is outfitted, the points are scored and a scoring pawn is moved along a track on the board. first player to reach 30 points will win.
During a turn, a player can re-roll dice as often as he or she wants to get the needed type of resource. There is just one catch. Each die has an orc on one side. When that orc face comes up, that die is locked and can't be re-rolled.
Some of the bigger patrons (in terms of scoring points anyway) will require more resources and items than can be accumulated in a single turn. To deal with that situation, each player gets a backpack that can hold four resources and two items. It is also possible to use resources to build a vault, which will hold two more resources and one more item.
Four of the six dice has one face that is a burglar. When rolling one or more of those faces it is possible to steal resources or items from another player's backpack or vault, though the latter requires more burglar faces than the former.
the game uses custom dice and perhaps the lone downside of the game is that the gamer will need to apply the stickers to the dice before playing the first time. When I visited the company's booth on the final day of Origins and I was pleased to see that the demo copy they had used throughout the convention still had the stickers intact, so they wear well.
This is a game with a large number of strategic and tactical decisions, though those choices don't serve to overly complicate the rules or slow game play to any great degree. Those decisions include how far to push your luck in rolling the dice and which patrons to attempt to outfit from the three cards that are in hand.
This also is a game that will lend itself to expansions to give even more variety down the road.
Gameplay is around 30 to 40 minutes for up to four players. The box suggests ages 12 and up, though I believe that younger players than that could handle the rules and strategy.
Dwarven Miner is one of my favorite finds at Origins. My advice to those who are going to GenCon in Indy in August would be to go by the booth and get a demo. For those not making the trip, visit the company website at: http://ratherdashinggames.com/
Normally working in the mines isn't a glorious occupation. It is almost never this much fun. Dwarven Miner will be on my tabletop quite often in the future.