By Rick teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — There are so many really good things about Castle Dice that is hard to imagine that this won't be another huge hit to come from Kickstarter.
Of course, gamers have their own minds and I have written about other games in a similarly resolute fashion and some of them have never reached my expectations. but consider these strengths.
The components are of superior quality. The dice are etched and not just painted on the surface. There is a lot of them, 62 for the competitive game and one more thrown in for the solo experience.There are four player boards and a turn tracker and each of them is on solid stock that is unlikely to wear quickly or curl at the edges.
The other components, over 100 cards, 160 tokens and some tracking beads, are all of good quality to be both functional and durable.
The idea of the game is to build the best castle and have it defended, furnished and supplied to the best of your ability. There are points award for all of those things. At the end of seven turns, the player with the most points wins.
Theme is very strong throughout the rules and the object of the game. While on the topic of rules, the book is quick to the point and well-written to make getting the game rolling the first time quite painless. It is also well organized so finding answers for rules questions easy and not time consuming.
There are several thing about the way this game executes resource collection and management that are quite lever and unique. Each turn there are a set number of resource dice available for roll and there are a certain number that can be chosen by the players depending on what the player is trying to build or bring into play.
Players will then roll the dice and they all go into a pool of dice available to all players. Next there is a drafting segment where each player chooses one result in turn. That means that the luck of one player getting a poor roll can be mitigated by the fact that the player will also have the opponents' dice from which to select resources.
The resources are wood, stone, gold, land and iron and each one is a bit more rare than the one before it. Barbarians will appear on dice faces to steal resources. There are animals, which can give you advantages over your foes and villagers who can performer a variety of tasks.
There are three stacks of cards from which to draw. At the end of each turn you can discard as many cards as you like and than replenish your hand by drawing cards from either or both decks. The third deck can only be accessed by having one of each kind of animal and trading them in for one of the cards.
Game play is rapid once the rules are learned. Most games will be played in an hour or less depending on the amount of time it takes those playing to make decisions on which dice to choose.
Best of all, the game really is immersive and fun to play. There isn't much downtime. If there is one negative, it is that since the building of parts of the castle is a primary way to earn points, bad card draws can skew the odds of winning in or away from certain players. But the mechanic to discard any cards at the end of each round does keep this from being a deciding factor in most games.
Castle Dice was designed by Luke Peterschmidt, who I mostly fondly remember as being themastermind of the CCG Guardians and for being the one to guide Rage into the marketplace for Wiards of the Coast. He has done a solid job here.
For more information about the game, go to: http://www.funto11.com/castledice_main.html
The game sells for $65 and that's a good price considering the number and quality of the components.