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Subject: Australian Tabletop Gaming Network - Review rss

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Julien Charbonnier
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Australian Tabletop Gaming Network -

I Dug Dig

I’m not sure why, but mining seems to be something that has garnered significantly high popularity over the last several years. This is mainly seen in video games, but not completely. Mining has even infiltrated board games, that is to say, this isn’t the first board game I’ve played about mining, or even the second.

This game I am talking about, and have recently played, is called Dig, from French games developer Mangrove Games.

Dig is a card-based board game designed for 2 – 4 players aged 10 and up. The play time listed on the box is 20 – 45 mins.

The release version of the box will contain:

140 Hill Cards

6 Companion Cards

16 Wooden Recruit Meeples

40 Gem Tokens

1 Rulebook

The Kickstarter for Dig will be offering a few optional items and Kickstarter exclusives, such as a couple of extra Companions and a rubberised playmat.

As this is a fairly short style of game, story is something that isn’t focused on a whole lot. There is a blurb at the beginning of the rule book, declaring a competition wherein the players ‘dig’ into the Hill to find loot and encounter various nasties along the way. That is about the extent of the story, but it is completely enough. With this style of game, Lore either isn’t required (such as this case) or is borrowed from somewhere else (such as games based on existing books or movies).

Construction of Dig is of high quality, though I can only base this on the review copy I received. Information supplied with the game did inform that the release copy will use a better grade of card stock for the cards involved, which will make it even better. I was quite surprised the game included plastic tokens for the gems that actually look like gems, rather than pieces of cardboard with pictures on them. This is a nice touch. I always like having physical representations, rather than cardboard pictures.

A small annoyance was the size of the Hill cards in the Review version. They are square, being about 4 – 5 centimetres a side. Being rather small and square, this made shuffling them a bit difficult. The aforementioned information also stated the release version will have bigger Hill cards, which will help. Personally, I would have preferred to have the cards be standard American board game size, but only because I like to protect the cards in my games with plastic sleeves. If I like a game, I want to be able to play it a lot without the cards degrading through use.

The gameplay of Dig is quite easy to learn and easy to play. I have a tendency to pick up rules of games pretty easily. When friends and I fire up a new board game, I am normally the one who gets given the rulebook to figure out how it all works. But with Dig, all the people I played with picked it up just as easily as I and were away laughing within no time.

The game is mostly based on the Luck of the Draw. There are few tactical decisions, as what happens depends greatly on what cards are drawn from the Hill deck. But certain strategies can be employed to increase the chance of getting better cards or fending off the nasties more successfully.

There is no PvP element in the game. Each person works towards their own goal and can’t do anything to help or hinder the other players directly. The worst thing one player can do to another is to buy the Companions first, thus depriving others of getting them.

To acquire the 10 gems needed win, the players ‘dig’ into the Hill to get loot. This is represented by drawing a card from the Hill pile. This card can be one of four different precious items (Iron, Gold, Diamond, and Ruby) which are worth different amounts of Crystal. There are also enemies and a slew of special cards one can encounter. The Crystal can be used to buy Recruits that can be used to dig Galleries, which increase the chance of getting Gems. The precious items can also be used to buy Companions that help through the rest of the game, such as killing a certain type of enemy when it is drawn, or letting the player draw two Hill cards, keeping one and discarding the other.

I quite like the art style of Dig. It has been done in an 8-bit or pixelated style, reminiscent of old computer games. Or perhaps more modern voxel-based video games. Retro chic does seem to be very popular these days, and Dig definitely plays on that. The Fantasy setting has always been popular with a large amount of people. The two combined work very well together.

Some reviews or articles would have a very interesting sentence or blurb about now, proclaiming some fantastic sentiment about Dig. But I don’t. I’m not good with memorable one liners or those comments that stick in the brain. I will just say Dig is great. The people I played with really enjoyed it, as did I. We all hope the Kickstarter takes off with gusto and succeeds by multitudes. The optional playmat looks really cool. I would love to get my hands on one if I can afford it. Look for Dig on Kickstarter once it goes live.

Kris - March 16, 2017 - ATGN
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