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Mondrian: The Dice Game
Designer: Israel Cendrero, Sheila Santos
Year released: 2016
Time: 5-15 minutes
Key Words: Dexterity, dice rolling, modern art
Mondrian is a light hearted dexterity and set collection game that pays homage to the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. The entire presentation of the game comes in De Stjl style, right down to the start player token. Every player has their own pallet, paint brush and set of dice in their player colour. The game comes in a fairly small box, and is reasonably priced.
How does it work?
To start with, a grid of square cards is placed in the centre of the table. The number of cards placed is relative to the number of players playing the game. The game is then played over five rounds, seeing players trying to claim the cards with their dice by landing on them. Players use one die in the first round, then one additional die in each round until all five dice are used in the final round. Each player has a pallet in front of them showing five methods of using dice: throw with left hand, throw with right hand, throw with eyes close, drop from above the board, and flick from off the board; The latter two methods are measured using a cardboard paint brush. At the end of each round, if a player's die is one top of a card, and the value is equal or greater than the number on the card, then the card is claimed by that player. More than one die can be used on a single card, adding their totals up, and the player with the highest total wins the card. Players also have some colourless cards that can be used to claim the coloured cards on the table, by ‘paying the difference’ with their value. At the end of the game, each player creates a Mondrian style painting using a number of their claimed card, equal to the smallest number of cards rounded down to the nearest even number. Points are awarded for the face values of the cards, and to players controlling the largest number of coloured sections. Cards with lower values tend to have more coloured sections in them, as a way to balance the two scoring opportunities.
My thoughts on the game
Mondrian is a fun and engaging experience, so long as you don’t take it too seriously. The game is short and simple, and the dexterity element makes the gives instant satisfaction with almost every move. It can be difficult to be too strategic, because you can’t really try to make the dice land on a high number; and because you could be very successful in gaining cards throughout a game, but you will only ever use an equal number of cards for scoring as the other players. For me this is a non-issue, Mondrian is a ridiculous light hearted game that is more about dexterity than winning. Every game that I have played so far has been full of humour, as players get their dice knocked around the board, or as players wildly miss the cards in the centre of the table and send the dice astray.
What is the verdict?
This game ticks so many boxes for me, I love the Mondrian theme, the presentation of the game, the silly light-hearted gameplay and the fact that it can be played with a full compliment of players in around 15 minutes. It is the kind of game that can appeal to almost anyone, and the simple ruleset makes the game accessible to casual gamers and to children. This is a welcomed addition to my collection and one that I highly recommend for any fan of dexterity games, or people wanting a unique filler for their collection.
BGG Score - 9/10