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Subject: BoardGame Generations -- Dice Forge rss

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Kenton White
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I'll admit that when I first opened this box, I thought I had made a horrible mistake. Expecting a light family weight game, the number of player boards, tokens, cards, cubes, community boards, pawns, extender boards, and other components more resembled the heaviest of heavy euro games. Oh, and then there was a half page of instructutions for simply putting the components into the insert and fitting everything back in the box. And the cryptic iconography that comes with a 2 page glossary to explain what each symbol means. Fearing the worst, I told my family we only had to play a few rounds if we wanted -- no pressure.

(Even the dice faces have their own die-cut board to be sorted onto.)

I'm glad we tried this. It is a really fun family weight game after all! The core of the game is every turn rolling two dice and collecting the resources shown. When I say every turn I don't just mean on your turn -- you are rolling dice and collecting resources even on your opponents turn. Which keeps everyone engaged and busy for the entire 45 minutes this game takes.

What you are doing different on your turn is taking one of two actions. You can buy new faces for your dice, which get you more and better resources when you roll; or you can buy a hero card, which essentially gives you points at the end.

(I love how the hero card art blends into the community board!)

Everyone, from my Mother to my youngest son, quickly got into the flow of this simple game. Roll your two dice, collect resources, the active player buys more dice faces or hero cards, repeat for 9 or 10 rounds and tally up your score.

The heart of the game is crafting your dice. You do this by removing weaker dice faces and replacing them with stronger dice faces. I was pleasantly surprised that this game follows the standard deck builder arc. At the beginning you concentrate on improving your resource generation by crafting your dice. At some point you switch from crafting your dice to buying victory points for the end. And just like a good deck builder, the strategy lies in when you make that switch.

(The chunky dice are well designed. No one, from my 77 year old mother to my 6 year old son, had trouble with the dice faces.)

But there is one big difference that makes Dice Forge even more family friendly than the simplest of deck builders, and that is deck thinning. Or rather, lack of deck thinning. You see, every time you add a dice face, you remove a dice face, so your "deck" is always exactly 12 "cards", which means that you can always efficiently get to your best resources. I know, I know -- thinning is what makes the deck building genre deep and engrossing. But deck thinning is an advanced strategy that is lost on my family, who just buy card after card without any thought to deck efficiency.

Because it is dice and not cards, everyone can enjoy an efficient engine, just like the pros. This makes the game super fun, as even the youngest player can build dice that regularly yield awesome combos. And this doesn't feel random simply because you have meticulously crafted your dice and all those great rolls are due to your wise choices and not chance, right?

Not only is this a great family weight game, I think it actually adds something new to the deck building genre. The dice crafting system, rather than being a gimmick, turns an advanced technique -- deck thinning -- into a simple mechanism accessible by everyone. It really opens up the more strategic aspects -- to get his benefit what should I give up -- to younger and more casual players. I look forward to expansions and more games using dice crafting.

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Brad Neuville

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Thanks for your thoughts on this game. Have you found that because of automatic deck thinning that it is easy for games to be close and competitive regardless of age and skill level of players?

This game looks so pretty and fun. If it is very accessible to kids and casual gamers it may end up in my collection.

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Kenton White
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I've found that the there is quite a bit of difference in the scores. While most of the scores are similar, if there is an experienced gamer in the group it is quite common for them to have a blow out score.

Let me add a bit of background to that. During the game each player has a public score track. I find that these scores are very close, which keeps the game competitive while it is being played. The points on the hero cards are not public and only tallied at the end. Children and less experienced gamers focus on the public score track, while more experienced gamers know to focus on the larger, private hero card points. This is what can lead to one player having a much larger score than the others.

I was worried this would lessen our enjoyment of the game. But since the public score tracks are so close, it keeps the game feeling tight until the very end -- even if one player is far ahead. The closest comparison is Ticket to Ride, where the score track is very close during the actual game, but one player can pull way ahead when the final tickets are tallied. If Ticket to Ride works with your group, then I wouldn't worry too much about the score imbalance in Dice Forge.

If your concern about tight scores is a fear that half way through the game there will be a clear and obvious winner, I haven't found this an issue. If it is ensuring a close score at the end, so that everyone has a fair chance of winning, then no -- Dice Forge seems balanced that despite the luck the best player will win and often by a large margin.

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Anthony Martins
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kentonwhite wrote:
I've found that the there is quite a bit of difference in the scores. While most of the scores are similar, if there is an experienced gamer in the group it is quite common for them to have a blow out score.

Let me add a bit of background to that. During the game each player has a public score track. I find that these scores are very close, which keeps the game competitive while it is being played. The points on the hero cards are not public and only tallied at the end. Children and less experienced gamers focus on the public score track, while more experienced gamers know to focus on the larger, private hero card points. This is what can lead to one player having a much larger score than the others.

I was worried this would lessen our enjoyment of the game. But since the public score tracks are so close, it keeps the game feeling tight until the very end -- even if one player is far ahead. The closest comparison is Ticket to Ride, where the score track is very close during the actual game, but one player can pull way ahead when the final tickets are tallied. If Ticket to Ride works with your group, then I wouldn't worry too much about the score imbalance in Dice Forge.

If your concern about tight scores is a fear that half way through the game there will be a clear and obvious winner, I haven't found this an issue. If it is ensuring a close score at the end, so that everyone has a fair chance of winning, then no -- Dice Forge seems balanced that despite the luck the best player will win and often by a large margin.



I've always just added the Heroic Feat points as I've earned them. Am I doing it wrong? (I'm on vacation and can't look at the rules.)
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Kenton White
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I'm always getting rules wrong, so take this with a grain of salt yuk In the section "End of Game and Scoring Phase" the rules say "Each player adds all the victory points from his Heroic Feat cards and his Hero Inventory together, including any 100 victory points tokens." I took that to mean that the hero card points are separate from the player point track.

I didn't see anything specifically saying you don't track the hero cards on the player track (you would probably need to do that to get a 100 point token) so lets say that tracking your hero card points is an acceptable variant!
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Aleksi Hynönen
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kentonwhite wrote:
I'm always getting rules wrong, so take this with a grain of salt yuk In the section "End of Game and Scoring Phase" the rules say "Each player adds all the victory points from his Heroic Feat cards and his Hero Inventory together, including any 100 victory points tokens." I took that to mean that the hero card points are separate from the player point track.

I didn't see anything specifically saying you don't track the hero cards on the player track (you would probably need to do that to get a 100 point token) so lets say that tracking your hero card points is an acceptable variant!


I don't really see the point of adding the points from hero cards until the end. You could potentially lose some points during the game but that barely ever happens.

Each type of card has fixed amount of points and it's not a secret which card you bought, you can even see which card is which by their backsides. Not adding the points immediately just makes it harder to see who's leading.

That being said, I like adding points from the cards at the end in Seasons but in that game it makes sense.
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Anthony Martins
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RolexiH wrote:
kentonwhite wrote:
I'm always getting rules wrong, so take this with a grain of salt yuk In the section "End of Game and Scoring Phase" the rules say "Each player adds all the victory points from his Heroic Feat cards and his Hero Inventory together, including any 100 victory points tokens." I took that to mean that the hero card points are separate from the player point track.

I didn't see anything specifically saying you don't track the hero cards on the player track (you would probably need to do that to get a 100 point token) so lets say that tracking your hero card points is an acceptable variant!


I don't really see the point of adding the points from hero cards until the end. You could potentially lose some points during the game but that barely ever happens.

Each type of card has fixed amount of points and it's not a secret which card you bought, you can even see which card is which by their backsides. Not adding the points immediately just makes it harder to see who's leading.

That being said, I like adding points from the cards at the end in Seasons but in that game it makes sense.


When I teach the game again, I might consider switching to adding the points at the end.

I found that people frequently forgot to add the points on the cards (but not the dice, when they were already looking at their boards).

Since you keep all your cards, it'll be easy to tally up at the end.
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Aleksi Hynönen
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Quizoid wrote:

When I teach the game again, I might consider switching to adding the points at the end.

I found that people frequently forgot to add the points on the cards (but not the dice, when they were already looking at their boards).

Since you keep all your cards, it'll be easy to tally up at the end.


By the rules, adding points at the end is the correct way to play.

Considering again why this is the case, I figured that it may make the game end bit more exciting.
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