These dice go all the way to the Top!

After a very hectic May, I finally was able to get a fairly quiet weekend. It was nice. On that note, it was also a reserved weekend when it comes to board gaming, but I did get a few plays in: My Little Scythe, 7 Wonders Duel, currently unnamed game that I am co-creating for Gencant, DropMix, and Rory’s Story Cubes.

Closest game and favorite play of the week: My Little Scythe. My family received this game back at Christmas and it has sadly been sitting in its shrink-wrap in the closet for the past 5 months. I was able to convince my boys (14 and 7) to give it a try this weekend. My youngest (who really didn’t want to sit through the rules and just wanted to start playing) managed to be the first to 4 trophies. During the grand finale, though, I also was able to obtain a 4th trophy to tie him. We both had 8 friendship at the end of the game (so, still tied) but the final tie-breaker (most gems in control on the board) went to me. Yeah, yeah, yeah…I’m a meanie, I get it.

Besides that, I was quickly enamored with this game. I love the simplicity that makes it easy for young ones to figure out, but that the actions (while child-friendly) are very fun and rewarding. I hope to give this game a deeper review after a few more plays.

Speaking of reviews, it is Monday and time for the Game Review of the Week. Today, I will be discussing my newest KickStarter fulfillment –> Roll to the Top!

The stats: Published in 2018 by Cwali; designed by Peter Joustra and Corné van Moorsel; Art by Steven Tu; 2-5 players; estimated play time at 15-25 minutes; ages 9+

The background: Last year, I recall hearing good things about this game and so when it popped up on Kickstarter as available in a Laminate version, I was immediately IN. While waiting for the game to fulfill, I have played some other R&W (roll-and-write) games that have been fun, which only increased my expectation for this title to arrive.

The setup and components: The setup is super easy. After opening the box, take out the 5 polyhedral dice and the single white die, a dry-erase marker for each player and then choose which building to play, handing the appropriate laminated card to each player. For your first play, it is suggested to use Burj Khalifa to learn the rules. I am pleased with the card quality and the dice are good as well.

In the original game, you received a tear-off pad for each ‘monument.’ In the new version I received, you get 5 laminated cards for each monument.

The Gameplay: Each round, 1-to-5 of the colored polyhedral dice (along with the six-sided white die) will be rolled. The white die is moved to the ‘next player’ (more on that later). Of the dice rolled, players will choose how many, if any, of the dice numbers to fill in on their sheet. When using the numbers on the dice, each number can be used individually or multiple dice can be added together to make a larger number. Regardless, each die can only be used once per player — everyone, though, makes their own decisions on how to utilize the dice roll. Everyone starts their sheet at the bottom, where you can put any number in a block. After that, any block sitting on top of another block, must be filled in with a number that is equal to or greater than any & all blocks it directly rests on. So, on my pyramid, I may have a 1 and a 5 next to each other on the bottom row. The single block that is centered above those two numbers must be a 5 or higher.

The goal of the game is to be the first to fill in all of your monuments’ blocks. Because this is a “racing” game, the goal is to use each die roll as efficiently as possible.

My wife and I definitely used the dice rolls in different methods, but ended up reaching the top at the same time.

The other bit of strategy that plays a ‘secondary character’ in this game is the white die. The face that appears on this die tells the next ‘active’ player what to do with the dice before the next roll –> subtract a die, add a die back in, swap two dice, or pick to either add a die or subtract one. Late in the game, the white die can have a significant impact. If you have been aggressive and utilizing higher numbers, then you will be focused on keeping the D20 in play and probably kicking out the D4 or D6. Your strategy might be the inverse, though, if you have been diligent in using low numbers. Subtract that D20 to make things tougher on your more aggressive opponent.

Note: if one die is rolled, a single die will always get added the next round. And if five dice are rolled, there will always be a die subtracted the following turn.

Review Thoughts: Through several plays, I am really enjoying this quick game. Burj Khalifa is a good starting monument, but Roll to the Top! becomes more interesting and really starts to shine as you move into the monuments with unique layouts. I took a more aggressive approach when we played with the Space Needle and it felt great to see that strategy pay off big for me.

After two ties (Burj Khalifa and Pyramid), I went speeding off to victory in the Space Needle, winning by a dozen spaces!

Furthermore, I appreciate games like this in which turns generally take the same amount of time, regardless of player count. Each game is fairly quick and it is very easy to achieve several plays in a single sit-down. I am very happy with this Kickstarter pick-up.

For more board game reviews, discussions, and photos, follow me over on Twitter @boardgamecrock1

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