Dice City, review

David brought Dice City to game night so I got to check it out.

Dice City player board. The dice land on intersection of number and color
Dice City player board. The dice land on intersection of number and color

The game is the exact middle ground of Machi Koro and Imperial Settlers. It takes the dice from Machi Koro and combines it with the resource management of Imperial Settlers.

You start with a large board in front of you filled with useful but unexciting builds. You roll all your dice and place them in their correct spot (where the color of dice and number rolled meet), and then activate that building. Sometimes you get a resource, sometimes you get an attack point, sometimes a weird power up goes off. You then use those resources and attacks to get new cards and VPs, perhaps attacking and disabling your opponent’s buildings.

That’s pretty much the entirety of the game mechanically, actually. Get resources, spend resources, hope that the numbers you need roll. This isn’t a criticism, simple mechanics for card building combined with interesting cards is all you need. So let’s talk about the cards.

Full setup of Dice City
Full setup of Dice City

The cards are definitely more Machi Koro than Imperial Settlers. There’s more of simple combos such as “Activate every harvest card in your row”, and very little of the more complex meta-cards of Imperial Settlers, which makes sense as those complicated Settlers engines require colossal hand draw and complete control of what plays when, which is quite literally impossible to set up in Dice City.

I think Dice City never quite jelled for me because I already played and got familiar with the games at the two extremes of it’s gameplay. It’s a perfectly good game in it’s own right, but for light card building and dice rolling I’d prefer Machi Koro, while for deep card building Imperial Settlers is much more stimulating. I’d recommend this if you have neither of the two above but are interested in the genre, or if you feel that Machi is too light while IS is too heavy, but me personally I feel like the two games on either side are better experiences overall.

Ghostbusters the Board Game, review

The hugely successful Cryptozoic kickstarter shipped and we got to play it.

Ghostbusters The Board Game, omw to level 2
Ghostbusters The Board Game, omw to level 2

It’s a very ameri-style game, and feels a bit like a very simplified Arkham Horror more than anything else. You get two actions per turn, plus 1 special action. You lose actions by getting slimed, but can’t lose that special action (called a ‘maneuver’, which to paraquote a British philosopher, make it sound a bit like a tank commander game).

The game is very scenario driven and each scenario makes big changes to how the various rules run (goals, penalties for misses, etc). In general though the game is about moving figurines around, avoiding ghosts and avoiding losing actions to them, and shooting the proton guns which involves rolling dice to verify hits. Each character has a few power ups that add a bit more complexity to it, but the game never gets very complex beyond that.

Ghostbusters the Board Game, what happens when you miss a gate too many times
Ghostbusters the Board Game, what happens when you miss a gate too many times

The figurines are very nice and so is all the art. All of it genuinely reminds me of the old cartoons (not familiar with the new one :P) and feels very thematic.

The game is strictly coöp with one major exception: it’s possible through your actions to cause other players to get slimed, and there’s an action to de-slime them. That action though doesn’t grant XPs, unlike busting ghosts. Leads to a slight ‘battletoads’-like mentality of “Well, you slimed me once so I get to slime you back” which inevitably escalates up.

Ghostbusters the Board Game
Ghostbusters the Board Game. We spent most of this scenario around this car. Nice car though.

It’s a solid game if you want a dice heavy miniature game, and especially if you have kids/younger cousins who are into the Ghostbusters. There’s a lot of scenarios that offer a lot of play and the miniatures are really quite nice.

Dragon Slayer review


A kickstarter micro from Joe (thank you Joe), and another fun travel game.

Dragon Slayer at Tea-n-more

Roll dice to kill dragons. Blue is easy to kill, green is hard to kill, red is hard to kill. Very push your luck with one minor complication of “challenging” where you can force someone to fight 1 more dragon. I think this is one of those games that I’ve never won against anyone, cause for a mathematician I am surprisingly bad at anything push-your-luck.

No fear though. I am also a problem solver. I wrote a perl script to try every possible strategy of this game to find the ultimate path: http://www.codesend.com/view/27b4c6737ffb0f258d21f0870ef40f39/ (note, that page apparently stripped the slash from \n turning them into n, putting the slashes back in is left as an ‘exercise to the reader’)

Ran the above a million times as it plays the game against itself, and dumped out the results split first into 3 bravery strategies, then per line as to what dragons to fight first and when to stop: G is green, B is blue, R is red:

G: 3.55582724284349
GB: 4.83913016118448
GR: 5.93901419466194
GBR: 5.88304461564739
GRB: 6.12547757531082
B: 1.9422564628113
BR: 5.43162020514388
BG: 4.73947086902975
BGR: 5.8079270759356
BRG: 5.91094849827848
R: 4.72113197709436
RB: 5.62512548057186
RG: 6.04521196103285
RGB: 6.19196504822949
RBG: 6.08984259117755

G: 3.55736209937724
GB: 4.83183743505442
GR: 6.01160921057368
GBR: 6.29789774295348
GRB: 6.53803741345588
B: 1.94158197242587
BR: 5.36629909166177
BG: 4.64798593695629
BGR: 6.12940520044637
BRG: 6.2615042177132
R: 4.71602131055088
RB: 5.71132962958519
RG: 6.22440274061364
RGB: 6.74595327517729
RBG: 6.64300027598123

G: 3.55764476897338
GB: 4.48069396594449
GR: 5.52641870440066
GBR: 5.59525061049419
GRB: 5.86873999405275
B: 1.94178904084078
BR: 4.67586588050834
BG: 4.05631865243732
BGR: 5.16761932796078
BRG: 5.34570040879832
R: 4.71543010930324
RB: 5.43283062052642
RG: 5.88802350064729
RGB: 6.23849672751084
RBG: 6.13399333787887

So the optimal strategy is “Fight Red, then Green, then Blue, stop if you’re ever down to 1 die”. Ready to play this again now 😛


Someone pointed out that this forgets that it’s possible to start over after killing 3 dragons. Went ahead and wrote a mini script to solve 4+ dragons and dropped it on gist here.

Chart for the 4+ goes:

RGBB:2		8.95587161894434
RGBG:2		8.1855250370825
RGBB:1		7.83691944708024
RGBR:2		7.2969944065635
RGBG:1		6.79607331108854
RGBGB:1		5.9229677180421
RGBR:1		5.82409754092746
RGBBG:1		5.67912411832824
RGBRB:1		5.56045424181697
RGBRG:1		5.39682940693488
RGBBR:1		5.20002033243532
RGBGR:1		5.10485791835152
RGBRBG:1	4.27486930828093
RGBBGR:1	4.1413477013505
RGBBRG:1	4.07694637988488
RGBGBR:1	4.00618498734889
RGBRGB:1	3.99050347932869
RGBBR:2		3.86899117368152
RGBGRB:1	3.86877828054299
RGBBG:2		3.81470911086718
RGBGR:2		3.58723111077088
RGBGB:2		3.43148089674771
RGBRG:2		3.26223520818115
RGBRB:2		3.07526703651569
RGBRGBB:1	2.81118143459916
RGBBGRB:1	2.75342465753425
RGBGBRB:1	2.73006774361647
RGBRBGB:1	2.67808219178082
RGBGRBG:1	2.66980146290491
RGBRBGG:1	2.61403040810883
RGBRGBG:1	2.52007347152978
RGBBRGB:1	2.49118188997104
RGBBRGG:1	2.47904524007771
RGBGRBB:1	2.46516500785752
RGBGBRG:1	2.3903355704698
RGBGBRR:1	2.3730625334046
RGBGRBR:1	2.30893433799785
RGBBGRG:1	2.28329361927456
RGBRBGR:1	2.27629513343799
RGBRGBR:1	2.24063009234112
RGBGBR:2	2.2267829656234
RGBBGRR:1	2.18224789915966
RGBBGR:2	2.17974814559255
RGBBRGR:1	1.96322336398053
RGBBRG:2	1.89581278579754
RGBRBG:2	1.87088653119942
RGBRGB:2	1.74605504587156
RGBGRB:2	1.67498388730319
RGBGRBG:2	0.8984375
RGBRBGR:2	0.89143865842895
RGBBRGG:2	0.86304158185519

GenCon: RattleBones review

No relationship to Rattle Battle.

Angelica’s friend Aurelia introduced us to RattleBones. It’s a game in a genre that would be called “dice builder” if that wasn’t already a different thing. You literally build dice in this one, as you pop sides out with a little plastic prong, then add new sides in.

RattleBones board
RattleBones board

See how the dice have little colored circles in them?

RattleBones, close up
RattleBones, close up

The idea is you add new facets to the dice, then when those facets come up, that power triggers.

Good game for kids since being a dice game you have a pretty good change of winning no matter what you do. Looking forward to what other game styles will come out of that mechanic.