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Diceland is a strategy game for two players -- there are 36 Hexagon-shaped land tiles to build your own scenarios, and 40 dice at your service! The object of the game is to gain possession of Diceland, eliminating all adversaries or finishing with the highest score. Quick start rules for immediate fun or complex settings for a deep strategy: it's up to you to decide how to play your own game!
Average Rating: 2.5 in 2 reviews
The title of this review says almost everything: this is a (lot) more tactic version of the classic game RISK, but here:
1) You use dice as tanks, and the changing value of the dice tells the strenght of a unit.
2) You can compose the map with the hexagons in the box, so every game is different.
3) Evety hexagon has got different terrains with different special abilities.
4) I'm too lazy to summarize the rules, because my english is not so good, so...
...I'll just repeat this: if you think you'll like a shorter and more tactic version of RISK, where you throw dice to win battles and gain territories, play this game: it's fun and more deep than it seems.
Personally, I prefer the other Kidult game: Dice Run, but it's just a matter of taste.
Familiar components abounded when I opened the box of Diceland (Kidult Games, 2002 Spartaco Albertarelli). As a dice lover, I was pleased to see forty dice, in two different colors I thought that this could only mean good things. Hexes are also included, of different types of terrain (shades of Catan). And another two-player game would be good for my collection!
And my initial pleasure at seeing the components faded a little at reading the rules, and then faded a bit more when actually playing the game. The problem is that the game is frankly boring, and that the strategy and tactics is so outweighed by luck to cause the game to become quite unfun. This may surprise some, as Im a big proponent of luck in games, but the luck is obscene in this game to the point of making some games pointless to play.
The basic game consists of the players building a board with the hexagons, using from eight to the maximum of thirty-six. Each player then takes an amount of dice to use in the game (equal to half of the tiles used to make the map + two). Both players roll all their dice, and the player rolling the most sixes places one die on any space on the map. The next player follows suit, and the players continue until every hex contains a die. Dice are left face up on the side that they were rolled, and whichever player has the higher total from the dice left over (the most clever mechanic in the game) gets to go first.
On a players turn, they do two things: attack (mandatory if possible), and move (possible, with restrictions). When attacking, a player can use any die on the board to attack any adjacent die. The attacking person rolls one of the dice that is to the side of the board and compares the number rolled to the number on the attacking die. Three things can happen
- If the numbers are the same, its a perfect attack, and the defending die is lowered by that many points. If the defending die goes below one, it is eliminated.
- If the number is less than the number on the attacking die, then it is a valid attack, and the defending die is lowered by that many points, again eliminated if it goes below one. The attacking die is then replaced by the die that was rolled.
- If the number is greater than the number on the attacking die, then it is a failed attack, the defender is unchanged, and the attackers die value is lowered by one.
A player can attack with two dice, as long as they are adjacent to each other, and attacking the same space. He then rolls two dice, and can use either number, comparing it to either die to resolve the attack. After one die kills the other, the attacking die moves automatically into that dies hexagon. After attacking, a player may move one other die one hexagon, as long as its not in contact with any enemy dice.
If, both players CANNOT attack each other two turns in a row, or if one players dice are eliminated, the game is over. The player who has the highest value of the dice left on the field wins the game (ties go to the player who moved first).
Several rules can be added for the advanced game. Fatal Attraction forces moving dice to move into contact with the opposition, if possible. Grouping allows a player to combine dice (meld a 1 die and a 4 die to get a 5 die). Territories adds special properties to certain hexes:
- Forests Dice in forests can move away from adjacent opponents.
- Mountains Mountains cannot be moved into during the game.
- Towns At the end of a turn, a player can increase the dies value by one.
- Hills Combined attacks cannot be made against dice here.
- Plains nothing
Some comments on the game:
1.) Components: The box is very sturdy (and bright) and has a great plastic insert that holds the pieces quite well. As I said earlier, its great to get forty red and blue dice in the box, and I can see that they would come in handy (for other games). The hexes would be neat, if I never saw another game. Theyre pretty much the same size as Settlers of Catan, but the art isnt that great, and they didnt punch out of the frames very easily. When the board is set up, with the dice on, it does look fairly snazzy, though. Maybe its just all that dice on one table.
2.) Rules: The rules are printed in five languages in a thin, full-color booklet. There are seven pages of rules, which is frankly too much, and they arent very clear, with some translation errors. One was extremely important the rules stated that when attacking with two dice, you had to choose the highest value. Rather, you can choose the best value. This is rather important to the game. The game is easy to teach, and the advanced rules are fairly simple, so they can really be taught in the first game.
3.) Website: Before I deride the game, let me again say that they should get major kudos for their website with downloadable hexes, rules, etc. Nice site!
4.) Luck: Im sorry, but the game is just too based on luck. I dislike Risk, because the soundest strategy in Risk doesnt work much of the time, because of dice rolls. The same holds true here. If your initial dice rolls are bad, you are frankly out of luck. And, throughout the game, it seems that luck is just a massive part. Does it matter if you attack with a six or a one? They both can lose, almost as easily. The advanced rules add a little to the strategy, but not much. The author spends almost a page in the rules trying to convince the reader that strategy plays an important part in the game, but I just dont see it. We played the game and just were frustrated that ones options were so obvious, there really werent many choices to be made.
5.) Theme and Fun Factor: A better theme might have helped. Im a big fan of using dice as pieces in a game (Im designing one myself), but I just cant get into the theme of this game. And the game wasnt really that fun. I tried to hype myself up as I rolled each attack die, but it just didnt do it. Maybe as a multi-player game, but as a two-player game, I want something light and fun (that my wife would like), or something a bit heavier (for my gamer friends). The kids that saw the game pretty much just said bleah, and asked for Dice Run again (just as lucky, but a lot more fun.)
Well, I didnt like this game, and neither did the folks with whom I played it with. No one said that it was a bad game, the word used was boring. And games should NEVER be boring, but should be fun! Im not even sure what demographic this game is trying to appeal to. Is it war gamers? Casual gamers? It doesnt seem to fit or satisfy any niche, but not for lack of trying. I applaud the designer for some original concepts and ideas, but gently chide him for forgetting to put fun in the box. If you want to get a good two-player game, Im not sure this one should be on your list.