Wednesday, August 16, 2017

PWNs: A Game of Strategic Mayhem - Giveaway and Coupon!


I am super excited to be able to share this INCREDIBLE opportunity with everyone!  Ryan Boyle, the designer of PWNS: A Game of Strategic Mayhem, has agreed to sponsor not only a giveaway of the game, but also provide readers of GJJ Games with a coupon for a free expansion pack if you purchase PWNs from the AWRY Corp website!

PWNs is a wonderfully chaotic game that is great for families or casual gamer fun.  I loved it in my review and was super happy to see that my very few concerns with the prototype were all addressed in the final copy visible in my unboxing.  PWNs is super, super fun, and definitely a worthwhile, whimsical addition to any game collection.  Now you can enter to win a copy, or get a coupon for the first expansion pack if you just can't wait!  

One person will win their very own copy of PWNs and everyone who enters will receive a coupon!  Enter below!


Winner(s) will be contacted via the email supplied through the contest widget.  Winner(s) will have 48 hours to respond before a replacement winner will be selected.  Winning entries will be checked for validity, so any shares must be publicly visible.  Winners will be selected from all eligible entries.  Winners will be limited to winning one prize.  AWRY Corp, LLC is responsible for prize fulfillment.  Contest is open to US residents age 18+ only.  Shipping is included to the United States only.  AWRY Corp, LLC, GJJ Games, and their immediate families are ineligible. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Twitter. We hereby release Facebook and Twitter of any liability. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited. Contestants release GJJ Games of any liability. By entering this contest you agree to being added to our mailing list which can be opted out of at any time. Winner(s) will be announced on this page and contacted by email within two weeks of contest end.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 81: Jeremiah Fred

Welcome to People Behind the Meeples, a series of interviews with indie game designers.  Here you'll find out more than you ever wanted to know about the people who make the best games that you may or may not have heard of before.  If you'd like to be featured, head over to http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html and fill out the questionnaire! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples.


Name:Jeremiah Fred
Email:jaytechserv@gmail.com
Location:Ohio, USA
Day Job:I work at a help desk for a small tech company. I do enjoy that world but I have found a real passion in game design.
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:Dulencard
Facebook:Savage Games LLC
Twitter:@jaytechserv_jay
YouTube:Savage Games
Instagram:@gamessavage/
Find my games at:Eventually you will see at least Dungeon Brew on The Game Crafter.
Today's Interview is with:

Jeremiah Fred
Interviewed on: 8/5/2017

Today's interview is with a newer designer on the scene. Jeremiah has been designing games for just a few years, but currently has a Kickstarter running for his first game design, Dungeon Brew. Be sure to read on to learn more about Jeremiah and if you see him at GenCon this week maybe you'll get a chance to play Dungeon Brew.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Two to five years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
I would guess like many others, because I love playing them. With that in mind I started making them because I had an idea I thought others would enjoy. From there it just kind of snowballed and the ideas started flowing.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Dungeon Brew is my first game. About 80% complete. It at its core is a resource management card game. I am also working on two others. Castle Erect, which is easy to compare to Lords of Waterdeep but building a castle, and Rocket Puppy Pack. Another card game where you try to get your puppy to the moon while fending off the cats.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet, Dungeon Brew should be published and on sale by next year.

What is your day job?
I work at a help desk for a small tech company. I do enjoy that world but I have found a real passion in game design.

Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.

Where do you prefer to play games?
There is a local hobby gaming store that really creates a great atmosphere called Fantastic Games. But truly, at a friends table with chips and soda.

Who do you normally game with?
My wife and roommate along with some of my closest friends.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
That is a really hard question. A solid go to for me is Legendary. Though I could always enjoy a game of Crossfire. Or heck even my own game, even if I have only won once.

And what snacks would you eat?
Chips, cannot go wrong with that. Plus pizza or sandwiches.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Only if it's a low volume. The genre really depends on the game being played. If it's something like DnD then epic orchestrated music. Boardgames, more some manner or rock or metal.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Fantastic Games in Columbiana Ohio. The owner is a great guy and there is a fantastic play space for any game you can imagine.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My favorite game would probably be Lords of Waterdeep. It's really never the same game twice. Cards Against Humanity is fun, but I can put it away in favor of another one pretty easily. Worst game, I can't really speak to this.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I love the idea of resources and building things. Power Grid for example. As far as least favorite. I am not a fan of games without turns.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Scythe I think. I have played a small amount. I loved what I got to try. Sadly just never seem to have the time.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG Games, Video Games

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, RPG Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
Yes

You as a Designer
OK, now the bit that sets you apart from the typical gamer. Let's find out about you as a game designer.

When you design games, do you come up with a theme first and build the mechanics around that? Or do you come up with mechanics and then add a theme? Or something else?
It has varied, for Dungeon Brew the base mechanic came first and got built on from there. For Castle Erect honestly the idea of building came first. Then the name came up. After that I made a basic idea and played with it.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No, but if I find one I will.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Andy Looney from Looney Labs. I got to go to a panel he had at Cleveland Concoction a couple of years ago. Really got to pick his brain on what he had done, what he was working on and just how he works. It was really inspiring.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Getting out of the shower seems to always be a moment of clarity and inspiration for some reason.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
The very first step is simply having a few key people play it. Once I feel I have is solid I take it to a local game shop or two and see if others can break it or if it's actually any fun.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I suppose I prefer to work alone for initial stages. I am not silly to think I can do it all of course. Having the ideas and opinions of others has helped greatly with Castle Erect.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting my game into the eyes of gamers really. Generating a following is hard to do.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I would love the Overwatch IP from Blizzard. Not sure what I would do with it right off. But the universe they have created is very vibrant.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It's hard to get people to notice you.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Have no shame in promoting yourself.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: I don't have any published yet.
Games that will soon be published are: Dungeon Brew is nearing its point of readiness.
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: I have Dungeon Brew up on Kickstarter right now.
Currently looking for a publisher I have: I am looking around online mostly for a publisher.
I'm planning to crowdfund: Eventually Castle Erect will probably hit Kickstarter. Along with another gaming accessory I am developing.
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: At the end of designing Dungeon Brew really it came down to a few small number changes.
Games that I'm playtesting are: This point I thought was the most fun for me. To see random people play and have a good time is really gratifying.
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: At first I thought this was going to be the hard part. I was really lucky to see Dungeon Brew work right out of the gate. Before I had done some research it said that game development could take years.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: This I thought has been the quickest point for me. Putting together the mechanics needed along with working them with the theme just seemed to mesh.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Board Game Revolution Group on Facebook.

And the oddly personal, but harmless stuff…
OK, enough of the game stuff, let's find out what really makes you tick! These are the questions that I’m sure are on everyone’s minds!

Star Trek or Star Wars? Coke or Pepsi? VHS or Betamax?
Star Trek, I love the focus on the science. Of course I’ll happily enjoy me some Wars. Pepsi, anyone who knows me knows it’s Pepsi. I never owned a Betamax, so really by default I would have to go VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I enjoy video games online and off. Then of course getting out, disk golf would be my sport of choice.

What is something you learned in the last week?
A big lesson has been what to do to get my name out there. Thus being here filling out this survey.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Metal probably, I love Octane on XM radio. My favorite book is Ender’s Game followed by Ready Player One. Movie wise, Tron:Legacy, I love the feel of the whole thing.

What was the last book you read?
iVillan, loved that book, I have the next two on order. It’s a great series.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I picked up the guitar back in high school. I saw a lot of my friends who could play and asked my dad to teach me.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I grew up in California, right on the coast. I don't like mexican food and cannot surf.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
The day before my wedding my best man’s mother sent both him and I skydiving.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I honestly don't know. It's hard to look at life and see accident. Master Oogay said it best. There are no accidents.

Who is your idol?
Patrick Stewart, good man good roles and a great outlook.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
A lot of cliche things. I would do the whole Back to the Future thing and give myself insider info on the stock market.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I am probably an extrovert. I have never had trouble being friendly.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Batman, I mean come on. But a VERY close second The Shadow. Not as skilled as Batman but he has the mental powers which are awesome.

Have any pets?
We have four cats and a dog. The dog is a tiny beagle. She was the runt of her litter which is funny because she is not the biggest animal we have.

When the next asteroid hits Earth, causing the Yellowstone caldera to explode, California to fall into the ocean, the sea levels to rise, and the next ice age to set in, what current games or other pastimes do you think (or hope) will survive into the next era of human civilization? What do you hope is underneath that asteroid to be wiped out of the human consciousness forever?
I would hate to see Role playing games disappear. Would be okay to see a lot of weapons of mass destruction go away.

If you’d like to send a shout out to anyone, anyone at all, here’s your chance (I can’t guarantee they’ll read this though):
Hey Dad! I know he will never see this. But I still wanted to say hey.

Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?

I will be at GenCon not as a presenter but next year I hope to be.

I hope your blog has continued success. [GJJ Games] Thanks!




Thank you for reading this People Behind the Meeples indie game designer interview! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples and if you'd like to be featured yourself, you can fill out the questionnaire here: http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html

Did you like this interview?  Show your support by clicking the heart at Board Game Links , liking GJJ Games on Facebook , or following on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

Friday, August 11, 2017

PWNs: A Game of Strategic Mayhem - Unboxing

PWNs: A Game of Strategic Mayhem
Designer: Ryan Boyle
Publisher: AWRY Corp, LLC
2-4p | 20-45m | 10+
PWNs: A Game of Strategic Mayhem - Unboxing
Support me on Patron!

Back in April of 2016 I reviewed PWNs: A Game of Strategic Mayhem and loved the game.  It took two Kickstarters before it was successfully funded, but I'm super happy the game finally got made since it made it into my Top 10 Kickstarter Previews list for last year.  Well, it took a while, but PWNs was finally delivered to backers this summer and I received my reviewer copy just yesterday.  The game has changed a bit since I reviewed it, but all changes for the better.  I can't wait to play it again with my family and friends, but in the meantime, here's a bunch of unboxing photos!

A few highlights (pros and cons):

  • The artwork is still the cartoony, whimsical characters.  Some people didn't care for it, but I loved it.  It's also worth noting that on cards that are duplicates, they have unique artwork.  Usually it's just the background terrain and PWN colors that change, but sometimes there are more subtle differences, too.  That's great attention to detail.
  • There are a ton of tokens that are used for tracking the various states of PWNs.  This was one of my criticisms of the prototype game, so I'm glad to see that they brought in the tokens.
  • As mentioned in the review, the tiles are now thicker and the game board is gone, replaced by a frame to hold everything in place.  All the tiles are a bit smaller, too.  This is fine, and won't take up as much table space.  However, the frame that holds the main tiles is very tight, almost too tight.  I was able to get the frame to snap together, but with a bit of pressure on the large tiles it's holding together.  I think it'll play fine though once assembled.
  • Although the tiles, tokens, and standees are thicker than the cardstock ones in the prototype, they're still on the thinner side.  It would have been nice to hit a few stretch goals to really up the component quality, but as it is, it's sufficient.  It's definitely not flimsy, and the cards are very nice quality (although no extras like linen finish).
  • The box is a lot smaller than the prototype box, but that's a good thing.  This will be a great size for bringing to game nights.
  • I also noticed in the rules that my idea of ending the game after the first team is eliminated (instead of going until only one team remains) has been incorporated into the official rules.  In the prototype rules a four player game would go until three players' teams were eliminated, meaning two players could be out for quite a while.  With the new rules no one is ever left unable to play and as soon as one player's team is eliminated everyone else scores points: 3pts for each surviving PWN and 1pt for each remaining HP.
  • Not critical to the game play, but something I personally like... The cards are shrink wrapped with an easy-pull tab.  This makes getting cards out of the packaging without nicking an edge so much easier! =) 
If you're interested in getting a copy of PWNs: A Game of Strategic Mayhem, stop by the AWRY Corp, LLC website at http://awrycorp.com/

Pictures:
Well, without further ado, here are pictures of the production copy of PWNs, but AWRY Corp, LLC!































Did you like this unboxing?  Show your support: Support me on Patron! Also, click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.


GJJG Game Reviews are independent, unpaid reviews of games I, George Jaros, have played with my family and friends. Some of these games I own, some are owned by friends, some are borrowed, and some are print and play versions of games. Where applicable I will indicate if games have been played with kids or adults or a mix (Family Play). I won't go into extensive detail about how to play the game (there are plenty of other sources for that information and I'll occasionally link to those other sources), but I will give my impressions of the game and how my friends and family reacted to the game. Quick Reviews will only get a single rating of 1-10 (low-high) based on my first impressions of the game during my first few times playing. Hopefully I'll get more chances to play the game and will be able to give it a full review soon.

Eye on Kickstarter #26

Welcome to my Eye on Kickstarter series!  This series will highlight Kickstarter campaigns I am following that have recently launched (or I've recently discovered) because they have caught my interest.  Usually they'll catch my interest because they look like great games that I have either backed or would like to back (unfortunately budget doesn't allow me to back everything I'd like to).  But occasionally the campaigns caught my attention for other reasons.  Twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th Fridays, I'll make a new post in this series, highlighting the campaigns that have caught my attention since the last post.  In each post I'll highlight one campaign that has really grabbed my attention, followed by other campaigns I've backed or am interested in.  I'll also include links to any reviews I've done.  Comments are welcome, as are suggestions for new campaigns to check out!

You can also see my full Kickstarter Profile to see what I've backed or my old Eye on Kickstarter page that was too unwieldy to maintain.  Also, check out the 2017 Kickstarter Boardgame Projects geeklist over on Board Game Geek for a list of all the tabletop games of the year.
So, without further ado, here are the projects I'm currently watching as of the second Friday of August, 2017:



HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
The Brigade
  • GJJ Games Review
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • I had quite a bit of fun playing The Brigade for my review. There's still some tweaks and balancing going on, but the game is solid, funded, and knocking out stretch goals. Be sure to check out this fun fire fighting game in a great fantasy setting!


Choose a Fire Warden and build your Brigade, then race to save Tinderbox from a magical Firestorm that has been unleashed on the town!

Welcome to Tinderbox... Where a magical fire storm has appeared above the Pyromancers University and fireballs are raining down on the city. Take control one of four rival fire wardens and build up your brigade to protect the citizens of Tinderbox. Putting out fires will earn the loyalty of the townsfolk and see you elected to the position of Fire Chief of Tinderbox, and win the game.





Bearded Meeple Reviews
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • Tyler Anderson, AKA The Bearded Meeple, does some of the best short video reviews out there. In about five minutes (sometimes even less) he'll give you an overview of a game, show you how to play, and tell you if he likes it. I swear, he must be a time lord, because after his quick little reviews you feel like you know as much about the games as other reviewers' 30 minute reviews! Be sure to check him out and show him some support, he's one of the best in the business!


Dawn of the Archmage
  • Back in May I reviewed a quick card game called Archmage: Origins by SolarFlare Games. This was the precursor to Dawn of the Archmage, a much larger miniatures game. The minis, artwork, and gameplay look really great in this second game set in the Archmage universe!


Off the Rails
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • If you're looking for a game with interesting mechanics and unique components, you'll definitely want to check out Off the Rails. This looks like a whole lot of fun and the mechanics with moving your mine carts around on the rails and controlling the speed with dice. It looks like so much fun!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

GJJG Game Reviews - Dice of Crowns- by Thing 12 Games

Dice of Crowns
Designer: Brander Roullett
Publisher: Thing 12 Games
2-6p | 10-20m | 8+
GJJG Game Reviews - Dice of Crowns- by Thing 12 Games
Disclaimer Support me on Patron!
Game Overview:
As a Cubmaster for my sons' Cub Scout Pack, I do a lot of outdoor activities.  We do monthly hikes, camping trips, picnics, and a ton of other stuff.  Sometimes things get too busy to play as many board games as I'd like, so I'm always on the lookout for games that I can bring with to these events.  On camping trips I'll sometimes bring some bigger games, but usually I'm looking for small, quick games that are easy to teach to both adults and kids.  If they have components that can stand up to the elements that's even better.  We're often playing at picnic tables where it's dirty, breezy, and sometimes even rainy.  I definitely don't want to carry around a big box with me on a hike, either, so the smaller the better.  When I found out about Dice of Crowns I thought I had hit the jackpot!  It's small enough to fit in a mint tin, only has dice and plastic tokens, can be taught in just a few minutes, and can be played in about 20 minutes.  So, does Dice of Crowns hold up to my expectations?  Read on to learn more!

Components & Packaging:
Dice of Crowns is a small game, almost a tiny game.  The entire game fits in a tin the size of an Altoids mint tin.  This is great for taking pretty much anywhere.  Slip it in a pocket (even a shirt pocket), backpack, purse, or anywhere you might carry mints.  It's smaller than most cell phones!  The tin is nice and sturdy and has nice artwork and an embossed cover.  This doesn't feel like a cheap gimmicky game that you'd find at a dollar store or thrift shop, this is a nice, solid tin with decent heft to it.
Great components, great tin, great game!
Inside the tin you'll find the components for Dice of Crowns.  This includes seven custom dice, 24 crown tokens, ten fate tokens, and one crown.  All of the components are molded plastic with printing on them.  The dice are white with four different symbols molded on the six sides, each a different color.  The crown tokens are gold with green printing on them, and the fate tokens are silver with black printing.
Super durable components will stand up to anything.
The rules are the only paper in the game*, so this is great to bring with anywhere!  Since it's small enough to fit in my pocket I bring it on campouts and hikes with Cub Scouts.  I brought it to our Cub-O-Ree this year, which was very, very rainy.  Some of the events were canceled, so I pulled out Dice of Crowns and taught it to nine Cub Scouts!  Even though the game is supposed to top out at 6 players, we played with 10 and had a blast!  I wasn't worried about any of the pieces getting damaged in the rain or mud, so that was great.  Dice of Crowns is one of only a very few games that I don't have to worry about ruining anything if it gets wet, and it's the only one I have that can support a whole group of kids.

* UPDATE: I got this message from the publisher after this review initially posted:
"Something you may not have realized, is that the rules are printed on Revlar. Revlar is non-tearable and non-water soluble. We even did a video, posted on our facebook page, of us trying to destroy the rules....to no avail. So the rules are just as tough and sturdy as the game components are."
That's awesome!!!
Even on a Cub Scout camping trip, the components hold up!
Score: 9/10 x1

Rules & Setup:
Setup for Dice of Crowns is a snap.  All you have to do is open the tin and pull out the dice.  The tokens and crown can even stay right in the tin!  Even if you do take them out, it's a matter of 30 seconds to sort them into their own piles.  Games don't get much easier to set up than this.

The rules are pretty simple as well, especially the basic rules.  There are a number of advanced rules that can be added to the game, mix-n-match, that add quite a bit to the complexity, and some of these are a little more convoluted and difficult to understand, but the basic game can be taught in about two minutes.

On your turn you roll all the dice that are passed to you.  This could be as many as all seven, but sometimes some dice will be locked in place by other players, so you won't get to roll them.  There are four possible symbols on the dice: Crowns, Skulls, Daggers, and Scrolls.  Crowns, Skulls, and Daggers are pretty standard for press-your-luck games.  Crowns and Daggers you keep, Skulls can be rerolled (or five can be turned in for a Claim Token).  If you get three Crowns you'll earn a Claim Token.  If you get three Daggers your turn is over.
Three daggers will end your turn.
Scrolls are the interesting symbol that makes Dice of Crowns so unique.  When you roll a Scroll you pass that to any other player (multiple Scrolls can go to different players or to the same player).  The other player(s) then roll the Scrolls you passed.  Any Skulls or Scrolls are passed back to you, but Crowns are kept by the other player, and the other player can give any Daggers to anyone else.  These Crowns and Daggers remain with the players receiving them until their turns. This is why on some turns you'll roll less than seven dice - some may be locked up as Crowns or Daggers for other players.  If you start your turn with three Crowns or three Daggers you still have to roll the dice passed to you since they can potentially change the outcome.
Pass those scrolls and hope your brother doesn't stab you in the back!
The first player to gain three Claim Tokens earns the Crown and is the winner.  A basic game takes about ten minutes, give or take a bit depending on the number of players.

After you've played with the basic rules you can throw in some of the advanced rules.  Or heck, start with some of the advanced rules right away.  Even with all of the advanced rules, games take about 30 minutes (although our ten player game took a bit over an hour with myself and nine kids aged six to eleven).  There are four main additions possible in the advanced rules, but you can play with some or all of them.  In an advanced game you play until someone has five Claim Tokens instead of three. Overkill rules allow you to pass any Daggers you roll beyond the initial three to other players.  This means it's risky to pass someone Daggers so that they start their turn with three.  Mistress of Fate rules bring the silver Fate Tokens into the game.  Three or more Skulls can earn you a Fate Token.  Fate Tokens can be spent later to reroll dice: 1 to reroll one of your dice, 2 to make an opponent reroll one of their dice.  This enhances the press-your-luck element of the game; do you stop with three Skulls and gain a Fate Token or do you push on and try for three Crowns before you get too many Daggers?  Last Stand requires that you hold on to the Crown for an entire round, so that you start your turn with the Crown.  Instead of taking a fifth Claim Token, instead you would take the Crown.  But if someone else would gain a fifth Claim Token they'll steal the Crown from you.  So you must hold on to it for a full round.  This is much harder in a game with more players, but it works well in 2-4 player games.  Finally there are Legendary Rolls.  This rule gives special bonuses if you roll all seven of the same symbol.  I usually don't play with this rule set because they're so difficult to accomplish.  Or maybe I always play with these rules.  It doesn't matter because I've never rolled seven of one symbol.  Even Skulls I haven't managed to roll all seven of since five will get you a Claim Token.  But Seven Skulls will let you steal a Claim Token from another player!

So, there you have it.  The entire game explained, including the advanced rules in just a few minutes.  The rule sheet included with the game is mostly pretty clear, but there are a few spots where things are confusing and require a reread.  There is a pretty good FAQ on Board Game Geek that covers pretty much all of the edge cases and potential rules confusion areas.

Score: 7/10 x2

Gameplay:
Dice of Crowns is a press-your-luck game, so it won't appeal to everyone.  But it's a press-your-luck game that really does a great job of keeping everyone engaged throughout the entire game, even in between turns.  There is a bit of strategy and social gameplay involved, too, which is unusual for a press-your-luck dice game.  The basic game is very simple, but the advanced rules really add a lot to think about.  Even the basic game is interesting with the Scrolls though.
Press-your-luck makes the game easy and fast.  The scrolls make the game exciting and engaging!
I really like how the game is simple enough to teach in just a couple of minutes, and casual enough that you can play without thinking too deeply, yet there are fun decisions and everyone remains engaged in the game the whole time.  This is a great conversation game that can be played at a restaurant while waiting for food, at the pool while the kids swim, at the beginning of game night while waiting for everyone to show up, or any other time that a quick, casual game is needed.  It's the kind of game that someone can jump into or out of in the middle of the game and it won't mess things up.  I wouldn't make an entire game night revolve around Dice of Crowns, but it's one that is a hit every time I pull it out.

As I mentioned above, I even played Dice of Crowns with a group of nine Cub Scouts (ten including me).  The mechanics held up well even at the higher player count.  I did tweak a few things, and we only played to the claim tokens, although we did use the fate tokens.  We didn't require a player to roll dice if they weren't passed at least three, which sped up the game a bit.  If I play with that many again, I think I'd say you can only pass scrolls to the next three players, and they can only pass daggers to any player between you and three players after them.  That should keep the dice grouped a little more, but regardless, the game held up and was fun even with a group of ten.
Eight of the nine Scouts that played.  Everyone had a blast, even at such a high player count!
The only area where Dice of Crowns falls a bit flat is with two players.  Mechanically it works fine, but some of the strategy and excitement is gone when you don't have a choice about who you pass scrolls and daggers to.  However, I really do enjoy the game and the fact that it can go anywhere with me.  So I came up with a solo variant that I can play any time!  In my solo variant you play against the evil Uncle Varrick, who will use the scrolls you roll to try and gain the crown before you.  So now Dice of Crowns can play from one to ten players!  It's best at four or five, but three or six is quite fun as well.  I'm quite enjoying my solo variant, and the game works well enough at two or seven and up.  Be sure to check out my solo variant on BGG for something to keep you busy on your own, and don't discount Dice of Crowns if you sometimes have larger groups.

Score: 8/10 x3

Replayability:
The element of luck in Dice of Crowns means that every game plays out differently.  It also means that you can't get too invested in the game.  The choices in the game are very mildly strategic, but everything does come down to the luck of the roll.  However, games are fast and fun, so while they won't form the core of your game nights, Dice of Crowns is a great filler.  It's a game you can pull out fairly often.
Three crown dice will earn you a claim token.  Get enough claim tokens and you'll win the crown!

Score: 7/10 x1

General Fun:
If you like casual, press-your-luck games, Dice of Crowns is a great option.  It has familiar mechanics (roll the dice to score before your turn ends) with a twist that keeps all players engaged the whole time (the scrolls).  The fast games have just the right blend of luck and perceived strategy with enough player interaction that you'll have a great time playing just about anywhere.

Score: 8/10 x2

Overall Value:
The MSRP of Dice of Crowns is $15, which is reasonable, but it's not readily available at that price.  You can find it on the Thing 12 Games website for $15, but Amazon has it for $16.50 and Miniature Market has one copy left for a whopping $32!  At $15 this is a pretty good value if this style of game is your cup of tea.  You can find used copies cheaper on the Geek Store, and I don't think you'll be disappointed if you pay a reasonable price.  Hopefully Dice of Crowns will see more print runs and you'll be able to more easily get your hands on a copy for $15.  Don't pass it up if you do see it anywhere though!
It's small, but packs a great game into a tiny package for $15.
Score: 6/10 x1

Final Thoughts:
Dice of Crowns definitely met, and even exceeded my expectations.  Press-your-luck games can really be hit or miss, but I'm thrilled with how well Dice of Crowns plays and keeps everyone engaged the whole time.  The game is super easy to teach, plays pretty quickly, has a bit of strategy (or at least gives the illusion of strategy), and has about as durable components as you could ask for.  It's the perfect take anywhere game.
Dice of Crowns holds up well, even with Cub Scouts on a rainy camping trip!
The only area where the gameplay falls a bit short is with just two players, but it's still fun, and the fact that it is so flexible at higher player counts totally makes up for that.  Dice of Crowns doesn't always make it to the table, but it's size and flexibility mean that it goes with me to every single game night.  And I take it with me to most events that I go to, like hikes, birthday parties, etc.  It's small enough to slip into any pocket, quick enough that you can teach and play it in just a few minutes with just about anyone, and durable enough that I don't have to worry about it getting ruined.  So where I go, Dice of Crowns goes with!  Very soon Thing 12 Games will be running a Kickstarter for their next game in the Dice of... series, Dice of Pirates, and I'm super excited to see how that continues this line of awesome, fun, durable games.  Definitely keep your eye on Thing 12 Games and what they're making!  Oh, and I did play with adults, too, who all really enjoyed the game - I just didn't grab any pictures of those games.  =(

Overall Score: 76/100



Want another opinion?  Dice of Crowns was also reviewed by Sarah on the Everything Board Games Network!  Check out her review here!



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GJJG Game Reviews are independent, unpaid reviews of games I, George Jaros, have played with my family and friends.  Some of these games I own, some are owned by friends, some are borrowed, and some are print and play versions of games.  Where applicable I will indicate if games have been played with kids or adults or a mix (Family Play).  I won't go into extensive detail about how to play the game (there are plenty of other sources for that information and I'll occasionally link to those other sources), but I will give my impressions of the game and how my friends and family reacted to the game.  A score of 1-10 (low-high) is given to each game in six categories: Components & Packaging, Rules & Setup, Gameplay, Replayability, Overall Value, and General Fun.  Rules & Setup and General Fun are weighted double and Gameplay is weighted triple.  Educational games have an extra category and Gameplay is only weighted double. Then the game is given a total score of x/100.