At PAX South 2017, we were able to visit with many established companies and some up-and-coming design studios, too.
Unfortunately, we were not able to see everything! One of the games that we were eager to check out before the convention, but were unable to do so because of the busy schedule, is the subject of today’s snack time look see.
Dice of Crowns, a 2016 release by Thing 12 Games, is a little push your luck filler that is easy to teach and has lots of modular rules to fit any type of game stop. The game was designed by Sean Epperson and Brander “Badger” Roullett, and plays from two to six players in about fifteen minutes.
Dice of Crowns comes in a well-made Altoids sized tin, stuffed to the brim with bits and pieces. First, players get a total of seven nicely made plastic dice with four different faces on them. Next, players receive sets of two different styles of tokens, green scoring tokens for the base game, and blue tokens for one of the modular rules. Finally, players get a compact rule set and a cute little plastic Crown.
Clearly, this game was made for the start or end of your regular game night. The rules are easy to teach — players try to score green tokens by collecting favorable sets of dice before any other player can do so. Collect a certain number of tokens (five seems just right) and you are declared the crown winner. But the game comes with numerous “extra” rules to amp up the strategy and fun.
As suggested by the designer, we mixed and matched some of the modular rules that add a little bit more depth to the gameplay. One of my favorite additional rules involved the win condition. Instead of an automatic win for collecting five tokens, the player who is in line for the fifth token gets the crown instead and has to hold onto it for the entire around, giving the other players a chance to steal.
Stealing is not easy, as it takes seven out of seven on the rolls to make it happen. However, to make it a little easier, the designers added a rule where a certain number of dice faces will give you a chance at blue tokens. Why are the blue tokens important? Because they allow you to reroll your dice, or even force another player to reroll, which helps players with the steal mechanic and with collecting enough matching faces to win. Just watch out for those pesky knives and scrolls!
There are a ton of additional rules, and players are encouraged to add whatever rules they need to up the complexity or lower the barrier to entry to fit their particular game group.
There is one thing that is innovative about this game that I really liked. One of the cool mechanics is that if you roll a scroll, you are forced to hand that die (or dice as the case may be) to another player or players. This is an immediate action and must be resolved before moving forward.
That player or players (depending upon the number of scrolls rolled) then rolls the dice and can keep a good roll or force another player to take a bad roll. If a player gets three knives it can automatically end their turn, meaning that the scroll rolls can actually stack up good and bad dice on players before it is even their turn. (This also has the effect of reducing the amount of Dice that players can use on their turn because the dice might be locked during other player’s turns.) A very cool innovation and one that leads to a lot of strategy as players get closer to five markers.
Dice of Crowns is probably not deep enough to really need an in-depth study of the game. This game is all about chucking dice, setting up big combos with the blue tokens, and trying to steal the crown.
The addition by the designers of the scroll rolls can really amp up the laughter in the game as players try to guess who has the hot hand. Or maybe, players will look for the person whose dice just hate them, to get some dice back quickly!
If you’re looking for a fun little filler to start the night or end your game night, and you like push your luck dice chucking, you might want to give Dice of Crowns a try.