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Rolling America

November 8th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Gamewright has been releasing a lot of dice games as of late, but I’m not going to complain. After all, “Dragonwood” and “Qwixx” turned out to be a lot of fun (just to name a few). “Rolling America” tasks players with filling in their individual map of the USA with numbers rolled on the dice.  How well they group and position these numbers will ultimately determine who wins the game.  Before we stand to respect our great country’s National Anthem (and shame on you if you don’t know it), I’d like to thank Marketing Coordinator Nora Meiners from Gamewright for providing me with a press copy for review purposes.

 

Rolling America

Rolling America: 1+ Players, Ages 8+, Average Play Time = 15 Minutes

 

Components

The game includes 100 map sheets of the USA, 7 dice of different colors (1 is wild), 1 dice bag, and a rules sheet.

Setup & Gameplay

Each player gets a map and all of the dice are placed in the bag.  Whoever last visited another state starts the game, with play proceeding clockwise.

On a player’s turn, they’ll randomly draw two dice from the bag and roll them, announcing their colors and numbers.  All players then resolve both dice, in any order.  To resolve a die, choose one empty state in the region of the map that matches the die color and write down the die number in that state.  If the die is wild, then choose one empty state in any region and do the same thing.

There are, of course, some rules to follow.  All states that border the state (regardless of color) that they are currently filling must either be blank, have an X, be guarded, or have a number difference of no greater than one from the die result (Alaska and Hawaii are the exception).  If a player can’t follow this rule, then they’ll choose an empty state of that color and mark an “X”.  If that region (a group of colored states) is full, then the player simply does nothing.

Players can perform special actions during the game to give themselves an advantage.  Those include:

1. Color Change: Three times during the game you may treat the die you are resolving as a wild. For example, an orange 6 could be a purple 6. When you do a color change, you must cross off one of the Color Change boxes on your map.

2. Guard: Three times during the game you may guard a number that you write in a space. This means that you can ignore the “Neighboring State” rule for that number. Circle the number to indicate that it’s guarded, and then cross off one of the Guard boxes on your map.

3. Dupe: Three times during the game you may write down an active die number twice in the
matching color region. (A wild can be marked in two different regions.) For example, if you roll a blue 3, you can mark a 3 in two states in the blue region. (Note that the neighboring State rules still applies.) When you do this, you must cross off one of the Dupe boxes on your map.

When all players have resolved the dice, they’ll count the number of dice out of the bag.  If fewer then six, then the next player takes their turn.  When six dice ARE out of the bag, then the round ends and players mark off the next round box on their sheet.  All dice are then put back into the bag and play continues.

At the end of eight rounds, players mark an X on any state not filled in and pass their sheet to the left so that their opponent can check their plays to make sure the rules were followed. Mistakes are marked with an X.  Players then count the number of X’s they have and write it in the appropriate box…the player with the fewest, wins the game!

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

The Review

Firstly, I’m rather thankful that I don’t have to know my US geography in order to play this game.  I’m sorry New Hampshire, but I couldn’t find you on the map if my life depended on it. Rather, the only real skill that’s being tested here is your ability to organize random numbers on a map as best you can given certain parameters. Sure, it looks easy at first…put a number here, a number there, and everything’s peachy.  That is, until you realize that you set yourself up for some impossible plays in the future by surrounding blank spaces with numbers on each extreme end of the range.  The stipulation that bordering states must be within “1” of each other will really make you think about where you’re assigning your numbers.

Of course, the game does help you out in a number of ways.  I am not sure how well I’d do without the ability to color change, guard, or dupe…each of which you can do three times per game.  Guarding, or the ability to circle a number so that it ignores the main bordering rule, is probably my favorite.  It got me out of some pretty nasty situations.  Despite your best efforts though, luck will play a significant role as you’re limited by the colors picked and the values rolled.  After all, you can activate those abilities only so many times before you’re forced to accept that dreaded “X”…they add up before you know it.

My only concern with “Rolling America” is that the game only comes with 100 sheets. If you’re only playing solo or with another player, then you’ll get a lot of play time out of the game before you’re forced to restock.  It’s great that the game has no maximum player limit, but in groups of five to ten, you’ll be through those pads before you know it.  Luckily, scanning/copying technology does indeed exist, so be sure to save a few sheets.  At $10.99 (the price on the official website as of 11/7/15), this game is well worth picking up if you enjoy casual dice games with a light strategic spin to them.

Final Verdict: 9/10

Buy “Rolling America” on the official website:

http://gamewright.shptron.com/p/rolling-america

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