Roll-and-write games have been incredibly popular for several years. There are several I’ve played, and many more that I haven’t. So, on this edition of Games I Haven’t Played, here are the top 11 roll-and-writes I haven’t played. For purposes of this list, roll-and-writes will be defined as games where you roll dice and write something, as opposed to using cards or blocks or anything like that.
That’s Pretty Clever (Wolfgang Warsch, 2018, #133) was nominated for the Kennerpiel des Jahres in 2018, where it lost to The Quacks of Quedlinburg (also designed by Warsch). In That’s Pretty Clever, you’re rolling dice, then taking one to fill in a spot on your sheet. Each color die corresponds to a different scoring opportunity, and dice not used will be available to your opponents to use. It looks like a good game, I’ve just never gotten to play it. I also have not played its sequels, Twice As Clever! (2019, #369) and Clever Cubed (2020, #1820).
Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition (Hjalmar Hach/Lorenzo Silva, 2018, #478) is a route building game where you’re putting out track on a grid, trying to connect as many exits as you can. This is done by rolling custom dice that show the types of track you can draw. Each edition of this game is a different color because each contains two special expansions you can play with (the next one in the rankings is the Blazing Red Edition, #728). It looks like a very good game that I’d definitely like to try out sometime.
Fleet: The Dice Game (Ben PInchback/Matt Riddle, 2018, #765) is the roll-and-write version of the card game Fleet (2012). You’re rolling dice to send your boats out and hopefully catch a lot of fish, as well as rolling dice to upgrade your stuff. I’ve never been THAT interested in Fleet simply because it’s an auction game, but this one seems more like something I’d enjoy.
Encore! (Inka Brand/Markus Brand, 2016, #999) was originally called Noch Mal, is a fill-in-the-grid type game. On your turn, you roll six dice – three are standard, and the others have colored Xs. You pick a number and a color, then fill in that number of squares of that color in a single area. Then other players can choose from what’s left. All checked boxes must connect orthogonally. Despite being pretty abstract, the game looks pretty fun to me, and of course the Brands usually have some really good designs.
On Tour (Chad DeShon, 2019, #1073) is a game about traveling around the US with your band. Basically, you’re rolling two ten-sided dice, and using the two digit number they make to fill into one of the spaces on the board. At the end of the game, you’ll draw a route connecting spaces in ascending order, with the hope of connecting as many spaces as possible. I like the theme, even though the game itself ends up being pretty abstract. I would like to try this sometime.
Qwinto (Bernhard Lach/Uwe Rapp, 2015, #1119) is a game where you’re trying to fill in rows. On your turn, you roll 1-3 dice. Players can enter the total sum in a row that matches the color of one of the dice. Numbers in rows must increase right to left, and you can’t repeat a number in a vertical column. It’s entirely numbers based with no attempt at a theme. It’s considered to be in the same series as Qwixx, which I have played and didn’t particularly like – it was fine, it just wasn’t something I want to play more. So I’m not too eager to try this one.
The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game (Stefan Feld/Christoph Toussaint, 2017, #1166) is the roll-and-write version of the very popular The Castles of Burgundy (2011). One player rolls the dice, then everyone choose one color and one number, using those to fill in spaces on their board. As in the original, you’re trying to score the most points, and different spaces give you different scoring opportunities. I don’t know, it seems cool, and much more portable than the original. I’d give it a try.
La Granja: No Siesta (Andreas Odendahl, 2016, #1526) is the roll-and-write version of La Granja (2014). You need to collect resources and cross them off your scoring sheet to get the most VPs, hiring helpers and building barns to help you accomplish this. I have not payed the original, but apparently this one isolates the dice mechanism from the original and makes it into a lighter game. At least, that’s what the BGG description says. I haven’t at all been interested in the original, so I don’t know that this one would appeal either. But, who knows – I might love it.
Corinth (Sébastien Pauchon, 2019, #1654) is the roll-and-write version of Yspahan (2006). The theme has changed from the Middle East to Ancient Greece, but it seems like the mechanisms are very similar. You roll dice, organize them by value, then draft the row that you want in order to take actions for the round. Yspahan is a great and highly influential game that was instrumental in proving that dice could be acceptable in a Eurogame. I still have a copy in my collection, and I’m interested in seeing how this version works.
Rajas of the Ganges: The Dice Charmers (Inka Brand/Markus Brand, 2020, #1794) is the roll-and-write version of Rajas of the Ganges (2017), and are you picking up on a theme yet? In this one, you’re rolling dice and using them to fill in paths, sail your ships, and gain influence. What’s really cool here is that there are two score tracks (influence and money) moving in opposite directions, and you have to get them to meet in order to win. Confession time – I have played this on Yucata.de, but I haven’t played it in physical form, so that’s why I’m including it on this list. I do look forward to playing this one in person someday.
Troyes Dice (Sébastien Dujardin/Xavier Georges/Alain Orbain, 2020, #1907) is the roll-and-write version of Troyes (2010). You’re selecting dice, paying for them, then using those dice to gain resources or construct building. A black die destroys opportunities for the rest of the game, so be careful with that. I’ve played Troyes, and it wasn’t a super hit for me. This one, however, looks like it has a really interesting die selection mechanism, and I’m interested to try it out.
From this range, I’ve only played Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age (#733), Qwixx (#778) and Super-Skill Pinball 4-Cade (#1756, though only the PNP version). Actually, most of the roll-and-writes I’ve played over the years have been print-and-plays, which is a format that lends itself well to this type of game. But, I’ve got some good suggestions for the future now, and I’m looking forward to trying these out.
That’s it for today. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!