Dice Forge Review

This article was originally published in our February 2018 Newsletter. If this review piques your interest, you can check out Dice Forge in-store or online here.

I finally had some time after the Chaos of Christmas had passed and some semblance of routine returned to the castle. The Edmonton Board Game league let me in with my senior's pass for the Dice Forge learn to play night a few weeks ago.  I loved the game so much I went on to play in both tournament sessions over the next four weeks.  I now have 6 sessions of Dice Forge under my belt which warrants a review. Something seldom seen in our newsletters. 
Dice Forge introduces a new type of game dubbed “Dice Crafter”. It may not be the very first, as my fellow gamers tell me a couple of other very unsuccessful attempts were made. Dice Forge is clearly a success ranking 351 in the top 1000 on BGG and rated at 7.4. The special dice are modified over the course of the game based on your strategy and of course some luck. 
Love it. The rules are very well written and laid out with excellent examples as well as illustrations.  Oddly a number of players including myself were playing a couple of the rules incorrectly even into the third session although those rules were clearly laid out in the rule book. 


This new concept of dice building works amazingly well. I found myself studying the relationships between the costs to purchase the various die facings versus the results they give you when rolled. Is it better to buy thhree new upgrades to the four gold facing at a cost of twelve or buy four new upgrades of the three facings at a cost of eight? Which dice facings you choose to purchase are very important through the whole course of the game and especially the early to mid-game. The optional Hero cards offer a tremendous amount of additional game play choices, scoring and play modification. These cards have various resource costs. The resources are acquired via the die faces you modified on your turn. The hero cards are available for the whole game and become more important mid game to end game. 
It takes a while to get to know the Hero cards well enough to speed up the game as well as to allow you to be more aware of what plans the opponent(s) are working on. One can interfere with an opponent with a suspected lead on a turn when your own best opportunity is not available. 
On every turn ALL players roll their dice and collect the resources. Only the active player uses the resources and takes the one action. This means little downtime between other player turns since you are constantly examining your options as your resources grow in one of 5 different categories. 
While most turns go quickly there were a (only) a few turns in which I suddenly had a lot of options and some analysis paralysis set in. 
The game seems to be over too quick once you have your head wrapped around the rules which is usually a sign of a good game and it leaves you wanting to play again. And again. 
All my games were 3 and 4 player sessions. There is a one round difference (of ten) between a 3 and 4 player game and this makes a pretty big difference in game play.  All 3 and 4 player sessions were equally good though the strategy one uses between them can indeed change. I have yet to try it two players. 

The Hero cards come in two groups. One group is for the basic game while the other group has the slightly more advanced set. You can mix and match them for even more variety. The cards are well designed for both set up as well as storage in a tray that neatly holds the sleeved cards and all components. 
Player interaction was good in all the games I played though it is by no means on the excessive side.    
The feel, quality, look and design of the game is excellent throughout with the only minor exception being the scorekeepers which were slightly warped in a few sets but with some weights sandwiching them down overnight they returned to the norm. 
I think the very experienced player would always have the advantage in a session with other new players. The game might be slightly more suited to a gaming group of mostly regular players. 
The suggested retail price is $55 CDN for Dice Forge. The rating of ages 10 and up is accurate.  The rated playing time of 45 minutes is fair once you have learned the rules. 
I tend to rate games on a scale of ten. I would put dice forge a little above the 7.5 and round it up to an 8. A demo copy is available in our games library.

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