Nations: The Dice Game

Personal Ranking: #34 (2016 Ranking)

Time to Play (in my experience): 20-30 minutes

Age Level: Probably 8 or 9 could handle this just fine.

Difficulty Level: 2 (5-10 minutes to teach, 90 minutes or less to play)

Type of Game: Dice rolling. This means you roll dice. Different dice rolls give you different resources/abilities.

Game Setting: From ancient civilization to modern times. It’s a “civ-building” game.

Brief overview of how to play: All players roll their starting 6 white dice. Then, one at a time, each player takes an action. This could be purchasing a tile with gold (gold showing on the face(s) of dice), conquering land with swords (sword(s) showing on the dice), building a monument, or using a re-roll token to re-roll all or some of your dice. Eventually each player will pass. After all have passed you move into the end of the age phase where points are awarded for your academic strength, your military might, and your ability to feed your people through famine. After the 4th age, the game ends, and the person with the most points is the winner.

Here's a look at the board. The tiles are set out randomly each age. The bottom row is the cheapest, top is the most expensive.

 

How many players does it play?: 2-4

Ideal number?: 4

Why do I love/recommend this game?:

Really quick, but satisfying “civilization” game. The idea of building up my own civilization is something that I find really fun. There is a computer game called “Sid Meier’s Civilization” that I have spent far too many hours of my life on. This, however, only takes 30 minutes. Granted, it does not have the epic feel of that computer game, and it’s only a “civ-building” game in the lightest sense of the word, but it is still very satisfying to play.

Upgrading your dice is really cool. Each player starts off with 6 basic white dice, but you can tailor your civilization a bit by getting economic dice (gold), military dice (red), or infrastructure dice (blue). Each of these dice have different faces which can give some great benefits if you roll well.

Taking a re-roll is your whole turn. Each player starts off with one re-roll token, which you can spend once each age. You can also get more re-roll tokens by acquiring what are called advisors. But what I find really interesting is that if you re-roll your dice, that’s it for your turn. Most games when you get a re-roll, you also then get to do something immediately with the dice you just rolled. In this game, you have to wait until your next turn. This means that the tile you want might be taken by someone else. Choose wisely when to re-roll!

Really good quality components. Most of the games I play come with quality components, but those dice are really nice to roll (nice and heavy) and those tiles are really nice and thick. It makes a difference!

Oh those beautiful dice!

Good mix of strategy and tactics. I usually don’t like games where you can fully plan your strategy before beginning the game ("I’m going to go for red dice this game"). I like games when you have to make the best of what is before you at the moment. You might have wanted to go for a red dice strategy, but no red dice were available to you this game, so you’ll have to re-evaluate. I really like when games do this.

Is there anything offensive in this game? Anything at all?: There is the aspect of conquering other lands, which in the real history of the world has caused all kinds of problems. But here it is very abstracted, so I really don’t think it is a problem.

Final word: Although Nations: The Dice Game isn’t the best “civ-building” game out there, it is one of the best, light dice games on the market. I find it to be extremely satisfying to play and I always feel that I have built up a tiny civilization in just 30 minutes. 

 

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