Dice Hospital is a 1-4 player worker placement game (by Alley Cat Games) where players are running their own hospital. Players use their hospital staff and rooms to treat patients (represented by dice) and call in specialists when needed. Dice Hospital looks like a fun, lightweight worker placement and dice manipulation game. The theme is appealing and inviting and the artwork looks bright and colourful.
Dice Hospital Gameplay
Each player has their own hosptial represented by a player board which can be upgrade with additional hex shaped rooms. Sick patients are delivered to each player's hospital where they need to be treated. The patients health is represented by its pip value, with one being very ill and six very healthy and ready for being discharged.
First phase of the round is patient intake. The dice are rolled to determine which patients will be available and are placed in ambulances. Players draft these patients in to their hospital by selecting an ambulance to deliver them. Players must take all of the patients from one ambulance. Players may then upgrade their hospital with an improvement tile or take a new specialist.
Next, players activate their hospital to treat a number patients with the ultimate aim to curing their sickness. Hospital activation is done through the worker placement mechanic, by using a nurse or specialist in their respective hospital rooms. Each department in the hospital will treat and heal a specific condition, represented by a colour and pip value. For example, the Trauma unit can only treat and heal red patients one pip value.
The patients can be discharged from the hospital and score the player victory points. Once all hospital workers have been used the hospital activation step ends and any patients that have been neglected deteriorate and their pip value is decreased. A fatality can occur if any patients go from one to zero. Each fatality loses the player points at the end of the game. The last part of the round is to discharge patients that have had their pip value increase above six and score victory points.
There is also a mini-expansion called "Experimental Chemistry" that comes with eight new improvement tiles, 12 new specialists, some new wooden tokens and a hospital dice tower.
I actually missed out out on the Kickstarter campaign but managed to get on to the pre-orders and I am so glad I did. The game appeals to me on so many levels. It looks lovely, especially the deluxe version which comes with 3D ambulances to deliver your patients.
Upgrading your hospital or hiring specialists is nice feature in the game as it makes for more varied play-throughs. The upgrades are interesting and add some cool healing effects over and above a players basic hospital. It is a dice game so there is some luck involved in terms of what is rolled and what patients need treating, but I don't mind that and it kind of feels thematic. A hospital never knows what patients are going to come through their door and what they have to deal with. The same will be true for Dice Hospital.
The base game comes with 24 specialist cards, 24 upgrade room tiles, doctor meeples and event cards. The event cards add another twist in to the gameplay and it will be interesting to see how these effect the game.
The artwork looks great, the dice look colourful and vibrant, and the worker placement and dice manipulation greatly appeals. The theme of running a hospital, treating patients and discharging them is something that I think a lot of people can get on board with. It is a theme that many people are familiar with and mostly likely experienced either directly or indirectly. The gameplay seems smooth and easy to follow and understand and the play time is stated as 45-60 minutes, so a fairly quick playing game.
Dice Hospital has been successfully funded on Kickstarter and is due to be delivered to backers in Sept 2018 and I am excited to get this one to table.