High Score, created by Kosmos games, describes itself as an ingenious dice game with unique challenges. It is played over seven rounds in which players take in turns to score the highest by rolling a set of dice. However, a vortex card, selected at the beginning of each round, will change the dice values. Players will have the chance to risk it all and win or come away empty-handed. Are you ready to gamble with the vortex?
This game is extremely easy to set up. First, you must punch out all the cardboard materials, always the best part of unboxing a new game. Next, randomly select seven vortex cards and place them face down next to the scoring board. Players then pick their markers and place these in the middle of the scoring board. Finally, the gold, silver and bronze chips are organised into stacks. Gold chips are worth 3 points, silver 2 points and bronze 1 point.
Before play, each player is also given a 30-point marker. If they score higher than 30, they will flip this marker over during the round.
This game does not come with a nice tray to roll your dice in. To limit noise, I opted to use the game’s lid to cushion the table from a beating. This was by no means a deal-breaker but a little disappointing. Especially, as my copy of Yahtzee is built into a lovely dice tray it would have been nice for High Score to follow suit and play with its packaging.
The game runs across seven rounds and players take it in turns to play and record their score on the board. At the end of each round, the players with the top 3 scores will be awarded a bronze, silver, or gold point chip. Every other player will receive zero points. After the seventh round, the player with the most chip points will win. When playing with the maximum number of players, it can be difficult to keep track of who is winning which makes the game competitive and exciting. Each round counts! Sadly, when playing with 3 or fewer people, the scoring loses impact, as every player receives points, so it’s easier to see who’s winning.
What makes High Score interesting is its use of vortex cards. Each round, players will turn over a new card. This card will determine the rules of that round. They detail how much the vortex die is worth; how many times you can reroll the dice. Also, which numbers count towards your high score. This addition to the game makes it replayable, and ups the challenge, as each round is different.
For example, when playing a round, I revealed a vortex card that stated dice were only counted if they went up in numerical order, starting with 1. Also, I could reroll the dice as many times as I wanted but I had to keep 1 die for each roll. Sadly, I gambled and by the end of the play, I had rolled a one, one, two, four, five and five. Because a three was never rolled I only came away with a score of four! It's fair to say, I was not the top scorer that round.
Remember To Keep Track
Players can keep track of their scores by placing their markers on the scoreboard. This of course means that the last player has an advantage as they know the score they need to beat. If players ever get the same high score, the player who scored it second is placed one behind the player who scored it first. This means that going first can have its uses.
Finally, this game does require some math skills. At the end of each round players will need to add and subtract in order to know their total. The maths isn’t difficult, but it may ward off players who would rather not do sums. On the flip side, High Score would be perfect if you wanted younger players to practice their math.
High Score is a great little dice game. It's easy to set up and portable. The dice are of great quality, and the other components are vibrantly decorated. It’s a lovely little addition to your gaming shelf.
It’s a great party game and one to rotate when you have friends and family over. However, despite its 2+ player rating, this game plays at its best when you have 4 or more. Otherwise, it is easy to count points and know who is winning.
The vortex cards mix gameplay up and add to its replayability but remembering all the symbols is difficult and you will find yourself consulting the rule book to figure out what each one means.
Overall, High Score is a fun little dice game. Its simplicity will appeal to the masses but those who want a more strategical and in-depth gaming experience will find this one lacking.