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How To Play Dice Theme Park

Dice Theme Park Review

Dice Theme Park is a dice manipulation board game designed and published by Alley Cat Games. The game is often seen as the “sequel” of Dice Hospital with slightly more complex mechanics and a different theme.

In fact, in Dice Theme Park, you are tasked to run a theme park. The aim of the game is to see who could build the most famous park in your gaming room.

Let’s have a look at what you could do to achieve this goal.

Unbox The Game

Dice theme park comes with lots of tokens, tiles, cards, and boards. It obviously also has a lot of dice. The game does not come with any tray to help store the game away but some plastic bags could definitely fill the gap.

My recommendation is to have all starting components for each player stored together in one bag.

Get The Game To The Table

The first thing to decide before playing is if you will go for a simplified introductory game or a full game. The full game will last one turn longer and you will use the administrator cards and the mascot skills cards. In addition, you can add some small expansions to add variability to the game.

The game learning curve is very reasonable and if you have played Dice Hospital before you can probably start with the full game. The simplified gameplay is highly recommended if you have never played dice manipulation games before,

I will assume you are going for the full game without any expansions for now.

Preparing The Mainboard Area

To set up a new game, you need to place the main board between the players first. This board will be used to both score the victory points (stars), track the rounds, the turn order, and some player goals.

The next step is to place a marker per player on the score track (position zero) and another one close to the turn order on the top of the board. The round marker needs to be placed on the first slot at the bottom of the board.

To complete the setup of the board area, you need to shuffle the goals and place one below spaces 3, 4, and 5 on the round track.

Dice, Monorails And Attractions

As said, the game is based on dice. You will find 3 sets of 21 dice in the box and you will need to have a number of them added to the bag depending on player count. The dice will represent the customers coming to your park.

How do the customers arrive at the park? Obviously, using monorails. There are 3 sets of cards that represent the monorails in the base game and some very nice plastic models are available as upgrades.

Each set of cards has dice values printed on them but you will need to add a cardboard insert if you are using the plastic model. The inserts to be used in this case could be identified using the card sets corresponding to the player counts.

Before the game starts, one of the players draws one dice at a time and fills the monorails. The dice had to be changed to match the value in the position it is placed. This is key: the combination of dice in each monorail stays the same during the game although their colour will be randomized as all dice are pulled.

The last step of this phase is to prepare the attraction pile. First, split the attraction hexagonal tiles into two piles (A and B). Then, place a number of A attraction tiles equal to the number of players plus one close to the main board. Finally, distribute two A tiles to each player that chose one and discards the other.

Players Setup

Each player takes a player board, all the operating cubes, and a set of staff cards in their colour. In addition, each player receives $6, a player aid, 2 skills cards, 2 administrator cards, and 9 upgrades, 3 of each type.

As per the attraction tiles, one skill and one administrator card will need to be discarded. If you bagged all player components together this phase is very fast.

Finally, a number of skill cards equal to the number of players plus one are set close to the main board as a display.

Let's Begin The Fun!

To make sure your park is the best park ever, you will need to score more victory points than the other players in a fixed amount of time. In the full version, the game lasts for only 5 turns, each composed of 6 phases.

At turns 3, 4 and 5 players could gain additional star points by scoring specific goals. Moreover, at turns 4 and 5 all new attraction tiles are drawn from the B tile pile instead of the A pile. It goes without saying, tiles from the B pile are more difficult to use but the rewards are much better than those from the A pile.

During each turn all players go through the 6 Phases in player order:

Player turn - Phase 1, Plan

In the Plan Phase, each player selects 2 staff cards. Each card shows a dice value, an income value, and a special action and they are all relevant during each player's turn.

All players then reveal their selection at the same time:

The sum of the dice on the card determines the turn order. The player order on the main board is rearranged from the lowest to the highest score and the order stays the same for the whole duration of the turn.

Each player receives an amount of money equal to the income value shown on the cards chosen.

The special ability of each staff member could be used one time during the turn by a player in the phase listed on the card. I suggest you flip the card to remember you used the ability just in case.

It is very important to select the cards carefully to match your needs and your strategy.

Player turn - Phase 2, Welcome

In this phase, each player picks a monorail and moves its dice to the entrance tile on their player board. This is the moment your customers arrive at the park to have fun.

Player turn - Phase 3, Expand

n player order, each player may buy a new attraction tile and/or recruit one mascot (and a new skill from the display). As the game only lasted for 5 turns, you could only expand the park 5 times.

The new tile could be placed anywhere as far as it follows the park shape depicted on the player aid.

Player turn - Phase 4, Improve

The Improve phase is quite important. First, because you could build any of your upgrades into any of your attractions. Second, because you could buy a map token and I strongly recommend doing that as frequently as possible.

Each improvement gives you one of three effects: more victory points, more income, or the option to use an attraction twice. Operating an attraction twice is good for income/victory points but, most important, allows you to move your guests around the park.

One key aspect to notice: All your attractions could only be operated twice including your entrance. This means that you need at least one map token every turn to move your guests into any attraction. More tokens are needed if you want to operate more attractions in a chain.

Player turn - Phase 5, Operate

Operate is a great phase as you could finally allow your guests to have fun. To trace which attractions have been operated, you need to cover any generator icon with a cube. This could only be done if you meet the attraction condition listed at the bottom of the tile.

Each time an attraction has been successfully operated, each of the dice used to fulfill the requirement is pip down by one. Also, one of your guests could move to an adjacent location.

When the value of a dice is reduced to zero, the guest is removed from the park. They had too much fun and they are going home.

Note that every value 1 dice will still move out from the park during the upkeep phase. If you plan carefully, you may be able to use value 1 dice one last time to operate an attraction instead of seeing them leaving anyway.

Players could activate their attractions in any order and chain the actions to maximise the outcome. Mascots could be played in this phase to use their skills and map tokens could help move a dice where it is needed.

Player turn - Phase 6, Upkeep

In the upkeep phase, you first score any income and victory points from your park. One by one, you could remove the cubes from the attraction and sum up any income and any star points they have provided. Any upgrade built-in the attraction scores too.

If you are in turns 3, 4, and 5, you also score the objectives you drew during the setup.

Once scoring is completed, each player passes the cards they selected in phase 1 to the player on their left. This is a nice mechanic as the cards available to each player will keep changing turn after turn.

In this phase, you also need to remove every value 1 dice from the park unless you could use a staff skill to keep them in the park one more round.

Finally, you discard all not used attraction tiles and skill cards and you prepare a new display of both. Once you have filled all the monorails again, you are ready to move the turn marker and let the fun continue.

Beat Your Competition

Once the last of the 5 rounds have been played, players could convert $3 into 1 victory point. Once this last scoring option is completed, the player with the most victory points wins.

And that is how you play Dice Theme Park!