Harvest Dice is a fun and fast playing roll and write game for 2-4 players published by Grey Fox Games and designed by Danny Devine (Circle the Wagons, Sprawlopolis, Topiary). Players are taking turns to draft dice and planting lettuce, carrots and tomatoes in to their garden. Any vegetables that they can't plant must feed to their pig. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Today's article will explain how to play Harvest Dice. To read our thoughts on the game overall, please read our review.
Harvest Dice Gameplay
Set-up for Harvest Dice is very easy; give each player a score sheet and a pencil. The start player takes the starter player token and all the dice (three orange, three red and three green). In a two-player game, only two dice of each colour are used.
Playing the Game
The starting player rolls all the dice from the dice pool and takes one. Each die can either be planted as a vegetable or feed to the pig.
Planting a Vegetable
Depending on the colour of the dice (Orange = carrots, Green = lettuce and red = tomatoes) and the pip value, the player draws the relevant vegetable in the column related to the die value. For example, a red die with a pip value of four means that a player must draw a tomato in the four column on one of the empty rows.
The first time a player takes a vegetable it can be placed in any space on the relevant column. However, if a vegetable already exists in a player's garden, the next vegetable drafted must be placed adjacent to the existing vegetable. If a player cannot plant a vegetable because of these restrictions they must feed it to their pig.
Feeding your Pig
A player may only feed a vegetable to a pig if they cannot plant it due to the planting restrictions mentioned above. When feeding a vegetable to a pig the player crosses off the number of circles on the pig row detailed on the die drafted.
When a row is completed a Pig Power is unlocked. This allows the player to increase or decrease the pip value of a die by one. Any number of Pig Powers can be used in a turn, giving the player a fair amount of control over the pip values in future turns.
Play continues this way until there is only one die left in the pool. Each player crosses off one circle on the coloured market that corresponds to the vegetable of the remaining die. Every circle crossed off increases the market value of the vegetable and contributes to the end game scoring.
A new round now starts with the start player token passing to the next person who rolls all the die and play continues.
Play continues as above until one of the following end game conditions is met:
- All spaces in the garden are filled.
- Every circle on the pig is crossed off.
- All six circles are crossed off in a single market.
At this point play continues until the current round is complete where players tally up their scores.
End game scoring is based on:
- The number of each particular vegetable multiplied by the number of crosses on the market (For example, six carrots multiplied by the four crosses on the market will give a score of 24).
- Five points are awarded for each completed row on a player's garden.
- Points based on the most recently completed pig row.
The player with the most points is the winner Harvest Dice.
Harvest Dice comes with two different score sheets. The basic (described above) and the advanced. The advanced game plays identical to the basic edition described above, however the score sheet is different, meaning the choice of vegetables drafted could change. The differences in the advanced game are:
- The Pig Power lets players change the colour of the die as well as the pip value (only one of the two actions may be performed per power). Players may use multiple Pig Powers a turn to perform multiple actions. i.e. one Pig Power to convert a four lettuce to a four carrot and another Pig Power to convert the four carrot to a three carrot.
- The markets for each vegetable start with no crosses present, whereas in the basic game there is a single cross already pre-populated. Therefore. there is potential that a vegetable could score no points at the end of the game so this is something that must be taken in to account when drafting the die.
- There are also additional points for the players with the most of each vegetable at the end of the game.
Harvest Dice is a charming, easy going, dice rolling game. It plays in about 20-30 minutes and is perfect for a quick game, end of a game night or a filler between heavier games. Although being a lighter game there is still some choices to be made as to where to place vegetables to ensure that you can always plant something.
Of course, there is some randomness in the game, it is a dice game so that is expected. However, this luck can be mitigated (even more so in the advance game) to some extent with the Pig Powers. These Pig Powers can get a play out of bind if they have not planted their vegetables efficiently or the rolls are just not going your way and a great addition. Players must pay attention to market value when drafting the die to effectively maximise points. Given a choice, it is always better to go for a vegetable that has a higher market value as this will ultimately give you more points at the end of the game. But you must watch other players to see if they are concentrating on a particular vegetable. If they are you want to make sure that the die left at the end of the round is not of that particular vegetable as this will increases the market value and ultimately final scoring.
In the advanced version there are also points awarded for the player who has the majority in each vegetable, which can make for some interesting drafting choices. Players might want to take a die of a particular vegetable just to stop another player gaining the majority.
There is not a massive amount of strategy in Harvest Dice but there are some interesting tactical choices to be made based on the dice rolled. Harvest Dice is about efficient planting, using the Pig Powers effectively and maximising the points as best as you can based on the available dice.