Whether you’re a Roll & Write veteran or have yet to discover this new genre of game, Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write will have you resource collecting, village constructing and working out the most profitable blueprint designs to bag yourself the most Victory Points before those 10 rounds are up.
Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write comes to you from Portal Games. Inside the colourful box you'll find:
- Four wooden costume dice.
- Five punch board favour tokens.
- 48 Village sheets for the Competition Mode.
- 48 Village sheets for the Adventure/Solo Mode.
- 96 Empire sheets.
- Four pencils.
- A rulebook, complete with a handy section to add house rules. Perfect for smuggly revealing said rules when someone questions if it’s in the rulebook or not!
You can see the components in all their glory by watching my unboxing video below.
Roll & Write is a game for 1-4 players. In the game you can choose to play as a solo adventurer, working your way through 48 different village sheets, or competitively against 2-4 other players. Having 48 different village sheets means that this is a solo game with plenty of replay-ability.
Before starting all players receive an Empire Sheet, a Village Sheet, a pencil and the Favour tokens are shuffled and drawn at random equal to the number of plays plus one. The randomly chosen active player draws the first Favour Token followed by the other players. These Favour Tokens give the players unique special abilities for that turn.
The game is played over 10 rounds, and each round has four phases. Each round has an active player that moves on clockwise after the phases have been played.
In the first phase the active player rolls the dice. There are three resource dice offering either wood, stone, fruit or coin (which is wild and can be used to “buy” any resource) and one worker die. This worker die indicates how many actions a player gets (basically how many boxes can be crossed off).
The second phase begins with the active player, with favour tokens being chosen. Phase three expands the empire in two different ways;
- Harvesting - A player uses one action to cross off one harvest space from a field and gains all the resources from that space. To access the field bridges will have needed to of first been built and this happens in the second option.
- Building - A player uses one action to cross off a single build space on either the empire or the village sheet. A build space can either be empty, needing just an action to cross it off, or contain a resource that is needed along with an action to cross off the space.
On the village sheet, when buildings have been constructed by crossing off all the spaces, special abilities are unlocked that can aid the expansion of your settlement. On the empire sheet, bridges can be built, or resources can be crossed off to score those much-needed victory points.
Within this third phase favour tokens can be used to help the player advance even more. It’s important to add that in this phase, all players work simultaneously.
Phase four ends the round, marking off the round number, returning the favour tokens to be reshuffled and placed once again. The active Player moves on clockwise.
The game ends when all 10 rounds have been played and players move on to final scoring. After all points have been totalled up, the highest score wins.
These are the basic rules recommended to be played the first few times. The advance rules for Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write bring in the idea of blueprints. They enhance the strategy and take replay-ability to the next level.
Final Thoughts on Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write
As far as Roll & Writes go, Portal Games have my vote on this being my favourite so far. So, why does Imperial Settlers get my high approval?
Well, there are plenty of things that I like that feature in other Roll and Writes. Things like the limitation of the rounds, and that you have so much to do, maybe even too much to do, in the goes given to you. As a result, good choices need to be made.
I like that everyone plays at the same time so nobody can copy your moves. In this game you must make your own mind up on what is the best path to take. I like the special abilities of the favour tokens, and these can bring in real differences for you and your opponents and how they play.
The building abilities that are unlocked each go in your growing village are fantastic. I love the advanced rules with the blueprints and which location fits best in order for you to make the most of the changing abilities that they bring… (want more info on that? Get the game and you will. But trust me, it's good.)
I like the vast replay-ability within Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write. There are different ways that you can set out to win, but it all comes down to what is rolled and how many actions you get each turn to unfold you plan.
And even though I’m not one for playing solo games, I like the way the Adventure Mode has 48 different sheets, with different buildings bring different abilities each time you play.
It’s also an easy game to teach. The first game we played I was able to take a gamer and non-gamer through what to do and everyone understood, picked up and enjoyed the game with no mistakes made.
Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write is certainly a Roll & Write to have in your collection. Trust me, you'll enjoy it over and over again.