Dice Forge

RRP: £45.99
Now £37.89(SAVE 17%)
RRP £45.99
Expected Restock Date 30/04/2024
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Dice Forge is a truly innovative game, customisable dice have been used in games before, but not with the richness of gameplay on offer here. Dice Forge is a beautifully illustrated, and well made game laced with engine building and a little luck. You start the game with two dice that are identical to everyone player’s dice. As the game goes on however you will have the opportunit…
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Awards

Exceptional Components

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Spectacular production at a great price.
  • The insert!
  • Light approachable gameplay.
  • Plays quickly.
  • Easy to teach.

Might Not Like

  • A lot lighter than it looks.
  • Perhaps too quick.
  • Lack of variety in cards.
  • Fiddly rule book.
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Description

Dice Forge is a truly innovative game, customisable dice have been used in games before, but not with the richness of gameplay on offer here. Dice Forge is a beautifully illustrated, and well made game laced with engine building and a little luck.

You start the game with two dice that are identical to everyone player’s dice. As the game goes on however you will have the opportunity to buy more dice face which you will use to replace existing ones in a ‘legoesque’ fashion. Cleverly the faces themselves are used to lever off the ones you are replacing.

Every turn in the game you will choose to spend gold or shards. Gold is spent on new dice face which can give you more resources, or unique effects, and shards on cards which give one time bonuses, ongoing upgrades, or end game points. The super powerful cards obviously cost more shards and the big scoring one costs shards of both types - sun and moon. All this is tracked through your own player board which holds cubes in place really well, so rather than constantly fiddling with resource pieces you are just moving a tracker up and down.

There is a variety of cards in the game meaning that the game contains some variety out of the box - you will not see, let alone use, all the powers and die faces in one game alone. The game plays quickly and well with all player counts, and despite not being a pure family game has gone down very well with children from the age of five up. This is because you can easily explain the possible outcomes of every move they might make. Although there is a little luck as a result of the dice, you get a generous amount of rolls (you roll and receive the resources on everyone’s turn, not just your own) and before long you have built dice that roll results you want pretty much all the time.

Perhaps this is why it works so well - there is very little waiting around for other people to take their turns, you are either rolling your dice or watching what the other players are buying in case they grab something you wanted. Dice Forge comes with a great insert inside the box to hold the various pieces in place and is an easy recommendation for families and game night.

Player Count: 2-4
Time: 40 Minutes
Age: 10+

 

It can be hard to get a game noticed. Go in to hard on the visuals and people will question if there is enough gameplay to back up the looks. Conversely, concentrate solely on theme and mechanics and it can be hard to grab people’s attention. Adding a unique seldom used mechanic may be seen as a gimmick.

Stepping into this minefield with gorgeous visuals, promising gameplay and a dice crafting mechanic that sees you change the faces of the dice as you play is Dice Forge. Are fears founded? Or can Dice Forge negate these waters and come out the other side unscathed?

Like Seasons and Lords of Xidit before it, Dice Forge is a gorgeous game. Designer Régis Bonnessée clearly values strong and colourful art in his games, and although Dice Forge is undoubtedly a much lighter game than Seasons, the friendly art might be a double-edged sword.

To look initially at the boxes you might expect a family friendly light weight experience, and in Seasons you’d be wrong; In Dice Forge you’d be half right. To compound this feeling of ease of use are the Lego like dice that can have their faces changed to improve the odds of rolling what you want.

Yet the rest of the many components, the various icons, the cards and dice faces, the separate board and everything else present Dice Forge as a more complex affair than it perhaps is. Let’s take a closer look:

In the Box

In the midst of increasing prices for board games, there does seem to be another trend of packing real value for money into game boxes. For around £30 English pounds you are not only getting a lot of game but a lot of quality components.

These components are protected and kept in place by one of the best inserts I have seen, that not only locks everything snuggly in place for storage, but also serves a (semi) practical purpose. The game revolves around rolling dice to obtain resources that can be used to purchase new die faces or cards.

As well as all the necessary components for that, the game has four player boards and five cubes per player colour to track you income and expenditure as you whip through the nine to ten rounds.

The dice face are cleverly contained in a cardboard train with two levels. This area is referred to as the Sanctuary where you can buy dice face, and the Gardens where you can obtain them through cards. During play this can sit in the box next to the main board (The Islands) meaning everything you could possibly need is nice and close, or you can just lay it on the table.

The Islands board is neatly arranged in terms of art work, that runs from the board on to the cards that sit in the relevant slots. Cards cost either Sun Shards, Moon Shards or both and come in four types; vanilla points cards, instant effects and two types of permanent cards, one that gives you extra options each turn and one that is a reactive power. These are illustrated brilliantly on both sides and it is always clear which card is which.

The player boards have cube shaped holes in them to hold your tracking cubes in place, and record the amount of gold, sun shards, moon shards and victory points you have accumulated. All in all it’s clear a lot of thought has gone into the components to aid gameplay, and to make down time between your terms absolutely minimal.

Gameplay

At the start of every player’s turn all players roll both dice, this is called a divine blessing. This is a brilliant feature because it means you are always involved, even on other players turns you will be collecting resources and planning out your next spend.

After taking a divine blessing you will activate any appropriate cards, and then take an action which equates to a visit the Sanctuary or the Islands.

If you go to the Sanctuary you can buy as many dice faces as you can afford, or go to one of the Islands on the board to buy a card. If you have two sun shards left you can spend them to take another action and that’s your turn over.

There is quite a lot to spend your resources on, a variety of tempting new dice faces to replace your lowly starting faces, but if you want points you are going to have to start buying cards.

There are some really clever cards included in the base game, cards that let you smelt gold for victory points instead of saving it, resource board extensions, special dice face, and one use tokens. You won’t use all the components in one game, but you could well have seen them all after three games.

The game lasts nine or 10 rounds depending on player count, and that is going to feel quick most of the time, maybe too quick. Once the allotted amount of rounds has been played you will add the victory points from your cards to the ones earned during the game and the person with the most points wins!

Final Thoughts on Dice Forge

Dice Forge is a good game, but it’s certainly light despite the many icons and things going on. Turns flow and the lack of down time is superb. It’s just over too quickly. You get your dice to where you want them and you barely have a round to benefit. Then there’s the cards which are so well designed, but there’s just not enough of them, or perhaps not enough difference between them.

Despite this you almost always want another go to try something new with the dice or snatch up the best cards as soon as possible. The game scales incredibly well and is easy to teach. The rule book is well written, but for some reason they made it open vertically so it’s a bit of a swine to wrestle with, thankfully there’s not much too it.

I like Dice Forge and I look forward to seeing where they take it. It doesn’t belong in everyone’s collection but there is enough there to keep me coming back… for now.


A seat in heaven is up for grabs. All you need to do is defeat your rivals by performing Heroic Feats and performing offerings to the Gods.

Dice Forge is an innovate game with customisable dice faces. All players begin the game with the same faces on their dice and use them to gather gold, victory points, sun shards or moon shards. Throughout the game the players can use these resources to craft their own dice and customise them to their own specific requirements. The forging of the dice is a satisfying experience and offers a nice twist to the dice rolling resource gathering genre.

Components

The game comes with one of the best inserts that I have seen in games. Everything has its place and it all fits neatly in to the box. The box itself becomes part of the game with the Temple Board (which holds all the dice faces) sitting on the base of the box (called the Foundations).

The dice are chunky and the removable dice faces feel solid and robust. The artwork on the heroic feat cards, which are added to the main board, compete the artwork displayed on the main board. All the other cardboard components are solid and thick and feel like they will stand up to repeated plays.

Set-Up

The game is pretty easy to set-up and play, assuming that the set down was done correctly (more on that later). Each player is given a player board and player cubes for tracking resources, a light die, a dark die and a player pawn. The main island board is laid out and placed next to the bottom of the box/Foundations. The Heroic Feat cards (15 used per game) are placed in their respective places on the board based on their cost.  The Temple board is removed from its storage sleeve and placed on top of the Foundations.

Set Down

This is probably more involved and more important than the set-up. The key to ensuring that this game is easy to set-up is the set down at the end of the game. All the die faces must be reset to their original configuration. The Temple board must be repopulated with all the die faces, in their correct location, that were purchased and crafted on to the players die. All the Heroic Feat cards should be sorted and stored in their correct location ready for easy use next time.

If the set down is done correctly then the set-up is simple and quick and can be on the table and ready to be played in minutes. The set down is more important and involved than the set-up but it is worth spending the time to do it correctly to ensure that the set up for the next play is quick and easy.

Gameplay

Turns are simple and quick. The turn structure consists of four steps:

Divine Blessings

All players roll their dice (even if they are not the active player) and collect the resources depicted by moving their corresponding markers on their player board. Resources are abundant in Dice Forge due to all players receiving their divine blessing even if they are not the active player.

Call For Reinforcements

If a player has purchased any Heroic Feat cards that have the reinforcement symbol (looks like a cog or gear) then the active player may activate these cards. The grant bonuses like rolling a single die again (called a minor blessing) or resources.

Perform Action

The active player may perform one of the following two actions:

  • Offering to the Gods – The active player may “purchase” one or more different die faces from the Temple board. Once a die face is purchased it must immediately be crafted on to one of the players die by removing an already existing face. The die face removed is stored on the players board.
  • Perform a Heroic Feat – The active player may choose to perform one of the many Heroic Feats located around the main board. To do this they move their player marker to the relevant space and spend the required resources. If there is already a player occupying the space the active player ousts that player. The other player automatically receives a divine blessing. The Heroic Feat cards offer either one time bonus. once per round “reinforcement” bonus or straight victory points. Heroic Feat cards like the blacksmith’s hammer and the blacksmith’s chest provide the player with extension to their player board offering more opportunities to gain victory points and more space to store resources.

Extra Action

The active player can spend two sun shards to perform one of the actions above (Offering to the Gods or Heroic Feat).

At the end of a player turn the active player marker is passed clockwise. Once all players have had their turn the round marker is progressed one step. Play continues this way for nine rounds for a four and two-player game and 10 rounds for a three-player game.

Crafty Dice Crafting

Dice Forge is a quick and easy game to play. Some of the iconography takes a bit to get to grips with for new players but once explained it is easy to understand and follow. Dice Forge is a gorgeous looking game and the way the artwork on the box, main board, Temple board and Heroic Feat cards all tie is a nice touch. The dice are chunky and tactile.

The gameplay is smooth and easy to follow and I have taught this to a number of people from gamers to non-gamers. It is simple enough and inviting that almost anyone can pick this up and be playing it well in a matter of minutes. The Blacksmith’s Hammer is a card that allows players to convert gold in to victory points and is purchased by most players in every game. This card feels like it is a must for every player. The Blacksmith’s Chest is an extension to the gold, sun shard and moon shard tracks on the player board. This also seems like an essential card. Resources are abundant in Dice Forge and can easily be maxed out. Having the Blacksmith’s Chest helps players store more resources and limits the amount that is wasted.

The straight victory point cards, especially the 26 victory point Hydra costing five sun shards and five moon shards can really swing the scoring. In the games I have played it does feel there is a race to get this card before your opponent due to high number of points it is worth. If a player can get the majority on these it is hard for the other players to catch up.

Crafting your die is, obviously, essential in the game, but spending too much time on crafting and not enough on acquiring the Heroic Feat cards can set a player back so careful balance is required.

Dice Forge doesn’t outstay its welcome. The turns are quick and the decisions are not overly complex. The main decision each turn is whether to make an offering to the gods or perform a Heroic Feat. This decision will mainly be based on the resources a player has. It is quick, it is fun and it looks lovely. It has inviting artwork that draws people in and the removable dice faces offers something a lot of people have not seen before.


Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Spectacular production at a great price.
  • The insert!
  • Light approachable gameplay.
  • Plays quickly.
  • Easy to teach.

Might not like

  • A lot lighter than it looks.
  • Perhaps too quick.
  • Lack of variety in cards.
  • Fiddly rule book.