Glow

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In Glow, you are an adventurer who builds their company by recruiting a new traveling companion each turn, trying to combine their powers as best as possible. You’ll roll the dice to activate the advantages that your companions bring you…or their disadvantages. Gather many slivers of light to dispel the darkness, restore the colors, travel the land to reach landmarks, an…
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Tags , , SKU ZBG-LUE01EN Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Dice Tower

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Stunning artwork and amazing component quality
  • Plays in a short amount of time
  • Asymmetric player characters
  • Interesting mechanics
  • All-round stylistic game

Might Not Like

  • Luck based gameplay
  • Possibly falling behind in points
  • Not much player interaction
  • Simultaneous play
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Description

In Glow, you are an adventurer who builds their company by recruiting a new traveling companion each turn, trying to combine their powers as best as possible. You'll roll the dice to activate the advantages that your companions bring you...or their disadvantages. Gather many slivers of light to dispel the darkness, restore the colors, travel the land to reach landmarks, and (yes) score points.

In short, Glow is a card-drafting, dice-rolling, and combinations game. In the box are lots of colorful dice and two game boards for two different gaming experiences. You so have to count on luck sometimes, but be attentive to your card combinations, too.

The world of Glow has been steeped in darkness. The light of the world has been dispersed. The colour that once enriched the world has been stripped away.

It is your job, as one of the seven trained adventurers, to collect the scattered shards of light. Every generation there is a new assortment of adventurers chosen and trained in their respective fields. They are sent off on an eight-day adventure to gather as many shards of light as possible. Whoever brings back the most shards will have their names written in history and bring the light (and presumably colour) back to the world.

This is an incredibly well written concept for what is in essence, an abstract dice rolling game. But does the game itself measure up equally to the interesting theme?

The Circle Is Again Reborn In Plight

So, I already alluded to what type of game Glow is. It is a complete and utter dice chucking game. A game where luck extends its icy grasp and drags you down into the RNG graveyard. Luck is usually the mistress that turns me away from games. Luck is never on my side. Like, EVER. I HATE luck driven games.

To send this review on a slight tangent in order to highlight my history with the RNG gods, here is a short story:

My friend was recently introducing me to Escape the Dark Sector, another luck based, dice chucking game. A story driven game where you flip a card and react to dangers by rolling and assigning dice as required. I presume. I never got passed the first card flip. You start the game with 12 health -if my memory serves- and we were facing a sentry gun. The gun shoots you for 1 damage every time you failed to roll and assign one of the correct dice needed to destroy it. I rolled the same results on my handful of dice twelve times in a row. 15 minutes taken to learn the game, a whole 10 seconds to luck my way into an incredibly early game failure.

And now back to Glow. Given my admittance of hate towards the dark mistress of luck, and my penchant for only attracting luck of the negative kind; would it be surprising if I told you that I love Glow? Because I really do. I LOVE Glow.

Lest The Unique Adventurer Here Stands

Everyone starts the game by selecting one of the seven aforementioned adventurers. This will also dictate what colour you are playing as, and your starting set of dice. Each character has a unique elemental attribute and corresponding ability trigger. The dice in Glow have 5 different symbols on them, depicting different natural elements. The colour of the dice determines which symbol will be represented twice on it. Five of the characters have a natural affinity of fire, water, air, rock, or plant.

For example: Moloc'h -the chonky-boy stone adventurer- will begin the game with 2 orange dice. The sides of the orange dice will have 1 of each affinity symbol on them besides rock, which will have 2. So, you will know that rolling for rock abilities will be easier for you to achieve if you have orange dice. Or at least more likely. Which matters for companion selection and map progression. More on those soon.

2 of the characters do not have elemental guidance. One of them has purple dice that allows them to progress quicker on the map. And one has yellow dice that can straight up net you victory points. There is also the character that starts with the red fire dice. They do not have an ability trigger, but they start with 3 dice instead of 2.

If all of this went straight over your head, don't worry! It is all straight forward and intuitive when you get your hands on the components themselves. Long story short: each character is different, but not too different. They are each interesting to play and offer different approaches to the game.

To Regather The Forgotten Shards Of Light

So, what do you do in Glow? Mirroring the theme of the game itself, you will be playing over the course of eight days (rounds). During each of these days your simple task is to collect as many shards of light as possible. You will get the chance to recruit a new companion every day. They each come with their own triggered abilities and some come with extra little tricks and treats. Also, at the end of the turn, you will be travelling across the journey board. The abilities you trigger, and the route available to you to travel will both depend on the dice results from your roll.

Half of the fun in the game comes from the companion board. There are 5 locations on the board, one for each attribute. At the start of each round a random companion will be placed under each of the locations. At the game set up (and each round start) the active player is going to roll a handful of smaller dice. Or 'diddy dice' as I like to call them.

They are then placed on the companion board based on - you guessed it! - the results of the roll. Each player will get to take one of the available companions each turn, and consequently, take the dice in the same location. And that, dear readers, is the crux and the curse of the game.

Do you take a companion that compliments your character and companion's abilities? Do you take one that triggers on certain symbol results because you have nothing for that symbol yet? Or do you simply take the one with the most diddy-dice on them for the chance of triggering more abilities? Because here is the kicker. Abilities trigger as many times as you have rolled results for. And the dice faces are not just single use, they trigger for every companion that requires that result. Even if it isn't a result you want.

After all your abilities are triggered, you will then get to travel on the board. The further you get, the more end of game shards of light you will be able to claim. You have the option of travelling down different paths, towards different goals. And to travel down these paths will require you to roll certain symbols. This often causes you to need to either roll for abilities or for further movement.

With The Power In Elemental Hands

Rolling dice is all well and good, but there needs to be a healthy heaping of mitigation to pair it with. Luckily, Glow delivers on this front. You will amass re-roll tokens that will allow you to, well, re-roll some dice. These tokens are absolutely necessary in helping you roll exactly what you need. Or avoiding results you don't need.

The icing on the cake is a nice little push your luck element to the game. This comes in the form of allowing you to backtrack on the score track to use a re-roll even if you don't have any tokens. And you can keep going back further and further if you really need a particular result. And the further you get on the score track, the more and more sparse these re-roll tokens become.

There are also some neat little twists and turns in the game too. There are certain companions that will trigger spells to befall your opponents. There are companions that will trigger big point boosts but will cause their own demise. There are companions that will give you a new permanent big-boy dice, but they are also prone to dying.

There is a companion that introduces a new black diddy-die that will throw out a curse that will hinder any who take it (but you are immune). Taking certain paths on the board will have you sacrificing companions, blocked off if you have rolled certain symbols etc. There are even two sides of the board, each offering completely different gaming experiences.

As if there wasn't already enough for you to consider during this game, there are also fireflies you need to collect. Some companions will come with fireflies and some will grant you tokens if you roll their abilities. Having fireflies equal to or exceeding the number of companions you have at the end of the game will net you some extra points. Why? Who knows?

The Darkness Before Us Slowly Expands

Every facet of Glow is dictated by luck's icy embrace. And that is one of the key features of this game that might put some people off. Going into the game knowing it is essentially a luck mitigation game does help though. It can be disheartening to push your luck in a game that isn't purely designed for the mechanic. Going back on the score track several times in a row is very tempting, and if you simply don't roll what you need, it can leave you trailing behind for the rest of the game.

I am struggling to think of other possible negatives for the game. I guess you will just have to play it and find some for yourself!

The End Of A Journey

I think it is fairly obvious that I love this game. Even though I typically can't stand luck-based games. Go figure. There is plenty to love in Glow. You can tell that it is a game that was very well play tested as all the small minute details and mechanics do well to enrich the overall experience. Six of the cards are taken out of the companion deck each game to form a slightly different game each time. Which pairs perfectly with the fact every companion is unique.

The two sides of the board are totally different and play out in interesting ways. The artwork is so stylistic and engaging. The components are of absolutely superb quality -cough- best dice in a game ever -cough-. Each of the characters are interesting to play as. Every combination of character and companions will give you a distinct experience with each play.

Two final little points to make in order to round off this review are as followed.

One: Considering I tend to avoid most games with dice, I was especially happy that I could even use my Zatu dice tray for this game. It was great to finally put it to some good use.

Two: (and more importantly) I reached out to Cédrick Chaboussit (the game designer) before writing this review to tell him he did a wonderful job with Glow. He replied and thanked me, (which really humbled me), and he informed me that Glow has done really well and so they are developing expansions for the game. Which I am already dying to get my hands on!

There is so much to write about with this simple little game. Writing any more might give my editor a headache however, so I will wrap this review up here.

Glow has a very agreeable price point and is definitely a game worth checking out!

As I am sure you can tell, Glow is a very visually stylistic game. This aspect really enhances the game playing experience. You will take on the role of an adventurer who will be collecting shards of light over 8 days (rounds) in order to bring light back to the world.

But how do you actually play this grayscale dice chucking conundrum?

Glow: Set Up

The first thing you will need to do during set up is to choose what side of the board you want to play on. Each offers different approaches to the last phase of each round. The 'Province of Shadows' will have you traversing the world on foot and setting up camps along the way to search for shards of light, walking down potentially dangerous paths. The 'Archipelago of Darkness' will have you sending out a fleet of boats to explore the islands of the seas in search of shards of light. More on this later.

Place the meeting track underneath the board (it fits perfectly into place). Shuffle the A and B companion decks separately and remove 3 companions face down from each. Place the A deck on top of the B deck. Draw a companion face up to be placed underneath each of the 5 symbols on the meeting track (air, water, fire, nature, and minerals). The space under the skull symbol is the cemetery. This is where the unchosen Pokémon companions go, for some reason. Sad times.

Place the small circular spell tokens in a stack face down. Separate the small dice from the larger dice. Place a large red, orange, blue, light blue, and green dice to one side along with the small black die. This is the reserve pool. The rest of the larger dice are paired with their respective coloured player adventurers. 2 for each, aside from the red adventurer who will have 3 red dice. Place a supply of firefly, reroll and footprint tokens.

More Set Up

Every player will choose an adventurer, which will also determine their colour. They will take the dice that were previously paired with that adventurer (I recommend bagging each with their dice for streamlining purposes) and the score tracker of their colour. The rest of the adventurers and their dice can be put away.

If the 'Province of Shadows' board was chosen then each player will also get the band token (meeple) and a camp token of their colour. Both of which will be placed in the white empty space on the bottom left of the board. The boats will not be getting used.

If the 'Archipelago of Darkness' board was chosen then each player will choose a boat colour and place 4 boats in the centre space of the board. The 5th boat is kept in front of you as a reminder of your colour. The band and camp tokens will not be used. I recommend bagging them along with their respective adventurer and associated dice.

Choose your starting player by whatever means you prefer. Drawing straws, playing marbles, rock paper scissors, who can spoon feed themselves the most Nutella straight from the jar. Whatever suites your needs. That player will take the first player marker and the 9 small dice (not the black die). The player to the first player's right-hand side will get 2 reroll tokens. The handful of dice is rolled and placed on the meeting track matching whatever symbol is the result of the die. If the purple die has the footprint result, it is re rolled until an element symbol is rolled. If any location on the meeting track does not gain any dice, then a footprint token is placed there instead.

And that is it for set up. This was a pretty large wall of text for what is essentially a 30 second set up. So don't panic at the length of this.

Morning Phase - Companion Recruiting

Starting with the first player, each player in turn (clockwise) will choose a companion to take. They will also gain any dice/footprint tokens above the companion in the same location. Every player will get the chance to recruit one companion per turn. Once every player has taken a companion, the remaining companion(s) are moved into the cemetery. Any dice/footprint tokens in those spaces are left there for the next turn.

In a two-player game, the first player will take a companion, and then move another one into the cemetery before the second player takes their choice. Any dice/footprint tokens again will remain in place for the next turn.

Late Morning Phase - Dice Rolling

Now that everyone has chosen their companion in Glow, it is time for everyone to roll all their dice. Everyone does this simultaneously. All dice are rolled at once. This is the larger dice you start the game with, the smaller dice you just collected with your companion, and the curse die if you are in possession of it. The curse die will be explained in detail further on. This is the ONLY phase in which you can roll or reroll dice.

You will be mainly hoping to achieve die results that match those shown on your adventurer and companions. Or avoiding them if they will trigger a companion death that is unwanted. If you did not get the result that you were hoping for, you can choose to spend your reroll tokens. Each reroll token you chose to use will allow you to reroll either one or two dice.

You can use as many reroll tokens as you have available. These can be used from 3 separate locations: the actual physical reroll tokens you have (discarded after use); any reroll symbols printed on the top of certain companions (can be used once per turn); and the option to move back on the score tracker to the previous printed reroll symbol (can move back as many times as you wish). You also have the option to spend 3 rerolls (from any location) to turn a die result to any face you want.

Important note: Once you have confirmed your dice results you can not change them after this phase.

Noon Phase - Resolving Dice Results

This is when all the Glow fun happens.

Players will take their dice results and apply them to their adventurer and each of their companions. Players will do this simultaneously. Every result that would trigger an adventurer/companion does trigger them, whether you want it to or not. An ability can be triggered more than once, if you have multiple of the dice results needed. There are also abilities that will trigger only if you do not roll a certain result, but these will only trigger the once. If a result would trigger the death of the companion, that ability also only triggers once. You can resolve the abilities in any order you want.

For example: you have the Glow adventurer and companions featured in the picture and rolled the dice results as shown. In this example you have rolled 2 minerals, a nature, a fire, and an air. Taking this result and applying it to each of the cards your results would be as followed:

  • Moloc'h would trigger twice based on the 2 mineral results gaining you the reward of a footprint token twice.
  • Sketal would trigger based on the 2 mineral results and be sent to the cemetery and you would gain 2 points immediately. Due to Sketal granting you a permanent green die, you would also immediately return the large green die to the reserve (more on that later). In this case, it would be advised to trigger Sketal last.
  • Oshra would NOT trigger due to the nature result.
  • Likyar would trigger based on the nature and fire result and grant you the reward of a reroll token and you would score a point immediately.

The dice results will also be needed for the next phase, so do not discard them yet. Also try not to knock them or drop them so that the results can still be read.

The multicoloured dial is found in pairs and triples symbolises any dice result. If there is a pair then the ability is triggered on 2 of the same dice results, and if it is a triple then you need 3 of the same. The special faces on the yellow and purple dice will trigger these as well as elemental results.

Afternoon Phase - Travelling

Each player now moves their band or one of their boats further on the journey board. Each board works slightly differently so I will break each down separately.

Glow has general rules that apply to both boards:

  • Different players are allowed to share the same space.
  • If you land on a space (or move past one) that contains a firefly, double firefly, footprint, double footprint or reroll symbol then you will immediately gain that token.
  • If you land on a space (or move past one) that contains a negative shard of light symbol, you will immediately lose the represented number of points.
  • If you land on a space (or move past one) that contains a skull symbol then you will need to do one of two things:

- Send one of your companions to the cemetery. Any death abilities on them are NOT triggered.

- Cancel and discard a spell if you have one (more on them later).

  • If you are about to move into a space that contains a negative footprint symbol then you MUST discard the represented number of footprints in order to be able to move into that space. If you do not have the available footprints, then you must end your movement before entering that space.

The Province of Shadows board will have you moving your band token along winding paths. Each space that you land on will need a specific die result to be spent in order to progress onto them. After spending the die, it is placed to one side to denote its use. There are locations that will only allow you to move into them if you have no matching symbols. This also includes the results of the dice you have already used and placed to one side. Reaching a village will allow you to place your camp token in it, but it will also end your movement. You can move your camp token into any new village you move into. You earn shards of light at the end of the game dependant on where your camp is located.

The Archipelago of Darkness board will have you sending boats off to distant islands. Each turn while playing Glow, a player can only move one boat to an adjacent island. Players can share a location, but your boat can't share a space with one of your other boats. The circular icons between each island represents how many different element symbols you need to move to the next island. For example, 1/2 will mean you can only move through if all your dice results show only 1 or 2 different elements. Having more than 2 different results will bar your entry. Footprint tokens are used as a wildcard to substitute for any other different element. Shard of light symbol on the yellow dice and the footprint symbols on the purple dice do not count. Results only count if they are an elemental symbol.

The first player marker is passed to the next player. That player collects up all the small dice that were used this round (NOT the ones still on the meeting track) and rerolls them. They then place the dice on the meeting track depending on the results rolled, adding a reroll token to any places that did not receive a die. A new companion is revealed for each location, making sure any previous ones have been moved to the cemetery. The new round is now set up and ready to go.

Glow: Scoring

After the eight rounds of Glow have been played out it is time for scoring to commence. You will know the 8 rounds are over, as the companion deck will be empty. There are 4 different scoring categories:

  1. The printed number of shards of light on the top right hand side corner of the adventurer and companions.
  2. The printed number of shards of light from the camp location from The Province of Shadows. Or the combined total of printed shards of light from all boat locations on The archipelago of Darkness.
  3. Fireflies will get you an extra 10 shards of light if you have equal (or more) fireflies to companions.
  4. Footprint tokens will get you an extra point per token you have.

Whoever is furthest ahead on the score track wins. If there are any ties, then the reroll tokens will be used to break ties.

And that is all there is to know about Glow. You should now be able to play the game without issue.

Companion Clarifications

Some companions are a little more complicated, and so need a little extra expanding upon.

Sketals - These deathly looking birds in Glow come with an extra boon. Each one grants a specific extra die that is permanent for use and is not returned like the smaller ones at the end of turns. There is one Sketal that is multi-coloured and can be used to take any available large dice from the reserve pool (if any). The downside to the Sketals is that if their ability is triggered, it will kill them. The die it gave you will then be discarded back to the reserve pool.

Xar'gok - This guy is the one that will have you using the stack of spell tokens you have probably been wondering about. When its effect is triggered, it will be sent to the cemetery and each other player will take a spell from the stack (which should be face down). They place the spell face down in front of them and reveal it at the start of the turn. A spell works the same as any other card, its effect is triggered during the noon phase.

The spell that has 2 clouds on the left and a skull on the right works a little differently. It must always be placed on top of the companion on the far right. If you recruit a new companion, then it moves on top of them. This does not prohibit that companion, but when the spell is triggered, it will kill that companion.

Cromaug - When this guy is triggered, he will be sent to the cemetery. When that happens, you will be able to take a different companion from the cemetery and add it to the end of your companion line. If you take a Sketal, you will also get the die that would normally come with it.

Kaar - This little guy is the one that brings the cursed black die into play. Whoever takes Kaar will immediately roll the black die and add it to the meeting track depending on the result, just like the standard small dice. If it would go into an empty space or lands on -2 face, it is rolled again until it can be placed. This is in order to make the decision of companion selection harder for others. The black die is taken along with the others in that space.

If you have the black die, it is rolled with the rest of the dice you have during the noon phase. Group the result with all the other results of the same symbol. They are all cancelled out for the round and can not be used to trigger abilities or for movement on the journey board. This does however mean that you can trigger abilities and movement that requires you to roll none of a particular result, if you rolled that on the black. A -2 result will deduct 2 points from you immediately.

The black die is collected up along with the rest of the small dice at the end of the round and distributed with them at the start of the next. It remains in play even if Kaar is sent to the cemetery.

Glow: Wrap Up

And that is everything you need to know about playing Glow. This might seem like a lengthy list of instructions, but it is truly an easy game to learn and play. Smashing out a game of Glow can be done in 30 mins or less.

I hope you enjoy playing the game as much as myself!

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Stunning artwork and amazing component quality
  • Plays in a short amount of time
  • Asymmetric player characters
  • Interesting mechanics
  • All-round stylistic game

Might not like

  • Luck based gameplay
  • Possibly falling behind in points
  • Not much player interaction
  • Simultaneous play