Harvest Dice

RRP: £14.99

NOW £11.49
RRP £14.99

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Harvest Dice is a fast, fun dice game of dice drafting and veggie doodling. Each round, players take turns rolling and selecting dice in order to plant veggies in their gardens or feed them to their pig. Keep an eye on the ever-changing market though. You want to make sure you have plenty of desirable vegetables come harvest time!
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Awards

Value For Money

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Drawing small vegetables is fun.
  • Really interactive dice drafting.
  • Two different levels of complexity, making it great for new and experienced players.

Might Not Like

  • Its a very light dice game.
  • There is an outside chance that bad dice luck will affect your game.
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Description

Harvest Dice is a fast, fun dice game of dice drafting and veggie doodling.

Each round, players take turns rolling and selecting dice in order to plant veggies in their gardens or feed them to their pig. Keep an eye on the ever-changing market though. You want to make sure you have plenty of desirable vegetables come harvest time!

Harvest Dice is a roll-and-write game, a style of game where you roll dice and based on the results, you fill out a paper sheet in front of you, the most obvious examples perhaps being the classic game Yahtzee. The genre appears to have gained a lot of popularity over the last 18 months, with lots of new games and even a Kennerspiel nomination for Ganz Schon Clever, proving that roll and writes can be games for serious gamers.

Harvest Dice, designed by Danny Devine, was one of our first experiences with the genre, and since then we’ve been playing many, many others as the movement had gained more and more momentum. Roll and writes are wonderfully simple and accessible games, and Harvest Dice is definitely standing the test of time for us amongst the crowd of different titles in this genre.

Harvest Dice Gameplay

Harvest Dice is a 2-4 player dice drafting roll-and-write game in which you play as a farmer attempting to make the best field full of crops. It's not as simple as choosing the best vegetable to sow and filling your field, there is a market that changes the value of the crops depending on which dice are taken. Sometimes you won't have a use for any for the dice, in these cases you can always feed one of them to your trusty pig who will reward you with points at the end of the game because bacon reasons.

At the start of the game each player is handed a sheet of paper that depicts their land, their pig and the value of crops in the local market. Each turn, one player will roll all the dice, then one at a time players will choose one of the dice to plant in their field. The position is determined by a grid reference along the top of the field, if you take a green die showing a four you must draw a cabbage in the four column on your playing sheet. At first this is the only restriction, but you must also keep all of your veggies of the same type together, so our hypothetical player could now only take green dice if they were a three, four or five. Players continue drafting dice until only one die is left, the colour of this die dictates which of the three markets (carrot, tomato and cabbage) increases in value this turn.

If you are unable to, or don’t want to, plant a dice you can still take it, but you must feed it to your pig. This is an important move to restrict your opponent’s ability to play, but also every six dice pips that you feed to the pig grants you a pig power. These one use powers allow you to add or subtract one from a die as you take it (or change the die colour in advanced mode).

The game ends when one player finishes all three rows of their field, or when any one market has reached a value of six. At this point you multiply each crop by its market value to get your score. You then add bonuses for completed rows of your field, and bonuses for doing the best for each crop/pig in the advanced mode.

Harvest Dice Game Components (Credit: Grey Fox Games)

Fiona’s Final Thoughts

Harvest Dice comes with two game modes, i.e. two different versions of the score pad. After our first play, we chose to play on the hard mode, where your options for dice manipulation increase from just adding or subtracting one, to mean that you can instead choose to change the colour of a dice. Additionally, the harder mode is a bit meaner because there is a chance that one vegetable type may score no points at the end of the game.

The game is extremely simple to play and it's easy to think that it's a very basic design, but there is actually quite a lot of interlinked elements that can form part of your decision making. At the start of a turn it's easy to focus on taking the dice you need, however in a two-player game it's pretty effective to see which dice your opponent can even legally play and perhaps 'hate draft' that useful dice into the mouth of the pig! The ‘pig powers’ can be really helpful when the dice rolls don't go your way. Finally, you might be keen to take dice tactically so that the colour of dice remaining when five have been taken is the colour of the vegetable you have planted most of, giving it a higher multiplier for end game scoring.

We love drafting, so the fact that the simple drafting decisions can trigger multiple impacts is really satisfying. I also really enjoy the spatial puzzle of planting your garden optimally to try and keep your options open as long as possible. Bad luck will sometimes get in your way, but we've only had one game where one player only needed to plant low numbers toward the end of the game and the dice just stopped rolling low! Otherwise the game is quite fair as you are all working with the same dice pool each turn.

Harvest Dice was a really pleasant surprise. Most quick light game don't have much staying power in our collection, but Harvest Dice feels like it packs some good meaningful decisions into a 15-minute game. I'm really happy with how it plays for two as well as with more on the frequent occasions where we introduce it to new gamers. It's well produced, has nice colourful artwork and I think I could get almost anyone to play and understand at least the basic version. I’d highly recommend it as one of the best simple roll and writes out there.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Fiona has overwhelmed me with a lot of roll and write titles in the last 12 months, but we keep coming back to Harvest Dice for a few reasons. It’s a game with a theme, unlike many abstract roll and writes and that theme is pretty cute, with the drawing adding an extra level of engagement. It’s also a game that we can get anyone to play, including my Mum, who is normally extremely resistant to playing any of our games.

Harvest Dice comes with nine small dice, these are good quality with very distinct colours and easy to read pips, though I might have liked them to be a touch bigger to give a more tactile experience. The play sheets themselves are colourful and well designed, giving clear purpose for the different areas, while still keeping an attractive art style. You get a good number of both basic and advanced game sheets so this should keep you gaming for a long time before you have to resort to the photocopier for more.

Harvest Dice is definitely a filler game, but it knows what it is and does a great job as one. It's colourful and cheerful enough to attract the younger end of its audience, while the dice drafting can be vicious enough to keep competitive adults entertained. Harvest Dice is a great choice for when you don't have much time but want to get a game it, or you are simply burnt out from heavier games.

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

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.

Last Die

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.

Harvest Dice - Starting a Game (Credit: kalchio BGG)

End Game

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.

Advanced Version

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 - Game Components (Credit: kalchio BGG)

Easy Rolling

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.

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Drawing small vegetables is fun.
  • Really interactive dice drafting.
  • Two different levels of complexity, making it great for new and experienced players.

Might not like

  • Its a very light dice game.
  • There is an outside chance that bad dice luck will affect your game.