You don’t have to be a fan of D&D to appreciate the puzzly genius of Roll Player. This dice placement game sets you the task of creating a character that could actually be used in a role-playing game. The game will see you drafting dice to complete rows of three dice that add up to a statistical value. The player board you choose will determine the race of your character and set some initial stat altering value - your strength column might be a +1 for example. Although each race has some minor differences like this, each row gives you a special power when you play a dice to it, placing a die in intelligence lets you re-roll one of your previously placed dice, where as the dexterity row let’s you swap two dice positions.
Added to this however, is a range of cards that give you a back story, class and more. These cards will set-up some parameters for you to try and complete for maximum scoring opportunities. They will give you a number or a number range to aim for in each row, as well as bonus points for placing certain colours of dice in the right positions on your grid. The player board is thick card with dice shaped portions cut out so all your dice stay in place nicely. The way these cards and player boards interact is not only clever and funny, but adds a huge amount of variety to the game. You might not agree with funny but I certainly laugh when fate deals me a Protector Dwarf Monk with a backstory as a brawler…
During a round you will draft a die to add to your board, potentially going to the shop to buy point giving cards or powerful upgrades. Although the luck of the dice is certainly present the powers you gain through placing dice and the cards give you a lot of options to mitigate that luck.
Added to all this is a dedicated solo mode that is just almost as enjoyable as the multiplayer game.
There is more to the gameplay than we have detailed here but it should give you an idea of what to expect in Roll Player - at the very least a random way to create your next RPG character, but give it a try and you will find an engaging and enjoyable puzzle of dice placement and point scoring goodness.
Player Count: 1-4
Time: 60-90 minutes
Age rating: 10+
Roll Player has had rave reviews all over the internet, its sold out every time it’s had a reprint and still people want more can it really be as good as people say? Or is it a case of people wanting what they can’t have?
As Lords of Vegas and Cavern Tavern are amongst my favourite games I was eager to play this dice placement game. I must say that the name did put me off from buying it several times as I thought it was just a table top RPG affair. In reality the name doesn’t have anything other than the theme in common with the name and I am glad I looked past this.
Playing Roll Player
The game, made by Thunderworks Games, is of a very high standard in terms of quality and even the box surprised me. The cards are all of good stock and the dice are again very well made. The biggest shock to me though was the sheer amount of stuff that you get inside!
Roll Player is very simple to play and I must admit that other than the drafting/rolling of the dice it plays at a very good pace and there is very little downtime at all. The game is played in rounds and these are divided into four phases:
- Roll phase - The first person draws dice out of the bag and rolls them, and places them in numerical order on the cards in the center of the table.
- Dice Placement phase - You then take it in turns selecting a dice and placing in on your player board. What number card your dice is on determines what order you take your turn in the next phase
- Market phase - Purchase cards from the market that represent Traits, Skills, Weapons, and Armour.
- End phase – You put back the unused dice in to the bag and pass the bag to the player on the left.
The end game is triggered when the last person fills up his player board. You then add up all your stats to calculate your score.
There are several, various places to place your dice and every time you place on onto an attribute row you get to make use of that rows skill, this is a way to mitigate a bad roll or rearrange a dice that has been placed before.
The fact you have everything that you would expect from a character creation in an RPG is brilliant. You have traits, armour and weapons but the most surprising thing is the detail it has in terms of stats, race gender and alignment of the character, this means every time you play your goals will be slightly different.
I really enjoyed Roll Player every time we have played it and the fact your goals change considering on what type of character you are means I have never got bored. The down time never actually feels like it’s over bearing as you are constantly looking at your player boards working out what you need and how to score maximum points.
The randomness of dice can usually be a big negative in a game but Roll Player has great ways to mitigate a bad roll. The market phase is a fantastic addition and cards again can also help you get the best from a bad roll.
I did feel like there could have been some sort of battle system or conflict added but I have been informed this will be coming soon. Everything is spot on in terms of theme and I really do suggest everyone should play this game.