Ratzzia is fundamentally a dice-rolling game. But has added dimensions making it both tactical and competitive. Recommended for ages 8 years and up. A typical game will last around 30 minutes.
The artwork for Ratzzia is brilliant. The rats on the front of the box look cheeky and mischievous. One is even eating his way through a jar of crackers! You can’t help but be amused by this.
The colourful and detailed artwork continues throughout the game’s contents. There are no less than five copies of the instructions, each in a different language and full of illustrations. The inside of the box lid displays various diagrams on how to set up the game board depending on the number of players. The game board itself, which is a quality thick card, has further cute and characterful rat illustrations dotted amongst the various jars of food.
You also get small wooden gaming tokens in the form of sausages, cheese, and crackers. Coupled with standard playing dice in five colours and a couple of bonus transparent dice. Plus little textile sacks, one for each player.
The quality of the components gives a great first impression and makes you keen to get started!
In Ratzzia, you play as a rat who is raiding a larder full of tasty nibbles. Your aim is to collect twenty-five points worth of sausages, cheese, and crackers before your fellow players/rats. You can then claim to be the ultimate rat food thief!
You go about achieving this goal by rolling dice and placing them in the appropriate spaces on the game board. There are several gaming columns and you and your opponents take it in turns to roll and place your dice in the spaces available. Once a column is full, points in the form of sausages can then be awarded. Once you reach twenty-five you win!
As in most dice-rolling games there is a huge amount of luck involved. On some occasions, you might not be able to place any dice on the board or be forced into playing dice you hadn’t bargained on. However, both you and your opponents will be in the same boat, which makes the game more competitive and little unpredictable. Adding to the fun.
Extra layers to the game…
The game is essentially straightforward in its game play, but beware. You may successfully collect valuable sausages but they are not safe! Your opponents have the ability to steal them from you.
As well as each column requiring certain numbered dice to complete, each also has a different bonus feature available. The player who successfully places the last dice that completes a column can take advantage of this feature. For example, one column requires everyone in the game to share their collected sausages with the player next to them, another allows a player to steal half a player’s hoard.
All of these bonus features are a great game concept and help to change the game’s dynamics regularly. You might be in the lead one minute, trailing in last place the next!
There is a way to protect your sausages from other rat thieves however… One particular column allows you to safely store some of your hoard into the little textile sack you are provided with at the beginning of the game. Only when your sausages are hidden inside are they deemed safe from your opponents.
One thing to note is that you can’t collect cheese or crackers from the game board but must remember to trade in your sausages for either cheese or crackers as the game progresses, otherwise players may run out of sausages to collect.
So, quite early on when playing Ratzzia you will realise that tactics are required to win. If you simply concentrate on collecting sausages with no plan at all, then your cleverer opponents will simply steal from you and your hard work will have been wasted. You, as a hungry rat will starve!
You have to try and plan your dice placements carefully, thinking a turn ahead whilst also second guessing what your opponents might do next.
There is a row at the bottom of the board where players can place dice to try and halt the progress of their opponents. This row essentially, once complete, causes a cat to be alerted to all the rat thieves in the larder. All players have to retrieve their dice from the game board and start again.
This is obviously beneficial if one player was about to collect a large number of sausages and potentially win the game. It would successfully halt them in their tracks. But it also does the same to you. So, such a move might need to be deemed an essential sacrifice to give you a chance to win later in the game…
Thought Out Variants
Ratzzia is suitable for 2 to 5 players, with differing game board setups to accommodate fewer or more players.
The 2-player variant allows you to roll additional dice, which ensures the game runs smoothly. The game board has a number of removable parts, which come into play for a 2-player setup. These pieces are used to shorten some of the columns, to allow for a more balanced and speedy game.
For a 5-player game, an extra column is revealed and the row to call the cat is extended.
The designers have certainly thought about how the game operates depending on the number of players and this ensures that Ratzzia remains enjoyable and fun packed however played!
Hidden behind cute illustrations is a quality, competitive and tactical dice-rolling game. A game entertaining for both the younger and older player. It can be challenging when you don’t get the dice results you want or frustrating when your opponent calls the cat, but this is part of the fun and competitiveness of the game. If you love some lighthearted competition and a quick game play, then I would strongly recommend Ratzzia. Give it a go!