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Rollarama World Football Review

world football

With the Euros 2024 fast approaching (where has the time gone!), a lot of us board-gamers like to combine our two main passions in life – games, and football! While I’m not much of a footie fan myself, even I think there is something quite special about the feeling of joy and togetherness we get watching our favourite teams battling it out – and so when I saw that Big Potato Games had released a football-themed game, I was over the moon!

Indeed, Rollarama does live up to everything it promises – it is fun, engaging, competitive, and quick, making it very versatile. Any number of family and friends will love its exciting and varied gameplay, which combines intuitive physical strategy with good ol’ Lady Luck. Its simple and quick-to-learn rules make it suitable for those of all ages and abilities, and the football thematics of it aren’t too prolific in its gameplay, which means you don’t need to be into football to enjoy playing. This being said, football fanatics will be equally impressed by the way in which the game’s mechanics remain somewhat true to real life by altering each team’s chances based on their actual performance on pitch (more on that later, though).

If you are as yet unconvinced, read on for an overview of the game’s mechanics and my honest opinions. Otherwise, enjoy the match!

The Highlights

In Rollarama, you’ll split into two teams, each with a stand, and half the deck of country teams; the aim being to be the last (and therefore only) team not to run out of cards in their deck. On a turn, each team will simultaneously turn over the top card of their deck, and roll the respective dice for the card revealed (a D6, a D12, or a D20) – the team with the highest roll ‘goes through’ and returns their card to the bottom of the deck, and the losing team discards their card. If there’s a draw… Well read on!

Teams with better performance in the real world will have ‘better’ dice – that is, teams like Brazil have a D20, whereas our Scottish friends only get a D6 (sorry!). A ‘better’ dice is such for two reasons; the first being that it has higher numbers printed on it (the highest roll on D6 is a three, the highest on D20 is a 5), and the second being that dice with more physical faces tend to perform better in penalty shootouts. And that’s about as much as there is to it! Rollarama is best played over multiple rounds, especially when you have lots of people playing, as each and every game is different (and it is very addictive!).

Penalty Shootouts!

Very attentive readers may remember me mentioning earlier the game’s physical aspect of play that came into effect when teams drew a match… Ringing any bells? Well, it seems as though I can’t dance around the subject any longer (gotta get that word count up!), so let’s get stuck in. When a match is undecided, and all seems lost, fear not! Simply flip your card around to show the goal on the back, pop it in your stand, grab your dice, and take shots at the opponent’s goal! A big table is quite useful here, as you’ll want a bit of distance between the goal and where you’re flicking, and it’s always good to know the dice you’re playing with (fewer sides = more aim but little distance, more sides = much more distance with a slight compromise on aim!). Keep taking shots until someone misses the goal, at which point that team loses and cards are changed as normal.

Shootouts are great as they add some variety to what would be otherwise a very luck-based, simple game. The physical appeal is great for younger children too – in my experience, lots of kids find heavier games quite daunting, so having a tactile and tangible element is a huge plus for any game in my opinion.

The Pros & Cons

As I’ve said before, I think Rollarama is a great, well-balanced game that the whole family can get into. Its gameplay is really addictive, which I think is great as you are definitely getting your money’s worth; especially considering that all this fun is contained in such a tiny package! There are thirty different countries to choose from, and as if that wasn’t enough, Big Potato has even left some extra rules for people looking to spice up their game, though I’ll leave these for you to discover on your own. All in all, Rollarama is a game I’d recommend to anyone – it’s the perfect little game for football fans, and a great bit of quick fun for board gamers (though of course, the two aren’t mutually exclusive!).

All games have their downsides though, and as much as I could sing Rollarama’s praises for many pages more than I already have, it wouldn’t be right not to touch on why this game might not be for everybody. Obviously, the football theme can be off-putting for some, and although it does not play a huge part in the game (unlike, for example, Subbuteo), it isn’t for all gamers. Much of the game is very luck-based, which for me is a bit of a turn-off, and it means that even after playing the game a lot, there isn’t really any strategy that can be developed, as even the shootouts are about as much luck as they are having good aim. Another problem a lot of larger gaming groups may have with Rollarama is that while, in theory, you can play with teams of any number of players, only one player from each is ever in the action, so it can get a bit tenacious when playing with lots of people. The rules do detail a way in which you could play with up to four teams (effectively, do what you do with two teams, but with four), however, in my experience this never plays well unless you spend a load of time organising each turn to make sure everyone plays everyone else (not explained in the instructions), and this takes a lot of time and effort, and is honestly a pretty poor solution to a rather unique problem that this game has.

Full Time

In conclusion, I think Rollarama is definitely worth the money if you’re looking for a game that’s quick and easy to play, and a lot of fun. If you are a bigger group looking for something like this, I would say that there are definitely better options out there, but it’s still a game that’s nice to have and to break out on less serious gaming get-togethers. For families and other less formal groups, I’d say that it’s a must have!