I love whoever invented the tabletop dexterity game. While I know they aren’t for everyone, dexterity games are quite ubiquitous in my household. Whether they are games of skill, luck, or even a combination of both, I’m always willing to give one a shot. That’s probably because they each feel so distinctive. While it can be easy for a worker placement or tile laying game to feel very similar to the previous one, most dexterity games feel as if they are something wholly new.
Today, we are going to take a look at Rollet. With fond memories of my childhood playing the steel ball firing game Crossfire, Rollet will have players launching metal balls down a shoot, trying to knock a wooden ball into their opponent’s goal. Sounds easy enough right?
Rollet is a dexterity game for 2-4 players that takes about 15 minutes to play. Rollet plays best with 4 players.
In Rollet, 2-4 players are trying to score points by knocking a wooden ball into their opponent’s goal. Players accomplish this by dropping a metal ball down a chute. If their aim is true, they’ll score a point when they knock the wooden ball into the goal. Score 5 points and your team wins!
While there aren’t many components in Rollet, what you do get is outstandingly produced. The main part of Rollet is the wooden game board. The board is peaked in the middle and slops towards each player’s side of the board. In each corner sits a removable chute that can swivel on its access point. The woodwork in Rollet seems to be expertly crafted and everything breaks down to fit in the large size game box.
The only other components of note are the 12 steel balls and the single, larger wooden ball. Overall I was fairly impressed with the production quality of Rollet.
How to Play:
Rolled is best player with 4 players, however it can be played with 2 (or three if one player wants to go solo). Each player starts the game with 3 steel balls, and the wooden ball is placed in the center of the board (there is a small indentation for it to rest on).
When players are ready, they all high 5 (high 10?), grab a ball and roll it down their chute. The game is played in real time, so players can fire as often or as slow as they want. If a player runs out of balls, they can take them from the board, but only in the designated area around their chute.
A point is score when the wooden ball enters an opponent’s goal (and hits the “nose”). At that point, the wooden ball is placed back into the center of the board and another round begins. The steel balls are not redistributed at this point, penalizing players who fire too quickly.
The first team to score 5 points wins the game.
As you can see from the above, Rollet is both very accessible and incredibly simple to learn. If it takes you more than 30 seconds to explain how to play the game, you are probably reading the rulebook from some other game.
Playing Rollet is as simple as picking up a ball and sliding it down a chute. That’s it for the rules anyway. Winning the game, on the other hand, is not that easy. In my many plays of Rollet, there appear to be two types of players.
There are the fire and forget players who seems to want to launch as many balls as quickly as possible. Overwhelm your opponents with firepower. I get it; I just don’t think that’s a great way to win.
The strategy I usually employ is to aim carefully and maximize every shot. Since there are only 12 steel balls in the whole game, it rarely seems like a good idea to rapid fire your precious resources away. This is compounded by the fact that the balls aren’t redistributed between rounds. So if you launched everything you had at your opponent and still lose the point, you are going to be in trouble at the start of the next round.
However, that doesn’t mean you can carefully aim your shot like a sniper in Carentan. This IS a real time game after all, so you still need to move quickly. Aim your shots, but do so quickly. Plus, it’s always good to have at least one ball in hand when the wooden ball gets close to your goal.
Once you get good at Rollet you can even make skill shots. Sometimes the wooden ball will rest just outside your goal. If you can fire accurately enough, you can definitely bounce it out of there (called Skimming the milk). Rollet is definitely one of those games where they more you play it, the better you will get.
However, that being said, it’s probably not the type of game you will build a game night around. Its depth lends more to the filler game role, which is fine. It’s a good game to bust out when you are looking for a casual game you can enjoy with a cocktail nearby.
I’ve had a lot of fun playing Rollet. Sometimes the most simple of games are some of the most entertaining. However I do think Rollet is played best with 4 players. With only two, you have to control two launchers, which can be a bit of a pain. The game’s pace will definitely slow down and it loses a bit of the excitement that come with 4 players. There is a variant rule where you can shoot all the steels balls to your opponent’s side of the board and win, but I didn’t care for it that much.
Overall, we really enjoyed Rollet. Sure that game isn’t deep, but what it does provide is a highly entertaining gaming experience that can literally be enjoyed by almost anyone. I’ve played with people as old as 60+ and as young as 5 years old. Everyone has had a good amount of fun with Rollet.
The only downside of owning Rollet is storing the rather large game box. Everything breaks down neatly into a flat box, but the box itself is still going to take up quite a bit of space. That being said, the production qualities are fantastic, the game fun, and the play experience unique. Check this one out today.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of Rollet, you can get it for about $100.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A fun dexterity game that can be played by just about anyone.
• Storage can be a bit unwieldy
• Needs 4 players to be the most fun