Let me introduce you to the freshest board gaming mechanism out there. I think I will call it “roll and write”. You’ve surely never seen anything so innovative. See, you’ll roll some dice and then mark off things based on the results of that roll. It’s revolutionary!
Ok, well, maybe not. But, is Divvy Dice distinguishable amongst the drove of dice driven games? Will it be a disaster or a new standard for dice and writing to behold?
The first thing that you’ll notice makes Divvy Dice different is that there are no sheets for the writing portion of the game. Instead, you’ll be marking off boxes on cards trying to complete them. There are five different colors of cards and two different varieties—scoring and bonus. When you fill in all of the boxes on a card you’ll be eligible to score the points or use the bonuses that it provides.
The boxes, of course, can only be completed by die results. If the box has a colored background you must use the dice of that color. If it has a number in it, obviously, you can only check the box if you use a die of that number. Some cards have other types of restrictions—dice that must be the same value, must total a certain sum, or must be increasing from left to right, for instance.
On your turn, you’ll roll the five dice and, optionally, reroll up to two times. When you have rolled three times you can mark boxes on your card only if you can complete all of the unfilled boxes. Some of the cards require 8 dice though… how can you possibly complete that in a single turn with only five dice? Well, math wizard, you cannot.
The trick here is when it’s another player’s turn and they take a re-roll, you can choose any one of the re-rolled dice and use it to mark a box on any of your own cards. This partial progress will make it possible to complete the rest of the card on your turn. On your turn you must re-roll unless you can complete a card or buy a new card from the market.
But cards from the market aren’t free, you’ll need 3 or 4 matching dice results. When you gain a card you put it in your tableau touching an existing card. You also can only make a 3-by-3 grid so you can’t ever add a fourth card in any direction. Some cards score based on the placement of cards around them so this can be an important decision. Once any player has completed their grid the end of the game is triggered. One more round is played and the person with the most points is the winner.
As roll and writes go, Divvy Dice does some things quite different. There is a tableau building element to it, trying to position certain colored cards in a way that maximizes scoring of others. Re-rolls are mandatory if you can’t fulfill a card or buy a new one, and they will definitely help out everyone else at the table. Should you buy more bonus cards to help complete the cards you already have or get more cards with scoring opportunities on them?
If you like the style of roll and writes that have you trying to put numbers in boxes, you are going to like this one too. There are plenty of options and decisions to make. Places to push your luck to try to get the perfect roll and maybe complete multiple cards at once.
My favorite part of Divvy Dice is how the end game is controlled. It is triggered when someone has purchased their ninth card—not necessarily completed it. So if you feel like you are in the lead points wise you can forego completing additional cards to just try to get three-of-a-kind so you can keep purchasing cards and rush the end. You’ll get one additional round after the round in which the end is triggered, so you might have a shot at completing them anyway.
This can lead to some slowdown if you have gamers at your table that want to count up everyone’s current point total and see if they are winning or not before deciding what to do. Technically, all the information is open and, with some math and enough patience, it can be done. My only suggestion if that happens is to get new friends to play games with.
The writing-on-cards to complete them is very reminiscent of last year’s Silver & Gold, just with dice rather than tiles. However, I much prefer Divvy Dice’s use of tableau building as well and the additional player interaction that you find in the market and the ability of passive players to use results of a re-roll.
If you are a fan of the simple roll and writes like Qwixx, Qwinto, or That’s Pretty Clever… well, Divvy Dice is a twist on the same formula. It’s hard to believe that you wouldn’t like what it offers.
There are many who find those games to be too luck-driven or low interaction. Divvy Dice isn’t going to change your mind there either. It doesn’t reinvent anything here. It’s fresh but not altogether different. But a worthy inclusion in the collection of a fan of the genre.
Final Score: 3.5 Stars – A good entry in a crowded field, but one of the better offerings.
• Player controlled end game leads to interesting decisions to make.
• Tableau building is a great way to change scoring for these types of games.
• Low interaction, dice drive roll and write. If that isn’t your thing, this isn’t your thing.