At Gen Con this year, the BGQ team met with family game publisher Foxmind Games to see what was new from them this year. One of their more popular lines is Sport Dice, a quick-playing filler game that tries to capture the spirit of various sports.
Since each game plays fairly similar, we thought we’d do a combined review of each of the four Sport Dice games (Football, Soccer, Baseball, and Hockey). Each of us took a different game to test out, so you’ll get an overview of the game in general, and then some more specific thoughts on each offering.
The basics of Sport Dice are pretty easy to pick up. While there might be some sport-specific rules (such as offense vs defense dice in football or the penalty box in hockey), the core of each game is built around the same engine.
Each round, both players roll their six dice. They may be the same set of dice for symmetrical sports (such as for hockey and soccer), or unique dice in the case of baseball and football. Once you’ve both rolled your dice, you check to see who has rolled the most of one symbol type. That player gets to resolve their symbol.
For example, when playing Football, if one player rolls 4 10-yard game results, and their opponent rolls 3 sack results, then the 10-yard game result will be applied.
So what happens when players roll an equal number of one symbol? In that case, there is a tie breaker token. Whichever player’s color is showing can choose to break the tie in their favor, and then flip the toke to the other color, or let their opponent take the result and keep the tiebreaker in their favor. Think of it like the possession arrow in NCAA basketball, but where the team with possession can opt not to take the ball but keep the arrow instead.
Rounds will go by in this manner until either someone scores enough to win, or all periods have been played (depending on the sport).
Sports Dice: Baseball
Reviewed by Andrew
I’m a big baseball fan (Go Cubbies!) so I jumped at the chance to give Sports Dice: Baseball a go. The structure is exactly like you’d expect—one player is pitching, the other is batting. Each roll-off is a pitch and the outcomes are most often a strike or a ball as they are the most prevalent icons on the dice. But you can also record a single, double, or home run. And of course the defense can get an out or even a double- or triple-play if there are runners on base.
After three outs, you switch dice. After three innings the most runs wins. The tie breaker token does a lot of the work in making for some interesting decisions in an otherwise pretty brainless game of rolling dice. Often times you feel like you should save your token for being able to get a great result like a home run, but in some cases you just need to do whatever you can to get a guy on base. Just like most of what you will read below, Sports Dice Baseball is pretty random but feels true to the sport, is fun to play, and gives you just a little bit of agency to keep things interesting.
Sports Dice: Football
Reviewed by Tony
Sports Dice: Football, like most of the Sports Dice line, is a quick-playing game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you are looking for a deep experience that seamlessly replicates the gameplay of its namesake, you won’t find that here. What you do have is a great little filler game that can produce some solid moments of enjoyment. It’s a game that’s super random but still manages to bring home the experience of the sport.
With Football, you have different offense and defense dice, with the down and distance being truncated to the 2 end zones and 50-yard line. But there are plenty of ways for the ball to move, be it 10 or 20 yard gains, a pick-six, or even a breakaway for a touchdown. We’ve played a lot of games of this one so far and we even had fun with a very unbalanced game. One of our games started with back-to-back pick-sixes because that’s what was rolled. The game was over in 5 minutes, which was a bit silly, but also enjoyable. We immediately reset and played another game. Sports Dice has a small footprint, so this one is definitely something you can easily take to a pub (or a tailgate) to pass the time. Despite the random gameplay, we overall had a good time and could even feel the moments of football present in the game.
Sports Dice: Hockey
Reviewed by Brian W
I love hockey, always have, mainly due to the athleticism and brutality displayed on the ice. Sports Dice: Hockey game doesn’t emulate a true hockey game, but delivers a great dice-chucking filler that engages the players and gives them a fun hockey-like experience. The game’s length is measured in periods like hockey, but rather than being time, each period lasts for 5 shots-on-goal. There are also rules for OT if all three periods end in a tie, and even Shoot-Outs if that fourth period ends in a deadlock too.
Hockey dice sets are symmetrical as noted in the overview, and die-symbol actions match for offense and defense. There’s a hockey stick & puck symbol on the dice that will move 1-2 sections on the rink toward the opponent’s goal. Either offense or defense will score a goal if they can roll 6 hockey sticks (FYI- it’s not considered a shot on goal). There’s also a check symbol that allows you to reroll all your dice and a referee symbol that will have your opponent lose a die (to show a man advantage) until the next shot on goal.
Again, all these actions give players a hockey-like feel. The big change from other Sports Dice games is when a player is on offense and moves into an opponent’s zone, they can take a shot on goal. The player on offense rolls their 6 dice but the defender only rolls the 1 red Goaltender die. If the offense rolls more hockey stick symbols than the number on the defender die, then it’s a goal; if not, it’s a save. Overall, Sports Dice: Hockey is a dice-chucker filler game loaded with randomness but it’s a fun time, nevertheless.
Sports Dice: Soccer
Reviewed by Chris
I’m at the point in my life where I spend about 80% of my time lugging supplies to and from soccer matches for my kids. So, being the glutton for punishment I am, I volunteered to review the soccer-flavored version of Sports Dice.
Like my colleagues have mentioned previously, players roll dice and whichever result is most frequent will dictate the players’ action for that turn. I didn’t play the other versions of this game, but the only decision present in Soccer is when to utilize the tiebreaker token to determine who will go first on a given turn. The game almost immediately became a random back-and-forth where the ball would hardly move more than two spaces away from midfield. (In that way, I suppose, it simulates an actual game of soccer pretty well.) It seems like Soccer might be the most simplistic of the designs as it’s entirely dependent on the luck of rolling the same six dice over and over and as such this one will likely only get played with the kids. For that, however, it’s fun and inoffensive, given its five- or ten-minute playtime.
If you are looking for a deeply immersive experience of your favorite sport… you won’t find it here. Sports Dice, in all four of its varieties, is a light filler game that draws on the spirit of its namesake sports more than any underlying mechanics. The game is very, very random— but it’s also easy to get to the table, quick to play, and a surprising amount of fun. For fans of any of the sports, this is an easy buy, thanks to its frantic action, quick playtime, easy-to-learn rules, and low price point. And you know what? Sometimes a quick, beer and pretzels dice chucker is just what the doctor ordered.