Overview: Ligretto Dice from Playroom Entertainment is quick, fun, and just a little chaotic. Everyone plays at once, trying to get their dice on the gameboard before everyone else. Although it’s been branded like Ligretto (also known as Dutch Blitz), I found that the dice game is simpler and a bit faster to play.
Players: 2 to 4
Ages: 8 to adult, though it’s very easy to handicap the game and I’ve played with my 4-year-old.
Playing Time: 20 minutes
Rating: Frenetic and fun; good for both kids and adults
Who Will Like It? If you like simultaneous-play games like Ratuki where everyone’s scrambling to play at the same time, you’ll probably enjoy Ligretto Dice.
The game includes a square gameboard, 24 colored dice (6 each in four colors), 4 dice cups, and a cloth sack for the dice.
The dice are clear plastic with rounded edges, and I found that the clear dice can make it hard to read the dice quickly — particularly the yellow dice. It can be frustrating, but I also think it may be intentional to slow you down just a bit as you play the game.
The board is colorful and easy to read and the dice cups are pretty plain, just black plastic. They function just fine but there’s nothing really special about them.
The dice are divided up equally among all the players; it’s easy to adjust the number of dice to make it easier for younger kids by giving them fewer dice, and after you play a few rounds you’ll be able to figure out how many everyone should have to keep the game balanced. You’ll need something to keep score, and everyone starts with 100 points.
Somebody says “go!” and everyone rolls their dice. Your goal is to get rid of all your dice by playing them in the proper locations — but the numbers have to be filled in order from 1 to 6. Once you can’t play any more dice, you pick up all of the unused dice and re-roll them together.
Since there are no turns, everyone can re-roll whenever they don’t have any moves to make — and of course speed is of the essence.
The round ends when one player has used all of their dice. The winner of the round gets one point for each unused die that the opponents have left. All the other players lose one point for each die they still have. You play three rounds for each player in the game, and then check the scores at the end.
Ligretto Dice is quite simple, but it’s fun and addictive. My kids absolutely loved it, and I’ve also brought it out for my gaming group and they’ve enjoyed it as well. It’s not a deep strategy game by any means — the main strategy is in deciding when to re-roll. For instance, if you roll a bunch of 2s but no 1s on your first turn, do you wait to see if somebody else plays a 1 so you can get rid of your dice, or do you just grab them and re-roll, hoping for a 1?
As I mentioned earlier, the yellow dice can be hard to read, so if you end up with a bunch of yellow dice then you may be at a disadvantage. Also, because people are reaching for the same spots on the board it’s easy to have disasters and to disrupt the dice already placed. I thought it would be interesting to make a little compartmentalized tray so that you can just toss the dice into their slots and they wouldn’t get bumped around, but of course that would significantly increase the cost of a simple game.
My kids also had trouble rolling the dice without scattering them all over the floor, so I had them roll in the box and lid, which seemed to work fine. We’ve played it a bunch of times together and it’s one that I enjoy along with the kids — I ended up giving 5 dice to my younger daughter, 7 or 8 to my older daughter, and then taking 12 or so for myself.
I’ve tried the similarly-branded Ligretto card game but found that it really just didn’t work with two players (I’m holding a review until I get a chance to play with three or four players) and it’s tougher handling cards so quickly. With dice, you don’t have to worry about bending and smashing up the cards, and kids have an easier time rolling and grabbing dice than cards.
If you’re looking for a good, light “filler” game that you can break out and play between longer gaming sessions, check out Ligretto Dice. You can teach it in a matter of a couple minutes and get playing right away, and you’ll probably find yourself playing more than once in a row.
Wired: Colorful dice; simple enough for little kids to play; crazy fun.
Tired: Yellow dice are hard to read; easy to crash the board and disturb all the dice.
Disclosure: Playroom Entertainment provided a review copy of this game.