Dragon Dice is one that I saw very briefly at PAX Prime last fall, and have been meaning to try out since then. Dave Borgeson is the local rep (and collector), and I finally got to sit down and try out the game this weekend. Dragon Dice is a collectible dice wargame, something a little like miniatures wargaming but without all the assembly and painting. Instead, each of your troops is a die: some six-sided, some eight-sided, some ten-sided. There are various factions, and you can assemble your own armies based on a total point system, and then go into battle against another player. You’re seeking to gain control of two out of three terrains (also represented by dice), or else wipe out the other team. The dice come in 2-player starter sets like this, or in small randomized booster packs so it really is a collectible game, and Borgeson (and some others) had big organizer boxes full of their various factions. The collectible aspect really isn’t my thing, but I did sit down to play a game and had a fun time. I’m going to try to borrow some dice from Borgeson to try them out a little more and write up a more in-depth review later on.
Another dice-based game I finally got to try was Quarriors. It’s been around for a while now, but it came out right about when I was in the middle of our major move last year, and I never managed to get a copy. In the dealer’s room, The Game Matrix (a game store from Tacoma) had various games to demo, and I was able to join in a game of Quarriors. It’s a “dice-building” game: like deck-building but instead of cards it uses dice. You add dice to your bag, and each turn you draw six and roll them.
Each type of die represents a creature or a spell (or the basic currency one you start with), and there’s a card for each type that shows the six faces and gives that die’s abilities. When you roll your dice, you’ll have some combination of currency, creatures, and other things that will show up. Spend currency to buy new dice or to put your creatures in the Ready area, which allows them to attack other players’ creatures. If your creature survives the round until the beginning of your next turn, you score points.
But just because you bought a die doesn’t mean it’s going to cooperate with you: your super-awesome Dragon might just roll some currency instead, which lets you buy stuff but doesn’t help you score points right away, and now you have to cycle through your dice again. I only played one time, but enjoyed it and I hope I get to play it again sometime.
Dungeon Run reminds me a little of Cutthroat Caverns: it’s a dungeon crawl game where you’re only sort of cooperating with the other players. You go into the dungeon to defeat the boss and retrieve the powerful Summoning Stone. But, of course, you don’t want anybody else to have the Summoning Stone, so once the boss is defeated everyone’s after the player with the Stone. In practice, though, the backstabbing and betrayal starts before the boss is dead, because, hey, I don’t want you getting that really powerful weapon right now, just in case I have to fight you later. It’s clever, and has a modular board that you build as you play. A few balance issues, I think, but one that resulted in a whole lot of laughter and trash talk. I believe Michael Harrison is planning a full review of Dungeon Run later on.
Over the course of the weekend, I also got to play several games I’ve reviewed here before: Sunrise City, Cartoona, Small World, and Thunderstone Advance; plus a couple more I haven’t written about before like Light Speed, Agricola, and Wiz-War. But despite the possibility of 24-hour gaming, I didn’t get nearly through the pile of board games I over-packed for the weekend. Partly it was because, well, I needed to sleep. And some of it was because of all the conversations I got to have with people — really great, geeky conversations about board game mechanics or Star Wars or puzzles. But mostly it was Game Lab’s fault.
Last but not least: Game Lab!