Although I am considering getting a sweet dice tattoo … but I digress.

Hey Gamers! So, if you know one thing about me, it’s that I love roll and write games – remember? So I was pretty excited to check out the 10-game roll and write anthology from Inkwell Games called Dice & Ink Volume 1.

In this preview, I’ll give you just a few first impressions on the four games I looked at. Please keep in mind that I have print-and-play/prototype versions, so not everything is final from the pictures to possibly even some of the rules. But without further ado, let’s check them out!


What Is It?

Dice & Ink Volume 1 is a 6″ x 9″ softcover anthology book of 10 roll and write games by 11 designers. There’s a lot of variety in the games from theme, to mechanics (besides rolling and writing of course), to player count, so it seems that it is aimed to reach a wide range of players.


Who Is It For?

This is clearly aimed at seasoned fans of roll and write games, as they kind of know what to expect and can pick this up to play (or teach!) easily. There’s everything from set collection to area control, co-op to competitive,  solo gaming, and more offerings, so you’re bound to find a game you’ll like no matter your taste, but at the same time, not every game in the book may be for you. Finally, I will mention that if you don’t want to spend a little extra to get the dice included, then I would say this is suited for gamers who have spare dice at home to provide for the needs in each game (most don’t need very many, but some do call for specific colors).


Coral Relief

Disclaimer: I am not an artist…

Designer: Jesse Cantron
Players: 1 to 4
Play Time: 15-25 minutes

In this game players seed and grow different types of coral, get various sea creatures into the reefs, and try to control the starfish infestations! There’s a lot of variety in what actions to take, depending on what’s rolled of course, which leads to meaningful decision making. Warning: You will have to put your artistic skills to the test just a little for this one!

Pros:

  • Similar to Qwixx with the active player rolling but every player using those dice, but the active player gets a bit more power in this one, choosing which die is reserved for infestation
  • Theme is well done/knowledgeable
  • A lot of options because of the player boards and the shared diversity board

Cons:

  • Rules are a bit confusing/vague
  • With all the options available with the different boards, it does make the game feel a bit clunky at times
  • The diversity board seems too wide open with less than 4 players

Islands of Atlantis

Designer: Alexander Shen
Players: 1 to 6
Play Time: 25 minutes

In this one, players are using their rolls to form islands in order to gather influence and relics for points. There’s a lot to consider when forming islands, and players want to choose to score at just the right moments to work towards bonuses and maximize their points.

Pros:

  • Player board is nice – aesthetically appealing and includes scoring box right on it
  • Pictures/examples in rules is very helpful
  • Gameplay is smooth
  • Racing element on influence board is neat
  • Works well solo

Cons:

  • A lot of math (multiplication) involved in scoring, seems almost a bit unnecessary

Kuiper Kowboys

Designer: Robin Gibson
Players: 1 (+)
Play Time: 20 – 30 minutes

In Kuiper Kowboys, a player takes on the role of captain of an exploration ship searching through space for resources to keep their project going. This is designed as a solo game, but can be played with more if you’re willing to pass around the player sheet taking turns!

Pros:

  • Story-telling-esque game, interesting take on a roll and write

Cons:

  • Rules are confusing/unclear; things are loosely or not defined, so it complicated certain elements

PenSylvania

Designer: Nat Levan
Players: 2 to 4
Play Time: 15 to 20 minutes

For the last game in my set, players attempt to manage their resources better than their opponents to take care of their town, sell goods, and score the most points. 4 different season boards make this very unique indeed!

Pros:

  • I really like the 4 varied board; it reminds me of Welcome To, but I don’t have to go and seek out new boards, I just have them!

Cons:

  • The rules are in a weird order, describing end game way before most elements of the gameplay, which confused me

Final Thoughts

While I saw some interesting concepts and twists in the games, and liked some games better than others, overall from what I looked at it just doesn’t feel ready to me. Some of the rules were missing parts or had things that weren’t clearly defined, which really made it not as exciting as it could have been; some of the games felt clunkier than I tend to like roll and writes as well. For that, I didn’t know if I could recommend this, myself.

Luckily, Inkwell Games recently addressed this themselves on their blog that the game wasn’t being showcased quite right, so they are working on getting a proper prototype together. I hope that when they do launch we’ll have a more solid product  to take a look at! So check out the campaign once it’s ready to go if you dig roll and writes and decide for yourself – you may very well find yourself a gem!

Happy Gaming~

Additional Information:
Inkwell Games Twitter
Kickstarter Preview

*I was provided prototype copies of these games to do this review*

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