When you’ve played enough games – and trust me, I’ve played my fair share – you start to get drawn to similar types of games, and start to really find which ones you love the most. I know that I’ve been drawn into certain themes a lot as well as games from certain publishers or designers. But the biggest thing that can really draw me to a game is its’ mechanics. I love a lot of different mechanics, from worker placement to deck builders, but by far my favorite is a good ol’ roll-and-write! I want to do a little combo post to talk about this type of game and list a few of my favorites!
What Are They?
In case you aren’t familiar with them, roll-and-writes are games where you roll dice (YAY!!) and somehow use their value(s) to write something on your player sheet. You might be filling in numbers, using the dice values to gather resources, using them to make paths, or something else entirely. A pretty simple mechanic, it’s able to go in a lot of directions because the dice faces can be just about anything, and, thus, it can fit with a variety of themes, lending to a lot of awesome games.
Who Are They For?
We’re gonna keep this one short and sweet. The answer here is *ahem* everyone! There are so many roll-and-write games with different themes and that play so differently that there’s likely one for everyone out there. (I can’t speak for you all of course, but they are certainly worth trying if you haven’t!)
Why I Like Them
There’s just something about them that gels with me; I’ve never played a roll-and-write I didn’t like! I love the uncertainty that comes with dice games, and I just like how it pairs with filling in player sheets to accomplish a goal, be it gaining points, gathering resources, or just needing to fill in spaces. There’s something satisfying in the combination of simplicity and strategy rolled into one (pun slightly intended).
5. Rolling America
This one gets me every time, because I always go into it thinking it’s a pretty simple one, and then our scores are always around 10, so not super high. It starts off easy enough and you have a bunch of options for placing at first, but you’re more and more limited as you go so it makes your bonus actions very valuable. You never really know what you’re gonna get, since this one is more about the luck than the strategy, but it’s definitely a lot of fun!
4. Railroad Ink
Remember when I said that dice faces can be anything? I wasn’t kidding! Railroad Ink has railroad tracks on the dice and you’re trying to create paths to connect as many exits as possible on your private player board. There are two different versions of this one and each also comes with expansion dice for a variety of ways to play. You can’t see what other players are doing until the end, so it’s a lot of fun to try and plan the best you can and then reveal to see how differently people played!
One of the first roll-and-writes I ever played (besides Yahtzee), Qwixx remains a huge favorite of mine. Very simple in how it plays, with not much on the player boards, there’s still some deep strategy in knowing when is the right time to fill in the boxes so you don’t regret it later! Plus, this one is basic enough to teach newbies, which I love, but it’s advanced board in the deluxe version keeps things interesting for seasoned players.
2. Tag City
I love the direction that Tag City takes this mechanic. Instead of using the dice values to fill in spots on player sheets directly, the dice tell players which shapes they can take to draw graffiti on their player boards. A really fun theme that allows for a vibrant board and a fun take on the genre, this one is worth tracking down in order to play.
1. Fleet: The Dice Game
It’s not a theme that I’d usually be attracted to, fishing, but there’s just something about it that keeps bringing me back. The dice are used to collect resources – different types of fish/sea creatures – as well as abilities and money in order to end up with the most points. Sometimes you’re able to choose between a few different boxes to check, and if you play your cards right, you can get a great combo with some bonus actions to really rack up the points. I love the feeling of getting on a streak of bonuses or setting yourself up for a great round of fishing, and that satisfaction keeps this at my #1 roll-and-write!
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