Cosmo duck roll & write collection (2019)First Impressions
This project is scheduled to run from October 21 to November 1 2019 only onUlule (a french version of Kickstarter)
Today's review is a bit special. We are not going to dig into one game like every time, but we will explore four! Yes, I said four! Hold on tight.
Originally, I wanted to create four different reviews, each returning to one of the games and creating a kind of countdown that would lead to the beginning of the campaign. But technical problems and a timing problem allowed other reviewers to do it. So, to avoid repetition, I’m putting all this in one go, there, Bahm! Get ready there is text. But ... what am I talking about?
Phil Vizcarro, whom I have already mentioned to you in the review ofDany, has partnered with Alexis Anne to create a concept, I’m not afraid to say, quite innovative. By this meeting, this is also two publishing houses working hand in hand: Phil representsCosmo Duck and Alexis is the worthy representative ofAurora Games. Me, I like stories that start well. These two people have joined forces to offer a new fun experience: " One year of Roll & Write ". This project is scheduled to run from October 21 to November 1, 2019 only onUlule.
" One year of Roll & Write " is as its name suggests, the ability to enjoy for one year a Roll & Write being sent directly to you. One per month, 12 games (with potentially surprises including a bonus game on the first shipment) in all. You will receive the necessary equipment to play at the first delivery and each month you will be entitled to your pad of papers with your new game. I cannot hide it, the sounds great.
or those who do not know, the Roll & Write is a very popular style of games. In France, it would be like "Roll the dice and write the result" (yes it's less glamorous but it immediately puts in the mood). Basically, what characterizes this type of game is most often: a score sheet, dice, things to write or draw, an obligation to note. However, there are many variants.
This style of games is becoming more and more fashionable and we see this system blooming everywhere. One could easily say that the Yahtzee is the most famous representative of this style. But, this system, a priori basic, is in perpetual transformation. Some of the best known include:Roll Through the Ages,Rolling Japan,Very smart,Metro X, the recentOn Tour... It is clear that this is a mechanism that is both simple and interesting as it is easily adaptable. Some even chose to remove the dice, which participated in the charm of the whole thing, to replace them with cards as withWelcome To ... andCartographers: A Roll Player Tale. We can easily say that to try an adventure like this, to offer 12 Roll & Write for a year is a difficult thing, especially now that this style of game is so competitive.
In order to make their idea known and because facts speak better than promises, the two co-creators decided to launch a discovery campaign. Some were fortunate to receive a panel of four of the games, with a few pages of each to better see the beast. I was lucky to be part of this selection, so I'm going to take you on a little tour of the thing.
Designer : Phil Vizcarro Artist :Amine Mohamed Rahmani
2+ players 15-20 minutes Ages 10+ Language dependent: no
Written by Guilou
Diggers! is a little game that immerses you in the heart of the Wild West. Here, no cowboy or indians. You are an outlaw and you have just come across a mine with great potential in terms of wealth. Unfortunately, during an attempt to make small holes with dynamite, it creates a huge explosion and you end up deep in a pit. Fortunately, the light of day is still visible, but for how long?
The goal of the game is to get back to the surface as quickly as possible while collecting the most jewels on your path.
First and foremost, each player must have their own game sheet. You will then blacken three boxes on your sheet, then pass it to your neighbor on the left. You redo this operation and again pass to the left. Continuing until twelve boxes are blackened.
Warning: the boxes must not touch each other and they can not be the entry and exit boxes. The blackened boxes then become impassable areas.
Once done, you’ll mix up these sheets and redistribute them to each player. Here we go.
Each box has one or more numbers on it. All players start on the "Start" box. The active player rolls the four dice and each player chooses one of the four results to move. You can very well choose the same. You move by drawing a line from where you are yo where you want to go. You can very well go back, but impossible to return to the box "Start" or to cross into a black space.
If you can not do anything? Well, that's not good luck. But do not panic, take a deep breath. Oops, did not I tell you? The air becomes less accessible ... When you can not move, you must check off one of your Air boxes. At the sixth, if you are still not out, you suffocate. End of the game for you. And when a player is dead, they can not claim victory points.
When you pass over a jewel, it is validated. But it will only count once, even if you traverse the box a second time. As soon as a player is out, they win the bonus associated with their position. In addition, for each player who escapes, a die is removed from the pool.
The survivor with the most points wins the game.
The idea of personalizing your mine with the boxes blacken is a nice touch. Unfortunately, you’ll quickly realize that the variation is quite limited and that after several different choices, the configurations will be similar. But this does not diminish our pleasure, it brings a little replayability.
Of the four I received, Diggers! is perhaps the simplest. It is a race to the exit but with a small dose of risk-taking “stop or go” that is not uninteresting. The lure of gaining gems is sometimes more interesting than trying to escape first. But the risk will also growing.
That can be frustrating and at the same time enjoyable, to find oneself going back and forth gently waiting for death or on the contrary wealth, at the sight of this brilliant stone that is nearby ... so close ... yes. ..
Diggers! is a nice surprise. Finally, quite classic, everything is very clear and allows everyone to have fun without making things too complicated.
Players who absolutely try to finish first without collecting gems, not only will miss the point of the game, but also find too simple and uninteresting.
Dice Quest: Tower of Illusion
Designer : Phil Vizcarro, Matthieu Delord Artist :Amine Mohamed Rahmani, Phil Vizcarro
1+ players 15-20 minutes per level Ages 10+ Language dependent: no
Written by Guilou
Yes, of course you have all recognized the tribute or inspiration of this game. No need to discuss it for hours. Anyway, the whole game is based on it and the theme is ... amazingly well done.
Dice Quest: Tower of Illusion puts you in the shoes of an adventurer. At the beginning of the game, you will all choose by mutual agreement the number of levels you want. The number of levels is the number of floors this tower has. Each floor will correspond to a sheet and each sheet to a dungeon floor (it's well done eh!). The more level you choose, the longer the game is, and vice versa. At the end of each level of the dungeon, your group goes up one floor and you’ll redo a game while keeping your statistics and especially your gold.
Once the duration of the game is chosen, you do a little character creation. Yes, you read that right. We will create a character in a Roll & Write. The idea is very simple. You will first choose your race, at the count of four: human, orc, elf and dwarf.
Once done, you will roll four dice. These results will match your stats: health, speed, strength and intelligence. Each player must place the number of the chosen die in the box. Be careful to take into account the bonuses and penalties related to your race before writing the number.
Now, move on to the creation of the dungeon. Your dungeon is separated into four squares of color. Each colored square corresponds to a part of the floor. The principle is simple. Each player rolls one die. According to the diagrams available, you’ll draw the corresponding area. Each player is in the same dungeon but not in the same reality. This small nuance allows everyone to have their own dungeon. Then, turn the sheet 90 ° and start again, four times. You then have a beautiful dungeon with walls, paths and chests.
But what would a dungeon be without monsters? Each level starts with 4 + L (level value) of monsters. Each dungeon starts with the same monsters. You’ll throw a white dice and a red dice. These values define where the monster will appear. If the box is empty, indicate the monster (an M or a nice drawing as you want), if there is already something, the monster does not appear to be home. Once all the monsters are in play, it’s time to play.
On your turn, you have the choice between several actions.
You can choose to move. For that, according to your speed value, you will draw a line of your path of movement. Of course you can not cross the walls. If a chest is on route, you can choose to stop there. If you cross a living monster, it blocks you and you must stop there.
To open a chest, you will throw two red dice and a white dice. You will add your intelligence to the white dice. If this value is higher than the other two dice, bravo you pick up as much gold as the highest red value. If it's lower, you've failed. Pity. You can then try again, except if the two red dice are identical. In this case, the chest explodes and you lose a life point. What luck …!
Faced with a monster, three choices are available to you.
You can choose to fight. You roll two red dice and a white dice. You add your strength to your white dice. If successful, the monster is dead (it disappears for all players!) And you can tick a cross in the XP box. In case of failure, the monster stays on the spot and inflicts you a point of damage. You will be able to retry your luck the next turn.
The second choice ... is the flight. You roll your three dice, add your speed value to the white. If successful, you can continue to move (be careful the monster is not dead). In case of failure, the monster stops you by hitting you. A point of damage is received and it will retry your luck.
In the worst case, you can also choose to corrupt it. You can corrupt up to five monsters per floor. Each corrupt monster will let you continue your movement ... in exchange for three gold coins. You will need to check a corresponding box for each corruption. Just to say it right away, it's a shame!
At the end of each turn (as soon as everyone has played), dice are rolled to see if there is the appearance of a new monster. The round ends once you exit that floor. The game ends once the desired number of levels have been played. The hero with the most gold wins the game.
But beware, any death is final. You will have to make a new hero with no equipment. When you're dead ...
Finally, between each floor, you can shop in the Grand Bazaar.
Dice Quest is clearly Roll & Write the most surprising of the four. Everything perspires of theme and, at the same time, it is still a racing game. First to kill monsters, first to plunder the most treasure, first to go out, do not die first.
Finally, we find the appearance of the traditional Roll & Write, through the addition of monsters. Moreover, it is in this well realized mechanism that your nerves will be put under pressure. Continue to search at the risk of being overtaken by their numbers or running towards freedom by abandoning all these potential wonders?
The authors managed to make the taste and sensations of a small dungeon crawl with only a sheet of paper and dice. We did find many things that are a homage toHeroQuest, to name just a few games. The game is fluid, the creation of the levels is fun, the movement changes and the concept of risk-taking, "take the money or run" to ensure the thing is really well put together. On the other hand, running with 1 point of movement is a real ordeal! What an idea to equip lead boots.
The addition of the opportunity to equip yourselves better, not spending our precious gold adds to the theme. Dice Quest is a really surprised and we replay it with great pleasure.
It's always nice to see others constantly strive to try to open a chest when you get there the first time. And conversely, when your lamentable failure to take out a small Orc, others will not delay to remind you about it.
One of the flaws however is the number of sheets required to play. Indeed, unlike the other games where a sheet is enough for a game, here, depending on the number of level chosen, you will need much more. It might be wise to think about it when sending this game of the month ...
Get out, Duglang!
Designer : Amine Mohamed Rahmani, Phil Vizcarro Artist : Amine Mohamed Rahmani, Phil Vizcarro
1+ players 20 minutes Ages 10+ Language dependent: no
Written by Guilou
Do you remember Game & Watch? It was electronic games LCD that was all the rage in the 80s. There was something for everyone and for all budgets (the most famous being those of Nintendo). Get out, Dugland! take again the imagery and the mechanisms of these games.
Dugland is a good guy who comes home after a drunken evening. Without anyone knowing how, the poor man finds himself scantily dressed and strangely locked out of his house. His wife is at the window and begins to throw all his belongings out. Your mission, if you agree, is to help poor Dugland recover as many of his possessions as possible and get the most points. The game system is directly inspired by Game & Watch.
You have four dice available: two white and two red.
After rolling them, you will have to place them. The two white dice will be used to select the row and column where the object will arrive. The two red dice allow you to choose the type of clothing and the space where Dugland will try to catch these things.
Once the dice are chosen, you will draw the object concerned in the selected box. Each box is divided into four mini-boxes. An object occupies a single mini-box.
You then check if Dugland collects something. He can only retrieve objects if he is in the right column of line 6 and there are objects present. Depending on this space, he can recover several items at once. At the beginning of each turn, he returns to the left of the page. When you arrive to retrieve an object, you circle it to indicate that it is saved.
After this phase, Bernard is his first name, definitely has no luck. Indeed, the wind comes to mix things up. The objects will then move on your page according to their own rules. As soon as an object falls out of the screen (no matter if its top, bottom, left or right), you must cross off a box in the lost object table. Lose twelve and the game ends.
At this point, you calculate the points of each according to what we have recovered and if Dugland managed to make bonus points with the combos. (The game can also end if there are no more boxes available on line 6).
Thematically or rather mechanically, the game fits perfectly in the spirit of Game & Watch. We really feel like we’ve traveled back many years to get annoyed at our little screen in the face of our inability to catch up or save the most people or ... The authors have managed to capture and revive this style of game.
Unfortunately, in terms of a board game, this iteration passes less well. The game is unnecessarily complicated. The management of the movements of the objects or the choice of the dice lacks fluidity for this type of games.
Without being complex, the game is sometimes heavy but especially very risky. Next, the whereabouts of the objects and what they are when they appear, it can often be impossible to do anything before it disappears. You are more likely to wait for them to arrive on line 6 and pray that the dice delivers the right number, rather than really to act.
The idea is not bad, far from it. But the game does not take. Instead of having fun, we are little confused, to think not about the way we play but whether we did everything to play. This is clearly for me, the one less convinced out of the four. And it's a shame, because the sensations are really there compared to its video-play model.
Designer :Phil Vizcarro Artist : Phil Vizcarro
1+ players 15 minutes Ages 10+ Language dependent: no
Written by Guilou
Comrade! The Kremlin needs a new architecture. Our leaders want higher, more beautiful towers. This is your honor! Be proud ... but above all, be effective!
It is often said that you have to keep the best for last. So here is my little darling.
Kremlin Konstrukt is a game inspired by the game Tetris. Who does not know this game? Look, even beyond the wall we know how it works!
The principle is simple. You take four dice: two red and two white and throw them. The Active Comrade then chooses one die of each color and the other players will have to do with the other two. Each die symbolizes a predefined Tetris shape. You will need to insert each shape on your diagram. Of course, you will have to follow Tetris rules to the letter.
You can indeed turn the shape in the direction you want, while respecting its original shape. The pieces can not remain alone in the void, but when they touch another piece they are stuck. You can not go through another, but you can make them "slip" if that's possible.
The goal of the game is to make complete lines. The bigger you make (up to four lines at a time), the more points you will earn. Each time a line is closed, you check a location on the scale according to its size. If you reach certain areas, you will also have bonus points.
It's that simple. A real Tetris, pure and hard. The game ends for a player as soon as one of their pieces goes beyond their page. Others can continue to play until the same thing happens to them.
A specific solo version exists. In this version, you only play with two dice. You can also place a die on the “Hold” box of your sheet. It's a way of "saving" a die and being able to reuse it later. But in the meantime, you will only play with one die.
Of the four, this is clearly my favorite. Simple, fun, fluid, fast, clever ...
The game offers us the joys of a Tetris in the form of a game of die. We found all the subtleties (apart from the augmenting speed) and the cunning of this mechanism.
Young and old can understand the game quickly and all rapidly take pleasure.
The difficulty comes from the choice made by your opponent and there, we can try to trap the other in this way while trying to save yourself. The satisfaction of linking the four lines while the others accumulate holes is second to none (and also denotes that Tetris is like cycling, it is not forgotten).
To be honest with you when this idea came up, I was not particularly excited. Perhaps because of the profusion of games of this type lately. Now, my point of view has changed.
Even though I like Roll & Write, there is really something to eat and drink in this style of play. Few are really good to play.
After trying these four demo versions, I must say that I am very pleasantly surprised. Beyond the games themselves, I take my hat off to Phil and his team. Until now, they have been able to offer game experiences that are very different from one copy to another. We have the same game materials but the sensations are totally different. This tell us good for tits future, and we hope that the trend will continue.
It is planned to send 50 sheets for each game. For some, it seems a lot, for others like Dice Quest it can quickly be too little.
In any case, congratulations to both editors for this risk. The four games tried, as you can see, are really nice and pleasant (even if they are not all at the same level). We feel that the passion of the 80s and thematic respect guided the authors. And that, I can only applaud with both hands.
A year of Roll & Write is a fun experience, which if it continues on its way, is likely to make a lot of people talk and want to be part of continuity. Casually, it's gone. The joy of surprise every month, and the pleasure of trying it make you want to abandon yourself. Whether alone or with others, the Roll & Write is always something pleasant. Especially since it is easily transportable (why not a little box as a gift?) And playable everywhere.
Remember, this is happening on Ulule and it's from October 21st to November 1st. In addition, the price announced is far from exorbitant. To watch very closely. If you are a fan of this type of games, it would be a shame to miss out. Nothing but the experience of seeing totally different games with the same material every month at home. In any case, I would not fail to check it out.