A long time ago, I wrote an article about beer and homebrewing. And if you’ve watched the Malts and Meeples videos, you’ll see me enjoying a good beer, though, none that I’ve homebrewed recently. Homebrewing is one of those hobbies that got set to the…
Tag: Engine Building
From the deepest depth of the earth, you can hear the clang of the hammers as the players in this game forge their own dice to get more energy and more points. Dice Forge is a pretty fast dice game where your dice change throughout the game, in something that I haven’t really seen before. Can you get the right cards and faces of the dice so that you will be able to score the most points?
As I said, Dice Forge is a dice crafting game. At the start of the game each player has two dice with removable sides. The two dice are different, one with more of one crystal type and the other one with the other. And then a lot of gold. You use the crystals to buy cards that give you various actions that you can do or they give you points. The coins are used, and this is the most exciting part of the game, for buying sides of dice. The dice, you can pop a face off and put a new face on that gives you more money, points, or crystals. You play through a certain number of rounds and then the person with the most points from cards and scoring points during the game is the winner.
There most important thing to talk about is the dice. This seems like it could have been a gimmick that might not have worked that well, but it actually works really well. The dice are engineered extremely well, and you actually have to snap the face of the dice out and snap a new one in, and in several plays and plays of copies that have had more than a few plays, the dice are holding up well. Now, the tray for storing the dice sides that you’re going to put on, I think that it’s an interesting idea, but the sides are just sitting in there, and I don’t think that works as well that well, because a jostles can knock them loose, and moving the box can certainly mess that up even more. But the dice themselves are awesome, and making the best dice you possibly can is where the fun really comes in.
One of the mechanical things that I really like about the game is that you aren’t just rolling the dice on your turn. You roll the dice every turn, however, you can only spend what you’ve collected on your turn. So you have tracks where you are keeping track of how much gold you have as well as the crystals and points. So when you roll, you’re tracking it there, this should help give players something to do when it isn’t your turn, and because you’re only getting a roll of the dice when it is your turn, you should be able to start planning some. Now, that changes with two players, but in a multiplayer game, when you’re rolling on the turn previous to yours, you should have a plan already somewhat in place.
Let’s talk a bit about the card piece. I think that the cards work fine in this game. They are mainly going to give you points or the ability to manipulate what you have. This game has a fantasy theme on it and it’s mainly on the cards. However, that theme doesn’t really come through. I like that there is a theme, because there really isn’t any reason to have one, other than to make the game more aesthetically pleasing. The cards, however, they feel lackluster compared to the dice and changing the dice face. They are basically just another way to spend resources. I wish that it was more about the interesting dice side changing part of the game, but I understand that it would cost a whole lot more to change the cards into something more or to make more faces to add to the dice or even more of the dice.
Now, I called this a fast game, and it is. It says 45 minutes, in a two player game, it should take less time than that, but I played a four player game, and it took longer. I know some of that was the players I was playing with as two of them can have some to all the analysis paralysis on their turns. But I do think that a teaching game with four people is going to take longer than the 45 minutes, even though the game isn’t that difficult. Dice Forge, I think, is a good length and a good way to introduce engine building and resource management to new gamers. The tactile nature of the dice faces is really nice in the game and it’s going to draw people in to want to check out the game. And then, they did a good job with a simple game that will work well for lots of levels of gamers.
Overall, I like Dice Forge. I think that it does something really new and unique. I think that the game has good turn decision making, it doesn’t have long term planning because you don’t know what resources you’ll roll, but that helps keep the game something that is easier to introduce new gamers to. Dice Forge isn’t on my shelf, but that’s because I know people who have it, otherwise it probably would be for the ease of play and dice forging which is just a lot of fun.
Overall Grade: B
Gamer Grade: B-
Casual Grade: A-
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There are some games where the look makes a difference as to how interested you are in the game, and Century: Golem Edition is one of those for me. When I saw Century: Spice Road, I thought it looked like a fairly boring cube pushing game, but when the Golem Edition, the artwork and the games made the game look way more interesting to me. Now, they are the same game from what I know, but I still haven’t played Spice Road because I have Golem Edition and you don’t need both of them.
Century: Golem Edition is an engine building, hand management game where you are trying to convert games into different types to get the right combination to get golems. To do that, you have to collect gems, upgrade gems, and get cards. With the cards, they let you get more gems or upgrade/change the type of gems in different ways than your base cards do. So you are trying to build up a combination that helps you get gems faster, but also gems that are going to allow you to get the golems. Every card you get is added to your hand, and you play down cards and only return them to your hand when you decide that you want to. Eventually you’ll need to, though, because you’ll want to get the cards of the engine back into your hand so that you can get it working again.
Century: Golem Edition is a really slick engine building game. With cute artwork and a cute theme, you expect the game to not offer that much strategy, but there is a good amount of strategy there if you want to find it. The cards, and how valuable the card is to you really determines what you might want to do. The engine building, too, never becomes too much, because while you are building up an engine you are only playing a single card a turn. That means that you are either getting more gems or changing out gems, depending on the card. Then the next turn you play the next step to the engine. If you were playing all the cards at once, turns would last a long time, but instead, the turns fly by because you are only firing off part of your engine each time. That really makes it as an accessible engine building game and a good introductory engine building game. It would be easy for there to be too many things to keep track of otherwise.
The components also really sell this game on the table. The gems are amazing looking and just fun to play around with. And their holding bins work really well and are another nice aesthetic piece, but it’s also highly functional. Then there are metal coins that just add a little bit to the potential scoring of the golems and make getting some of the passed over golems more valuable. There is no reason that the coins need to be metal, you could have just put in a +1 and a +2 cardboard chips, but the metal coins feel amazing and look great. Century: Golem Edition really goes above and beyond the expected quality of a game with nice large cards, a great insert, an the other things that I’ve mentioned above. The game pops on the table and people are drawn to the game to see what is going on.
Finally, Century: Golem Edition is a very good introductory game while still not being a game that more “serious” gamers are going to find boring. The engine building piece is interesting and offers different choices each game, the random golems mean that you have to vary your strategy, so it helps keep the playing field a bit more balanced. Plus, there is the determination of when you bring cards back to your hand, because that is your turn. If you do it at the wrong time, someone might beat you to a golem that you’ve been angling for. This isn’t going to be game that more “serious” gamers are going to always want to play to fill that strategy itch, and the game isn’t one that has a ton of strategy, but they aren’t likely to be bored with it either.
Overall, I enjoy this game a lot. I think that it works well for a mixed crowd of players and I love the speed that game plays at. If you are looking for an engine building game to teach the concept and strategy of engine building, Century: Golem Edition stands out in that field. You can definitely use Century: Spice Road, but if you are playing with very casual gamers, Golem Edition is going to draw them in a whole lot more. I definitely recommend this game to people to help fill out that introductory game collection for when new gamers are around.
Overall Grade: A
Gamer Grade: C
Casual Grade: A+
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