Often the biggest obstacle to board gaming fun is getting a group to learn a new game in the first place. As such, games that are based on well-worn classics often find a much easier route to the table – and even more so if both classics and derivatives are quick to learn and play. The perennial classic Yahtzee was ignored for years in this regard, but it now gives rise to a whole genre of more strategic and catchy titles known as “roll and write” games. Roll the dice, hope for the best and when they land, use the results to create a pattern of scores on your scoresheet.
Modern versions have taken this formula to the max and have sheets that range from building maps to tracking pinballs around the table, to mimic a fast-paced martial arts fight. With a wide variety of themes and depth to choose from, and most of them cheap, easy to learn, and single board games to play, there’s never been a better time to join the roll and write craze.
The fashion for roll and right originated with a German game called Ganz Shawn Cleaver, which translates as That’s Pretty Cleaver. It had a scoresheet like Yahtzee where you crossed out various dice combinations to increase the points but there were two smart innovations. At first, the dice were colored, adding a new dimension to scoring. Second, you can reroll the dice three times as in Yahtzee but then you choose a dice to score and on your second and third rolls you lose any dice of lesser value from the pool, adding strategy to the pick . It was a smash hit and spawned two sequels, the more complicated doppelt so cleaver (Twice as Clever) and our choice, the clever Hoch Drei (Clever Times Three or Clever Cubed), adding some fun new concepts to the rules. was dialed back to challenge the players.
Super Skill Pinball: Ramp It Up
Most roll and write games don’t do much in the way of adding a theme, but Super Skill Pinball mimics a pinball table with nothing more than a pen and a few dice. You choose one of four supplied tables to play, enter at the top, and then drop down, choosing different bumpers and targets to hit depending on your roll. It’s the same deal when it falls to flippers but the kicker is that you can’t re-use the box twice, so your ball will eventually run out of target and fall. It’s up to you to use your table’s unique combos and special play rules to maximize your score, creating a puzzle that’s engaging and thrilling in equal measure. a. Many sets are available including star trek,the themed oneBut Ramp It Up is the pick of the bunch and includes a co-op table.
You are welcome
Welcome To is not strictly a roll and write game: it belongs to a closely related genre called Flip and Write, which replaces dice with cards. It gives you a lot more options to work with. Here, they are put at the service of town planning as you choose pairs of house numbers and building effect cards to create three suburban streets. It’s a tricky question as you have to get the houses in number order, balancing your score in various bonuses like pool, park and racing, being the first to complete the city plans that require specific layouts. It’s very satisfying when you pull it off and has a surprising amount of strategy, but gamers who want even more can opt for its more complex sci-fi cousin welcome to the moon,
Railroad Inc.: Deep Blue Edition
Instead of filling out a score sheet, Railroad Inc. asks you to build a transportation network on a grid based on the tracks and junctions thrown by your custom dice. You are rewarded by connecting as many exits as possible to the same network which increasingly becomes a difficult task as you balance the need to do less with the desire to leave things open in hopes of adding things later. We do. The combination of risk versus reward gameplay with spatial thinking makes this roll and write quite unusual, but there are different versions To add to the variety. Deep Blue, which allows you to add rivers and lakes to your map along with possible ferry routes, is the pick of the bunch but you can go with Volcano blazing redin the forests green or in the desert bright yellow,
Next station: London
Another train-based game but this time a flip and write, Next Station: London offers a novel twist making pencil colors an important part of the game. Each color connects to a starting station on the player’s map, where you begin to build your network based on the station symbol of the card drawn. You can extend in either direction and even branch your line as you try to cross more and more districts, taking in tourist spots, connecting other lines and Crossing the river on the way. But be careful because you can’t cross lines except at stations, which means a huge, high-scoring first turn could box into your expansion for subsequent lines. Then all players exchange pencils and start anew. It’s a simple concept that reveals surprising nuances on repetitive plays, giving it an edge of additive puzzles resulting in fun multicolored maps.
Dinosaur Island: Raver n Wright
Part of the appeal of Roll and Wright games is their speed and simplicity, but Ror ‘n Wright was the first of a new breed in the genre that uses the concept as a springboard for greater complexity and depth. Dice Roll gives players a choice of resources like money and DNA that they need to build their own Jurassic World style dinosaur theme park. You’ll need to sketch out your park with both attractions and concessions on a mini-grid, as well as take care of staff, special buildings, and security. Then, at the end of each of the three turns, you drive an actual tour route through your facility to score points, while hoping that no one gets eaten. With so many different aspects to juggle, planning your park is a rich, mind-burning challenge, while running tours bring the numbers to life with a thematic kick. Read our Dinosaur Island: Ravers ‘n Write review for more details.
Games in this style often play well with large groups because there is a central roll or flip and everyone tries to make the best use of the results. This means a lack of player interaction, which the cartographers came up with to challenge. It’s a flip and right where the idea is to use cards to map out the terrain of a fantasy kingdom, while trying to complete some variable scoring challenges. The fun twist is that each time there’s a monster card, at which point you give your map to your neighbor and they have to figure out the most annoying place in your kingdom to attract negative monster symbols. Not only does it make the cartographer feel more personal, but the maps you’re left with at the end have a fascinating sense of world-building about them, which adds to some theme. The second part, cartographer: heroAdded more dynamic monsters and new hero cards to ride and protect your kingdom from their exploits.
Long Shot: The Dice Game
The horse racing game Long Shot was fine, but this derivation proved to be a smash hit with players in the roll and right. Unusually for the style, the track has an actual board around which the horses run, based on a dice roll, but some horses are more likely to move forward than others. Your task is to watch the race unfold and bet wisely on the odds as the action comes to a head. However, you can also use your cash to buy horses to gain access to a special power and a hefty bonus, as well as a variety of options to clear the odds in favor of your chosen horse. can. Since everyone is free to bet on any horse, as the race progresses, it creates a tempting trap of dependence among players, as the horses you back may pay better than your opponents. With dialogue, excitement, and a big dose of theme, Long Shot: The Dice Game satisfies in areas that other rolls and writes can’t.
Vengeance: Roll and Fight
Most games in this style fit into a fixed, relatively constant, pattern of placing a random seed, which they mark on their sheet to offer all players a choice. In an attempt to recreate the hectic pace of a martial arts film, Vengeance: Roll and Fight turns these expectations upside down. It’s a frantic real-time game where players take action for their turn by trying to catch dice and roll combos faster than other players. Once the pool of dice is emptied you can use your actions to forge a path through a warehouse full of goons, move on, fight and smash your way to a showdown with the boss Huh. With changeable characters, each with a unique roster of abilities and items, as well as tons of maps to work with, fast play time and variety means you can keep rolling and fighting over and over again in short hours .
It is common for roll and write games to reward players who achieve a particular combination of rolls or scores, but the Three Sisters takes this concept to the extreme. Your score sheet here is a garden in which you grow a variety of crops and flowers and buy different equipment based on the results of the dice roll, providing a set of actions. However, when you complete certain tasks the reward is often a bonus action that you can, in turn, use to get another bonus action and so on. In fact, the action chaining gets so intense that the score sheet has a special place to record and rub in your bonuses as you earn and use them during a turn. Making full use of these series requires more strategic planning than most games in this genre offer, making it a tactical treat. See our Three Sisters board game review for more details.
Fleet: The Dice Game
This is another combo-tastic game that tries to trap players more with a plethora of interconnected options. As a fishing fleet owner, you will need to decide whether to use the dice to purchase a license for the type of seafood pictured or launch a boat to catch it. The more you go under each tree, the bigger the prize. The boats will later return to port where you can sell your catch and build buildings that provide additional leverage over the 10 rounds of the game. It’s all about using the dice as random seeds and working out the best set of mutual benefits you can get from each tree of possible choices. Fast, fun, and with the thematic set of mock mothers of Peel Dice, Fleet: The Dice Game is far less dangerous and far less smelly than actual high-sea fishing.
King of the Ganges: The Dice Charmers
Those of you keen gamers may have noticed that a lot of the role-and-write games are stripped-down transformations of larger, more complex fare that often outweighs the original. So it is with Kings of the Ganges: The Dice Charmers which turns the experience of ruling a province in 16th-century India into a faster, more accessible box. You use the symbols rolled on its light-colored dice to make goods and roads, cross the Ganges, or call favors for influential subjects. These tick-off boxes on your scoresheet and maps that you cross over at various points for added bonuses bring a fascinating spatial element to your kingdom building. The game also comes with a 3D cardboard elephant.
For more ideas, be sure to check out our list of the best board games of all time.