Change the faces of your dice to please the Gods and become a Hero
Your chance to become a Demigod by winning a great tournament put on by the Gods! Well, you won’t actually, but it is only a board game so what do you expect? You must leave the mortal world and prepare to prove your worth through the performing of heroic feats. You’ll be aided by dice, to which you must forge new faces to give more bountiful rewards if you are to be the winner.
In Dice Forge, players must improve their odds by forging new faces to their individual dice, before using their resources to purchase cards and abilities which will grant you more and more points. The better the dice, the more resources you earn, the more points you will get.
It’s a fantastic concept, exceptionally well executed. An absolute delight to play, and here’s why.
How the game works
The game is played over a series of rounds, which consists of each player taking a turn either forging their dice or performing a heroic feat (or both if they can afford it).
At the start of each players’ turn, everyone rolls their own two dice, whose faces reward gold, moon shards, sun shards or victory points. These rewards are all very small to begin with (the gold faces reward one gold, for example), but soon you’ll be able to forge new faces to them to improve your earnings. The player whose turn it is either spends their earned gold to purchase new dice faces, or pay moon and/or sun shards to perform a heroic feat.
If you forge dice faces (on your first few turns you’ll definitely be doing a lot of this!), you purchase as many as you can afford from the display and add them to either of your dice, replacing a previous side by clicking them out of place. Mostly you’ll want to get rid of your 1xGold faces! You can add extra moon/sun shard faces, higher value gold faces, higher value victory point faces, or faces that give you a combination of resources. You might find that by the end you don’t have any of your original dice faces left!
If you perform heroic feats, you must spend the required moon and/or sun shards and take the card you would like to buy. Some cards offer purely victory points, others give you ongoing benefits such as an additional roll of your dice on your turn or an increase on your resource capacity, whilst others give a one-off benefit of extra resources. This part of the game is where you’ll win or lose as there’s some huge points to be won out here. My favourite spot is 5 moon shards, which allows you to buy a x3 face to your dice, which as you could probably guess multiplies the result of your other dice by 3.
The feat cards you can buy go up in cost (from 1-6 moon shards, from 1-6 sun shards, and 1 which costs 5 sun + 5 moon), and can vary from game to game offering greater replayability and complexity if you wish.
If you have 2 sun shards leftover after your first action, you may pay these to perform a second action. The more times you can do this throughout the game the more likely you are to win, as the rounds can fly by and you’ll want to make the most of your turns!
After the rounds have finished (9 rounds in a two or four player game, 10 rounds in a three player game), everyone counts up the points on their heroic feat cards and the points already on their player board and a winner is declared!
We bought Dice Forge because we loved the concept of being able to upgrade your dice, it seemed so original and fresh and that mechanic has been so well implemented here it’s hard to fault.
The dice faces are easy to put in and take out, yet are perfectly snug and never fall out when you don’t want them to, it’s very well made. And although the dice are a little chunkier than most, they’re very satisfying to roll. It’s so much fun weighing up which faces you will forge and reaping those rewards later on, especially when you get great combinations. Sometimes it is better to buy one expensive dice face than two cheap ones, other times you’re rich enough to buy the expensive and the cheap ones!
Obviously with games based around dice there’s a fair amount of luck involved, no matter how much you upgrade your dice, you can’t guarantee you’ll get the rolls you need, whilst your opponent might get their x3 come up with their 4 VP face time after time. But give yourself the best chance possible and then moan to everyone if you don’t win, that’s what I do!
It’s fantastic to look at. The way the insert is constructed, the display where you buy new dice faces from sits neatly inside the box, with the board up against it and it looks great. The game board is reasonably long so it’ll be well within reach of all players. It also has the best insert of any game I own, everything (and I mean everything) has its own little slot, it is very satisfying indeed and makes it super quick to set up the next time you play.
There are a range of strategies to go for in Dice Forge and due to the variety of cards there is quite a bit of replayability. We’ve found that we love teaching it to people so end up playing lots of “first games”, but as yet we’re not bored of it and always love seeing our friend’s reaction to the game. Will you focus on buying cheap cards that give you more resources later on, or save up for the big points? I personally like going down the gold route, buying “The Blacksmiths Hammer” which allows you to convert excess gold to points, as its easy to max out your gold reserves later on in the game, it feels like it gives you free points. Jess prefers to power up her resource engine to allow her to buy more expensive cards earlier on, and in fairness it works for her as I seldom win!
The gameplay is slick and there’s very little downtime, you’re rolling your dice on every player’s turn, and their turn can only consist of a maximum of two actions, hence the 45 minute play time. You’re also keeping a keen eye on what they do, as it may impact your next move. I’m glad to say the game plays just as well with 2, 3 or 4 players as slight rule adjustments are easily implemented (for instance on your turn you roll your dice twice rather than once in a 2 player game).
A couple of slight moans which don’t impact the gameplay whatsoever- I don’t like the rulebook as it isn’t an easy-to-read booklet, rather a poster with information laid out in a confusing way. Easy enough when you’re learning the game but I found it difficult to clarify certain parts mid-game as it took a while to find what I needed. And I’m sorry to say I’m not a fan of the box art, I love all the rest of the artwork but the box doesn’t draw me in like it does with other Libellud titles such as Dixit, Mysterium or Shadows Amsterdam (do check that game out as it is an absolute gem).
Overall though this is a wonderful game. The concept is original and well implemented, the gameplay is fast, fun and varied and the artwork is great. I highly recommend it to anyone, you can’t go wrong.
Get this game
Check this game out on Board Game Geek