Wednesday, August 1, 2012

D-Day Dice is Quite Nice

 After months of waiting and delay, the Kickstarter success story, D-Day Dice, landed on my doorstep. I eagerly sorted through all of my goodies and eagerly awaited a chance to play. I've since then gotten a handful of games in (both multiplayer and solitaire), I can say that this was well worth the wait.

Mission Briefing
D-Day Dice is a cooperative, war themed, resource management, dice rolling game for 1 - 4 players. It was originally released as a free print & play game back in 2009 and became a huge hit. More recently, it was picked up by Valley Games and launched as a Kickstarter.

The players take the role of military units that are advancing  on a German bunker in the middle of World War II. Every turn, six dice (colored red, white and blue) are rolled that give the players soldiers, tools, courage or stars. Soldiers are the basic health points of the unit, courage is used to advance closer to the bunker, tools are used to find helpful items and stars recruit specialists that have special abilities to aid in the assault. The sixth side of each die is a skull. If a skull is rolled, then one other die result is ignored. In addition, if you roll the same symbol on a die of each color, you earn an additional bonus to increase your fighting power.

These resources must be carefully managed to ensure victory. If you lose all of your soldiers, you lose. If you can no longer advance due to a lack of courage, you lose. Early in the game, it is easy to acquire a good stock of these resources but as you advance closer, the battleground becomes more deadly and casualties on both sides add up quickly.

When playing with multiple players, units can aid each other by trading resources and dice between them. This is a great element that keep all players aware of each others' status during the game. If one of their allies were to fall in combat, then the entire mission is deemed a failure.

Brutal Landscape
The game comes with a variety of maps. Eight are included in the base game with additional maps becoming available in expansions. Each map introduces new elements to the game which helps the players grow in skill as you play through the scenarios.

Each map is divided into a number of sectors, each with its own defense value. At the end of each turn, any unit occupying that sector loses soldiers equal to that number. Some sectors are closely guarded by landmines or machine guns, while others require the presence or sacrifice of specific specialists.

As you move closer to the final bunker, more courage is required from your troops, the defense value increases and more hazards become present. Navigating all of this requires luck in the dice roll and solid strategy from the player.

Mission Accomplished
I have greatly enjoyed playing this, both alone and with friends. The game provides a fun challenge with many opportunities for hard decisions. Knowing how to allocate your dice and being able to deal with unlucky rolls is key in the players success. The trading mechanism between players really help increase the comradery between players as you all try desperately to keep the others in the fight.

The production quality is fantastic as well. The maps are printed on a solid cardboard that will hold up nicely and the dice are very nicely crafted. All of the player aids and resource dials help make the game easy to manage and get through while the players learn.

D-Day Dice is a great, medium weight war themed game that would be great for a game with a group of friends on a quiet evening alone.

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