Designed by Rustan Hakansson
# of players 1 - 4
Ages 14 and up
15 minutes per player
When an established publisher makes a spin-off to a popular game, you expect the overall component quality to be good. And it is. Nations the Dice Game is mostly tiles and dice. The cardboard tiles are good quality and feel like they will not wear out anytime soon. The dice are your standard quality. There are also chits, they are also cardboard. I suppose I wish they were plastic or metal. So, while the quality is good, I feel like they could have used more premium materials. The artwork is taken directly from Nations:The Board Game. That's certainly appropriate, although it is a bit bland.
You can play with 1 to 4 people. That's right, the game has a solo mode. The game is played in four rounds. You win by having the most culture (victory points) at the end of the game. Bonus points are awarded by the tiles you have built.
On your turn, you roll your dice and that establishes what resources are available to you this turn. You use your resources to purchase tiles that strengthen your nation. The tiles may give you more dice to roll next turn. They may give you money, which can be used as any resource. They can even give you the ability to re-roll dice. Some tiles, Wonder Tiles, don’t do anything but give you more points at the end of the game.
The different colored dice that you can purchase have different specialties. So a certain colored die may not be able to provide all types of resources, but what it does provide, it gives in greater quantity. This, coupled with the ability to re-roll, gives you some control over the resources you are producing and, subsequently, what you can buy.
The tiles that are available to buy each round vary from one game to the next. They are purchased from a collective pool. This puts each player very directly in competition with one another for what they are going to buy. The tiles also get better from one round to the next. This is nice because it means that, even if a player has done really well in the first half of the game, others players will still have a shot at newer, better tiles. So, most people still feel very much in the game.
Nations + Yahtzee = Nations: The Dice Game.
In the last few years we have seen a few popular, well-established games coming out with dice-rolling equivalents. By and large, they have been well received and I like them. They promise to condense the original game into something a little easier and faster to play. That is exactly what is happening with Nations. It captures the essence of the original Nations. Some may complain that the game trades some strategy away and in it's place leaves some randomness. I disagree. I believe that you just need to figure that into your strategy. This is a fun game that still has enough depth to satisfy more serious gamers. If you liked Nations at all, this is a no-brainer as a “lighter” alternative. If you haven't, well, it's still worth a shot. I’d be happy to play, anytime. It paired nicely with a Martini. (heavy on the olives)
+ Still strategic, but not overly heavy
+ Fast Gameplay
- Dice give element of chance that may turn off some
- Game can be dry at times
- The art is bland