Review – Nations: The Dice Game

A dice rolling, civilisation building game.

Title: Nations: The Dice game

Year Published: 2014

Designer: Rustan Håkansson

Publisher: Lautapelit.fi

Players: 2-4

Game Time: ~30 Mins

Set-up Time: >5 Mins

Ages: 10+

Theme: History

Mechanic: Dice Rolling, Tableau Building

How to win: Score a number of points over 4 Ages..

Game Description

From the humble beginnings of civilization through the historical ages of progress, mankind has lived, fought and built together in nations. Great nations protect and provide for their own, while fighting and competing against both other nations and nature itself. Nations must provide food as the population increases, build a productive economy, and amaze the world with their great achievements to build up their heritage as the greatest nations in the history of mankind!

Set Up

Shuffle progress tiles into 4 stacks (15 for each Age) and Event tiles into 4 stacks. (3 of each Age.)

Nations the Dice Game Progress and Event Tiles

Deal each player a random player order card.

Nations the Dice Game Player Order Card

Give each player a board, 5 white dice, 1 Gold chit and 1 Re-roll chit.

Nations the Dice Game Player Starting Pieces

Put a player marker on 0 points for each player and a marker on the Book track in turn order with player 1 on 1, 2 on 2 etc

Nations the Dice Game Score Track

Game Play

Start of Round

Fill the Progress board with the tiles from the current Age depending on the player count. You add more for a 4 player game than a 3 player game for example.

Nations the Dice Game Progress Board

Place a new Event tile on the board for the current Age.

Nations the Dice Game Event Tile

Put all your dice and chits next to your player board and you’re ready to go!

Actions

Each player rolls all their dice then in player order each player takes 1 of these actions – Re-roll, Buy Tile or Build Wonder.

Re-roll – Spend a re roll chit to your used area to re-roll one or more unused dice. This will be your whole turn to plan carefully.

Nations the Dice Game Re-Roll Action

You can spend one re-roll token to re-roll those 3 Stone you don’t want.

Buy a Tile – Pay the cost in Swords or Gold to your used area times the row multiplier
You can combine dice and chits but you do not get change.

Nations the Dice Game Buy Tile

You need Gold to buy Stonehenge, as it’s in the ‘3x’ line you need 3 Gold from any combination of Dice and/or Chits.

What you do next depends on what you buy…

Buildings replace any building on your player board, returning the die of the replaced building to the supply. The die you return can be one you used this turn already if you want. Take the dice shown on your new building and roll them ready for use.

Nations the Dice Game Buy Building

The Academy replaces a white die… That die is returned to the supply and the new Blue die is rolled ready for use.

Advisor’s go in the upper left of your player board and replace any previous advisor. Same rules apply for gaining/losing dice and chits as they do for buildings.

Nations the Dice Game Buy Advisor

Sun Tzu gives you a re-roll chit that you can use on your next action if you like.

Colonies are placed next to your player board, you can have any number of these and the chits you gain are ready for use on your next action.

Nations the Dice Game Buy Colony

A Wonder is placed in the upper right of your player board and replaces any un-built wonder you may already have. These wonders need building on a future action.

Nations the Dice Game Buy Wonder

The last action you can do in your turn is Build Wonder – Spend Stone dice/chits to move your un-built Wonder next to your board. You can have any number of built Wonders and like Advisor’s, Chits gained are ready for use immediately.

Nations the Dice Game Build Wonder

Unlike the real thing, Stonehenge only needs 1 Stone to build and is worth 3 points at the end of the game.

Pass – Turn your player card sideways, you take no further part in the round.

Nations the Dice Game Pass

Once everyone has passed, you go through an ‘End of Age’ routine.

Books

In reverse player order players may spend Books to move up the book track. Then, players score 1 point for every player that has LESS books than them. Dice and Chits used for these books go to the used area.

Nations the Dice Game Book Track

Purple will score 3 points, Red and Yellow score 1 each.

Famine

In reverse player order players may spend Food to score points on the Event card. Again, Dice and Chits used go to the used area.

Nations the Dice Game Famine

Spend 1 Food for 1 Point.

Player Order

Any unused Swords a player has are now used to decide player order with the current player order breaking ties. Dice and Chits used for these swords DO NOT go to the used area… Yet.

Nations the Dice Game Turn Order

As this player has 6 Swords and more than any other player, they will go first in the next Age.

War

In reverse player order players may spend Swords to score points on the Event card.

Nations the Dice Game War

The player spends 3 Swords for one point. You don’t score more points for having more Swords..

Then set-up the next round by changing the progress tiles and event tile to match the new Age.

Game End

After round 4, complete end of round scoring including player order. Add Wonder, Colony, Building and Advisor points, most points wins. Ties broken by current player order.

Round Up

This is another one of those games that is good, but shouldn’t be. it’s VERY basic, VERY simple and nothing like it’s Euroish big brother.

But again, everyone likes it despite being a very nothing game. Don’t get me wrong, I like it too but I have no idea why 🙂

I think it’s due to the simplicity and multiple paths to victory… You can specialise in one dice type and collect the relevant tiles or you can diversify and have a bit of everything.

Die rolls don’t feel random either… You kind of work with what you have and you always have at least 1 re-roll chit. You can always do something generally even if it’s not exactly what you want to do.

You also need to keep back Books, War and Famine for the ‘between round’ portion of the game… It’s tempting to spend all your Swords on tiles but turn order is very important too, especially in that final round as the tiebreaker.

It’s a shame all the player boards are the same and you don’t have any powers for the different Nations. Maybe they tested it and couldn’t find a balance or maybe an expansion will upgrade it?

But, component wise it’s pretty nice, especially for the price of the game. Although there isn’t a lot of stuff in the box, what is there is good quality.

Rating

Good, light, fun.

I give it 6/10

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