Review – Nations: The Dice Game
A dice rolling, civilisation building game.
Title: Nations: The Dice game
Year Published: 2014
Designer: Rustan Håkansson
Game Time: ~30 Mins
Set-up Time: >5 Mins
Mechanic: Dice Rolling, Tableau Building
How to win: Score a number of points over 4 Ages..
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!
Shuffle progress tiles into 4 stacks (15 for each Age) and Event tiles into 4 stacks. (3 of each Age.)
Deal each player a random player order card.
Give each player a board, 5 white dice, 1 Gold chit and 1 Re-roll chit.
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
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.
Place a new Event tile on the board for the current Age.
Put all your dice and chits next to your player board and you’re ready to go!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pass – Turn your player card sideways, you take no further part in the round.
Once everyone has passed, you go through an ‘End of Age’ routine.
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.
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.
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.
In reverse player order players may spend Swords to score points on the Event card.
Then set-up the next round by changing the progress tiles and event tile to match the new Age.
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.
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.
Good, light, fun.
I give it 6/10