Dice Age Review

A very interesting looking game that I asked for a review copy of is Dice Age (BoardGameGeek link - it's not on Amazon).

Dice Age is the game of funky dice.  Each game, each player gets a handful of different dice - you can either have everyone bring their own pre-constructed group of dice, or share a set and hand them out randomly.  Once you start playing, the active player will pick one of his dice from his "Garden" and roll it (thus placing it in his "Field").  After rolling, it can either show a symbol or a number.  If you roll a number, then that number must be lower than the previously rolled number - if it is not, then all of the dice in your field go to your "Wasteland", and all of the other players move the dice in their Field back to their Garden.  If you roll a symbol, then you get to do special things - like picking which die one of your opponent's must roll next, rolling two dice at the same time and picking the result, bringing back dice from the Wasteland, etc.  Play continues like this until only one person has dice left - and they have ushered in their own.... Dice Age!  (Or something - at least, they win.)

Again - the dice look awesome.
The first pro for Dice Age is that the dice look awesome.  And beautiful.  And sweet.  And whatever other adjectives that you want to use that get the message across that these dice are something that you will want to play with.  In fact, this is the entire reason that I asked for a copy of Dice Age - it looked amazing, and I really wanted to play with the dice.

Ultimately, having played Dice Age, I liken it to a product like "Mighty Beanz."  It is a collectible toy that you can play around with.  Whereas you could spin the Mighty Beanz and watch them wobble around and such, you can roll the dice from Dice Age and see what faces you can make them land on.  I think that this is a neat toy, and it's nice that there is a game attached.  However, I think it's good that this is a neat toy because, this leads me into the first con...

The two-sided, four-sided, die
As a game, I did not like Dice Age.  First of all, the rules are awful.  When I got the game, my mom happened to be in town, and I figured this would be something she'd be interested in, so I let her look at the rules - one page, how hard can this be?  She had no idea what was going on.  So, I read them.  I had a vague semblance of how to play the game, and then my wife read them and seemed to understand the gist of the game.  Before playing, though, I looked through the dice and had no idea how the "faces" of the die correlated to the different symbols and numbers that are shown on the rules.  So, before even attempting to play, I had to look for FAQ's and help.  If you have bought this game, then you will need this link. You're welcome.  That link explains how the dice "faces" translate into rolls.  One of the ones that I would have never figured out on my own is the "Nitro" die.  This is a four-sided die.  Yes, four.  Yet, there are two valid "sides" for it.  (In case you missed why I'm confused, it's because 2 does not equal 4.)  I would have never, ever, ever figured this out on my own.  The rules that I have say, "You'll find there are numerous effects at first and it can be intimidating.  Don't worry, you'll know everything by heart after a few games.  Later on, refer to the online Dice Age Compendium and Comprehensive Rules at..."  Ok.  But, the problem is that I needed these references before my first game.  And yet, many of the questions that I had, I still don't have the answer to, even after looking through these references.  For example, can the number that you have to roll lower than be less than zero?  (One of the effects allows you to roll a six sided die and add or subtract that value from a die you roll later - so if you roll a 6 on that die, and roll a 4 as your "number" later, then, can you make the number to beat be -2?)

What is this roll worth?  (It's 3.)
However, eventually we (team effort) deciphered the rules well enough that I think that we played the game at least mostly as it was intended.  And so, this leads to the next con.  The game itself isn't really all that great.  There is some strategy involved, and I can see kids enjoying it, but the premise is really simple - just roll lower than the previous person.  Which, ultimately, boils down to having better dice.  If the dice that I have left only have numbers higher than 10, and all of yours have low numbers, then you're going to win.  This, of course, is affected greatly by which dice you bring, and so if you play repeatedly, you will want to use the variant where each person builds their dice pool before the game, so that you have strategy involved in what you pick.  However, ultimately, it's a game to play when you want to mindlessly toss things around for fun (which isn't all bad - there is definitely a place for games like that).

With all of this said, I give Dice Age a 5.5/10 as a game.  As a toy, it would get much higher - probably in the 8-10 range.  What's the moral of this review?  If you buy Dice Age, buy it as a toy.  Perhaps try the game, but buy it as something neat to play with.  There's also an "official" stacking game that you can play with the dice.  Or, you can just stack them up like a leaning tower and see how high you can go.  But, again - toy; not game.

If you enjoy dice games, you might also check out Martian Dice and Zombie Dice.

I would like to thank Tristan Convert's Games for providing me with a review copy of Dice Age.


  1. Reviewers get to have copies sent to them, let's hope this means backers of the kickstarter proyect get to have them sometime soon.

  2. In the rules it says "Smile can result in a negative number or a zero."

  3. >If you enjoy dice games, you might also check out Martian Dice and Zombie Dice.

    Or Cookie Fu!

  4. Martian dice, zombie dice and Cookie fu are regular dice...
    It seems Dice Age is really bringing something new.