Compete to establish your city as the new capital in Dice City!

Our Recommended Age:8+
Players:1-4
Recommended Age:14+
Cost:$39.99
Play Time:45 Minutes
Company Site:www.alderac.com
Contents:4 player boards 20 dice 149 cards 93 tokens 4 player aids 1 rulebook
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Dice City is what they call a dice-crafting game. Sort of like deck building but with dice…and it’s also played differently. This has become a favorite for us on Game Night’s and since you purchase cards based on how the dice are rolled it is never the same game twice. Roll the dice, put them on the corresponding places on your board, purchase new cards or ships and or choose to fight bandits in order to get the most VP to win!

Dice City is meant for ages 14+ but the Gentleman is 8 going 9 and can play very well…and win. He has been playing games since he was 3 so he is already doing well on developing strategy tactics. I believe the age recommendation is there due to the strategy aspect as the mechanics are not too difficult.

If you are wanting to adjust the game a bit I would say you should just help your child choose cards. Give them 2-3 options of what they can do and let them choose. Kids as young as 5/6 can roll the dice, match them on their board and get their resources or do what the spot on their board says. The Diva also enjoys this game and is quickly picking up strategy techniques for it.

A little reading is needed but they can easily memorize what cards do what as the pictures are there for resources and the buildings are the same for the same cards. Strategy is going to be the hardest thing to learn but if you give them a couple options to choose from they can learn and play the game.

The game itself comes in a sturdy lift top lid box with a wonderful insert inside. There is a spot for the different cards, the Resource tokens, and the Dice. The boards, which are made out of chipboard, rest nicely on top.

The Resource tokens, VP tokens, Pass tokens, Deactivation tokens, and the Start Player token are also made out of quality chipboard. They are also cut into shapes for the material or type of token it is. I love the little attention to details like that in games.

The Dice come in Yellow, White, Black, Blue and Red and are pretty standard D6 dice. The cards are small but standard small size and material for cards. The artwork on them is cartoon like but well done and fitting for the overall theme of the game. AEG seems to make very good quality games so this it is no surprise to me that Dice City would also be made very well but now let’s get to the good stuff!

Objective:

Have the most VP at the end of the game to win. Yep, that’s it! Getting those might not be as simple as that but you have to get the most to win.

Setup:

Each player gets a Player Board and 1 of each color Die. Leftovers go back in the box. You will want a bit of space in the middle of all the players for the rest of the cards and the Resource Tokens.

First take the Lumber Mill, Quarry, Mine, Regular Army and if you have the Expansions Crossroads and/or All That Glitters (which we do!) the Gold Mine cards and put them in their own face up piles in a row.

Now shuffle all of the Location Cards. These are different colors depending on the type. Green are Resources, Red are Military, Yellow is Economic, Purple are Cultural and Blue is Civic. Just below where you put the 5 other Decks place this Deck and then flip over the top 8 cards so they are face up and in a 4×2 grid like pattern to the right of the Deck.

Next to this you will put the 3 Trade Ship Decks in a row and below them the 3 Bandit Decks. Put the Pass Tokens, Deactivation Tokens and the VP into 3 piles near this play area. Also put the piles of Resources near this area usually below the cards. The Gold from the expansion will depend on the number of players and how many expansions you are using. We are using both with 3 players so we would add 12 Gold Tokens.

There is an example setup in the instructions so take a look at that to get a better idea. Now you have to figure out who goes first. Rules for this game say that the last person to roll a die in a game goes first so give that player the Start Player Token.

Before you start playing everyone now rolls their dice and puts (or assigns) them to their correct location based on the color of the Die and the number rolled. The color is found on the left of the board and the number across the top. Now you are ready to play!

Play:

Play moves clockwise (apparently this is pretty standard) and the current player is considered the Active Player. During your turn you MUST take 4 steps. I’ll explain a bit about each but they are the Use Dice Step, Attack Step, Building and Trade Step, and End of Turn Step.

  • Use Dice Step – Since your Dice are already ready at the beginning of your turn all you have to do is use them.
    • You can use any die in any order by using the Location beneath the die and resolving it’s ability.
    • Move another die to a space next to it either Right or Left only and use THAT spot.
    • Use a Die to discard four of the Location cards and put out four new ones. You can only do this once per turn
    • Reactivate a Location anywhere in your city.
    • Pass and gain a Pass Token. You can only do this once per turn.

Each of the actions you can choose to do Use the Die so once you have decided to use the die move it to the left of the board to show it has been used.

If you have Pass Tokens you can use 2 of them to gain a resource of your choice, use them as a +1 for your Army strength for that turn, or force all other players to re-roll one of their dice which you also get to choose! If you choose this option go in turn order starting with your left.

If you have the expansions All That Glitters or Crossroads you can also trade Gold for any 1 Resource of your choice. It is like a wild card for Resource but not a Resource itself. You do HAVE to trade it for the Resource you want though, you cannot use a Gold AS a Resource so plan ahead.

You gain VP or Resources into your Stock depending on what your cards and dice allow you to do and the choices you have made. Keep in mind that you can only keep ONE of each Resource at the end of your turn though.

Once you have used all 5 of your Dice the Attack Step can begin. We tend not to do this one when playing with kids…just yet although the Gentleman is starting to attack Bandits so I feel it will be coming soon. When we play with adults though…well that’s a different story.

  • Attack Step – You can choose to Attack Bandits or Locations on other players boards…er…cities or another Player’s Stock. For now we attack Bandits sometimes when playing with the Gentleman but it gets interesting when playing on Game Nights without kids…a bit of attacking can sometimes happen but it’s always fun.
    • Attack Bandits – Choose a Bandit card from the face up deck but you have to have the Army Strength equal or greater to the defense on the Card. If you can defeat it place it face down in front of you.
      • Your Army Locations will have a Sword on them and a number indicating how much it is worth. Army strength only lasts for one turn and if you Activate one you have to put a Deactivation Token on it until you Re-Activate it by spending a Die.
    • Attack Locations – You CAN choose to attack a specific Location on another Player’s board. Again, you need the Strength to be equal or greater to that Locations defense (location on the shield in the bottom right of the cards).
      • You don’t get the card you attack but that Player has to put a Deactivation Token on that card AND you get VP equal to that Locations VP value if it has it. If not then they just have to deactivate it. You cannot attack a Location that already has a Deactivation Token on it but you CAN attack a Location that does not have a Defense value.
    • Attack Stock – Choose another player ant take one more of their resources from their Stock Pile. You need 2 Strength per 1 resource to do this. Gold requires 3 Army Strength to Attack.

You can keep attacking until you run out of Army Strength and you can attack the same player or different ones. The choices are yours.

  • Building and Trade Step – This is the step that gets you new Location Cards in your City.
    • Simply spend the Resources you have in your Stock to purchase Locations based on their cost which is located on the top right of the card. You can buy as many Locations as you have Resources for and all spent Resources go back into their piles.
    • You can also use (obtain) a Trade Ship by “trading” the required resources for that card and it’s VP value. Put these face down when you get them.

Once you have purchased any Location cards you want you now get to choose where you want to put them in your city. Technically you do this right after purchasing but you can put it anywhere even on another Location but only the Top card is considered in play and the bottom one gets discarded. One thing to keep in mind though is you can only keep ONE of each resource in your stockpile at the end of your turn. So…spend them while you have them if you have more than one. If you can of course.

  • End of Turn Step – This is literally the end of your turn.
    • Keep one of each type of resource and return any extra to their piles.
    • If you have pass tokens you can keep as many of these as you want though which of course can be used later to gain resources.
    • Your army strength goes back to 0.
    • Roll all of your dice and assign them to their places and it is the next players turn. (Clockwise).

Since your goal is to have the most VP you should consider what you want to focus on during the game. Have a plan so to speak…even though your plan might not work out due to the rolling of the dice. Then again there are always pass tokens.

These as well as Resource Tokens, Deactivation Tokens and VP tokens are considered infinite so in the not so common instance where you run out use something else to count for more. We usually have small clear tokens or use buttons…or pom poms…we have a lot of craft things…perler beads would be good too!

Winning:

The game ends if any of the following things happen:

  • All of the bandit piles are empty.
  • Two or more Trade Ship piles are emptied.
  • The Location deck runs out of cards.
  • Two or more Rows in any player’s city have been filled with cards or built locations with NO Deactivation Tokens on them. You can even allow the person to choose whether this ends the game or not if you want but should probably decide that part in the beginning to be fair. We actually haven’t had this happen yet but I think we try hard for it not to happen.

When just one of those conditions is met the players continue their last turn until you get back to the player who started the end. This allows everyone to have an equal amount of turns. Now it is time to add up those VP!

Each player counts up any VP tokens in front of them along with any VP from Trade Ships and Bandit Cards they have. Location cards can also have VP so add those as well. Deactivated cards count here so add those too. Cards that are UNDER other cards do NOT count though. The player with the most VP wins!

If there is a tie then the player with the most location cards in their city wins…if there is still a tie then the winner is the one who also has the most VP from trade ships and bandits.

If you still have a tie after this you and that player should stop sharing a brain…and the winner is the person closest to the starting player…if that is still a tie I would either give up and declare no winner, both winners or paper, rock, scissors a winner….and declare a gaming miracle.

The instructions show you how to play a Solo Variant which I love but have never been able to try due to everyone in my family seeing me try and wanting to play…how can I say no? I would like to try it though and love the fact that AEG includes this. There is also a section to clarify rules and cards which is nice. We may or may not have referenced that a time or two.

Dice City is one of my personal favorite games and not just because I can actually win this one…although that helps. It never seems repetitive, easy enough for the kids to also play (we help with strategy choices where necessary) and is one of the few games the players actively try to keep from ending. We seriously try not to end the game every time we play so we always end up playing for long times and love it!

Show us your VP Victory! @MyGeeklings #DiceCity @Alderac

“The goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.”
~ Reiner Knizia

Author: sandyz