Ever since it was created back in 1971 UNO has been quite popular. This has lead to a lot of different spinoff games that have been created over the years. There have been so many that we have a whole post looking at all of the different UNO spinoff games. One genre that has been particularly popular for the UNO franchise is the dice game. In the past there had already been three different UNO dice games. We took a look at both the 1996 and 2011 version a while back. Last year the fourth UNO Dice game was released which I am looking at today. UNO Dice Game Roll & Write has very little to do with its namesake, but it succeeds at being a simple and fun little dice game.
How to Play UNO Dice Game Roll & Write
- Each player takes a board and a marker.
- All of the players will roll one of the dice until they roll a number. They will write the number they rolled on the first space of their game board.
- The youngest player will start the game.
Playing the Game
On a player’s turn they will take the following actions:
- Roll the Dice
- Build a Dice Chain
- Re-Roll Any Dice That You Want and Adjust Your Dice Chain
- Write Down Your Dice Chain
- Assign Penalties
- Call Out Last Die’s Color and Number
Roll the Dice
You will begin your turn by rolling the six dice.
After rolling the six dice the players will look at the last number they wrote on their board. This number determines the number that the player has to start their chain with. If the player rolled a die with the same number they will start their dice chain with that die.
Build a Dice Chain
After starting the dice chain with a matching number, each additional dice in the chain can match the previous dice either by number or color.
Re-Roll Any Dice That You Want and Adjust Your Dice Chain
After a player has finished making their chain they can choose to re-roll as many of their remaining dice as they want one time.
Once you have re-rolled the dice you can rearrange your dice chain any way you want. The first die in the chain has to match the last number written on your board. All of the other dice in the chain have to either match the number or color of the previous die in the chain.
Write Down Your Dice Chain
After a player has finished their chain they will write it down on their gameboard. For each dice in the chain you will fill in the next space on your board with the number on the die.
On the dice there are two special symbols -1 and +1. These are not treated like numbers and are actually considered penalties. When you roll these on your first roll you can either choose to keep them or re-roll them.
For each -1 dice you will choose one other player to erase the last number from their board. If a player only has one number on their board, they cannot be chosen for this penalty.
For each +1 dice you will choose one other player to add another space to the end of their board. The chosen player will use their marker to outline the next space on their board.
Call Out Last Die’s Color and Number
After a player has finished dealing with all of their dice they will call out the number and color of the last die in their dice chain.
Any player who has the number that was called out as the last number on their board will get to add the number to the end of their board (this does not include the current player).
The player that has the board matching the color of the last die in the dice chain also gets to add the number to the end of their board. If the current player holds that colored board they won’t get to add the number. If the player already added the number due to matching the number, they won’t get to add it again.
After players add the number to their board, play will pass to the next player clockwise.
On each dice there is a star symbol. This symbol acts as a wild that can be placed anywhere in your chain. The catch is you need to have two wild symbols in order to use them in your dice chain. If you initially roll one wild symbol you can decide to hold it hoping that you will roll another wild on one of the dice that you re-roll.
In your dice chain the two wild dice can act as any number which allows them to connect any other two dice. The two wild dice can also start your dice chain.
When recording the set of wild dice on your board the two dice will be recorded as a star on only one space.
Winning the Game
The first player to fill in all of the spaces on their board (including any extra spaces) will immediately win the game.
My Thoughts on UNO Dice Game Roll & Write
Lets get right to the point UNO Dice Game Roll & Write has very little in common with its namesake. Really the only thing that the game shares in common with the original game is the idea of matching dice based on numbers and colors. Otherwise the game is mostly its own thing. I honestly think that the only reason that the game used the UNO name is to take advantage of the popularity of the franchise. If you are looking for a faithful recreation of UNO in a dice game, you aren’t going to get it from UNO Dice Game Roll & Write.
Instead UNO Dice Game Roll & Write plays more like your typical roll and write dice game. Basically players take turns rolling the dice. The numbers and colors they roll on their dice are used to create a dice chain where each dice is connected to the dice before and after it by either having the same number or color as the other dice. There are also a few special dice in the game which either allow players to mess with other players or gives them a wild making it easier to connect different dice together. The first player to fill in all of the spaces on their gameboard wins the game.
I would say that the game’s greatest strength is the fact that it is really easy to play. I honestly think you could teach the game to new players within a minute or two. Basically you roll dice trying to match colors and numbers between the dice that you roll. Anyone with basic number and color recognition should have no problem playing the game. Because of this the game works well as a family game or even as a game to play with people that don’t typically play board/dice games.
With how simple the game is to play it also means that each game also plays quite quickly. The length will somewhat depend on how lucky players are, but I would guess that most games will end within ten or so minutes. Normally a player can win a game within around three to five turns. Each turn should only take a minute or so unless the player takes far too long to analyze their options. Because of how quick the game is to play, I see it working really well as a filler game. You could play a couple games back to back.
So I will admit that UNO Dice Game Roll & Write is not the deepest game. This isn’t a game that will really strain your brain as you try to figure out what you should do on your turn. You will occasionally have a couple different options to consider. This mostly comes from deciding which dice to end your chain with as it can possibly give one or more of the other players a free space on their board. Otherwise the strategy is usually pretty straightforward as there is an obvious best move for each situation in order to maximize the number of spaces that you can fill in.
For some players this will be a deal breaker. In most games your strategic decisions will have little if any impact on what ultimately ends up happening. On many turns there really isn’t even a strategic move to implement. If you are looking for a strategic game, UNO Dice Game Roll & Write is not going to be it. For other people though I can see this as a positive. While I generally prefer games that rely on at least a decent amount of strategy, I occasionally want to play a game that you don’t have to put too much thought into. It is relaxing being able to play a game where you just roll dice and see what happens instead of having to think multiple turns ahead. Those that are looking for that type of game will very likely enjoy playing UNO Dice Game Roll & Write .
Due to the simplicity and lack of any meaningful strategy, it should not come as much of a surprise that UNO Dice Game Roll & Write does rely on quite a bit of luck. With the game relying almost entirely on what you roll on the dice, this was to be expected. Basically the player that rolls the best is going to win the game. The only way this isn’t going to be the case is if one of the players make a catastrophic mistake. As I mentioned earlier most players can fill in their boards within three to five turns. Therefore each turn in the game is really important. If you have a round where you can’t roll a single dice to match your last number you will make no progress, and thus will basically lose any chance of winning the game. On other turns you may be able to place all six dice in your chain to fill in quite a few spaces making it much easier to win the game. The player that can mostly have good rounds while limiting the bad rounds will likely win the game.
Part of the reason why UNO Dice Game Roll & Write relies on quite a bit of luck is the fact that I don’t find the penalties to be all that worthwhile. Basically the penalties are used to punish one of the other players by either making them lose the last space they filled in or giving them another space to fill in. If you are only playing against one or maybe two other players this isn’t that bad as you are hurting your competition. In a four player game though the penalties are pretty worthless. The penalty will hurt the player you target, but at the cost of one of your dice. As there are other players this will make you lose progress on those other players. In most cases you are better off just re-rolling the penalty dice hoping to get something that will help your own dice chain instead of messing with another player.
To make the penalties worthwhile I think they need to be house ruled to some degree. The -1 penalty could have had a compounding effect. The penalty should remove the last number from the player’s board as well as any other preceding numbers that have the same number. For example if the player’s board ends with three threes it should remove all of those threes instead of just one of them. As for the +1 penalty I think it should add two or three spaces to the end of a player’s board. One space doesn’t seem like much of a punishment. If the punishment was larger though there might be a reason to utilize it more often.
As for UNO Dice Game Roll & Write’s components there are some positives and some negatives. I want to begin by saying that the game only retails for around $8 so that is obviously a factor in the game’s components. First I applaud the game for including dry erase boards instead of paper score sheets. I appreciate when games include the boards as you then don’t have to worry about running out of sheets. While it is harder to erase the boards than you would expect, they actually erase quite well where you don’t have to worry about marks staying on the boards and messing them up. As for the dice they are pretty basic. My main complaints about them is that the symbols aren’t engraved into the dice which means that they may start to fade off after extended play.
Should You Buy UNO Dice Game Roll & Write?
While UNO Dice Game Roll & Write is a spinoff game of the popular franchise, it really isn’t a typical game from the franchise. This is mostly due to the game sharing little in common with the original game. You basically just match colors and numbers, and that is all that the two games share in common. Despite the name mostly being used to sell additional copies, I didn’t think it was a bad game. No one will confuse the game for being a deep game. There is little strategy to the game as the few decisions are usually pretty obvious. This means that the game relies on quite a bit of luck. Despite this I still had fun. UNO Dice Game Roll & Write is really easy to learn and plays quickly. It is one of those types of games that you can just play without putting too much thought into what you are trying to do.
My recommendation for UNO Dice Game Roll & Write is pretty straightforward. If you are looking for a deep game filled with a lot of strategy or you don’t really care for pretty basic dice games, the game is unlikely to be of much interest to you. Those that think the premise is interesting and are looking for a quick and simple dice game will likely find enough in the game to make it worthwhile.