Recently I have been taking a look at the set of little dice games released by Gamewright in the early 2010s. Qwixx became a pretty big hit for the company which lead to quite a few other little dice games being released. In the past we have looked at Bloom, and Rolling America. While not the biggest fans of dice games, I have enjoyed this line of games as they have added an interesting strategic element to your typical dice game. Today I am looking at Dodge Dice which hasn’t received quite the level of acclaim as some of the other games from this series. Instead of being a roll and write like the other games I have reviewed in the past, Dodge Dice combines your typical dice game with a press your luck game. Dodge Dice is a simple and somewhat fun little filler game that unfortunately relies considerably more on luck than strategy.
How to Play Dodge Dice
- Give each player three Skip chips. The rest of the Skip chips are placed in the middle of the table.
- Grab a piece of paper and pen/pencil in order to keep score.
- The player who last played dodge ball will be the first player.
Playing the Game
Dodge Dice consists of a number of rounds. Each round begins with the current player rolling all ten dice. The Penalty die is set aside. The number rolled on the Penalty die determines how many points one player will earn this round. The color on the die determines the color for the round.
The player who rolled the dice will then look at the Action die and possibly take an action based on what was rolled. Check out the Action die section for more information.
The current player will then set aside all of the Dodge dice that match the color of the Penalty die. If all of the Dodge dice don’t match the Penalty die, the current player will pass the non-matching Dodge dice and the Action die to the next player to their left who will roll them.
End of Round
If after a player’s roll all of the Dodge die match the Penalty die’s color, the current player will earn points equal to the number rolled on the Penalty die. This may be altered based on what was rolled on the Action die.
The round can also end if one of the players roll the stop symbol on the Action die.
The dice will then be passed to the next player to the left who will start the next round.
If a player rolls one of the following two symbols, they will take the corresponding action immediately.
When a player rolls this symbol the current round ends immediately. The player that rolled the symbol will collect points equal to the number on the Penalty die.
A player that rolls this symbol will take one of the Skip chips from the center of the table.
If a player rolls one of the following four symbols, the action is only taken if they are rolled on the same turn that the current round ends (the last Dodge die matches the Penalty die color).
The player who rolled the symbol and matched the final Dodge die will score twice as many points as shown on the Penalty die.
The player who rolled the symbol and matched the final Dodge die will score triple as many points as shown on the Penalty die.
Instead of gaining the points shown on the Penalty die, the player will subtract the points from their total. This can potentially drop a player’s total below zero.
Instead of receiving the points themselves, the current player will give the points to another player of their choice.
Each of the players are given Skip chips to begin the game and can earn more from the Action die. A player can use Skip chips in one of two ways.
Before a player rolls the dice on their turn, they can choose to return one of their Skip chips to the supply. They will then skip their turn and not have to roll the dice.
After a player rolls the dice and they don’t like what was rolled, they can choose to spend two Skip chips to ignore their roll. The dice are passed to the next player to the left like if you had skipped your turn.
End of Game
The game ends after a round where one of the players has acquired a total of 100 or more points. The players will then compare their scores. The player that has scored the least points will win the game. If there is a tie, all of the tied players will keep playing until someone has less points that the other tied players.
My Thoughts on Dodge Dice
After playing Dodge Dice I am not entirely sure what I thought of the game. I liked some things about it, but it also has one pretty big issue.
If I were to describe Dodge Dice I would say that it feels like a combination of a dice game and a press your luck game. Basically players take turns rolling a set of dice with each dice that matches the penalty color being set aside. As the round progresses more and more dice will be set aside which increases your odds of matching the remaining dice to the color. The player that matches the last die will receive points equal to the number on the Penalty die which is a bad thing. Thus the game basically boils down to a press your luck game where everyone uses the same dice. You basically choose whether you want to take the risk and roll the dice on your turn, or use one of your limited number of Skip chips to avoid your turn. The player that is best at avoiding points wins the game.
If the game sounds really simple, it should. Arguably Dodge Dice’s greatest strength is its simplicity. You basically just choose whether you want to skip your turn and then roll the dice. Depending on what is rolled you will set some dice aside or take some other actions. Learning what all of Action die symbols mean may take a couple of turns, but I really can’t see it taking more than just a couple of minutes to teach the game to new players. The game has a recommended age of 8+, but I think kids a little younger could still probably play the game without any real troubles.
Ultimately I found Dodge Dice’s gameplay to be kind of fun. I wouldn’t consider it particularly complex as it is a very simple game. You basically just roll dice and hope you don’t roll something that will score you points. If you are looking for a highly strategic game, Dodge Dice is not going to be it. If you are looking for a game that you can just sit back and enjoy though, it might be just the game that you have been looking for. The game actually does a good job fitting the filler game role. The game is simple enough that you don’t have to put too much thought into what you are doing. On top of this the game plays quite quickly. You could honestly finish a game within 10-15 minutes. With its small portable size the game should also work really well as a travel game or something that you can play without having a lot of time or space available to you.
By far Dodge Dice’s biggest issue is the fact that it relies heavily on luck. Your success in the game is going to rely almost entirely on how lucky you get when rolling the dice. When rolling the dice you are looking for two things. First you want to roll the Skip chip symbol on the Action die whenever possible. As I will get to shortly Skip chips are really important in the game. Otherwise you just want to avoid ending the round on your turn and having to take the associated points. As long as you don’t match all of the Dodge dice to the penalty color you are fine. In fact it is sometimes good to match all but one dice as it makes it more likely that one of the other players will then end the round. Even more critical is not rolling the Stop symbol. Honestly more rounds in the game seem to end by a player rolling this symbol than all of the Dodge dice matching the penalty color. Outside of being a fantastic dice roller or cheating, there is no way to impact what gets rolled. Thus luck will basically determine who will end up winning the game.
What makes the reliance on luck worse is the fact that the game doesn’t really have much strategy. On your turn you basically get to make one decision. Will you use Skip chips to skip your turn or ignore your roll? This is the only decision you can make in the game which may have an impact on the ultimate outcome of the game. This is why Skip chips are so important as they ultimately give you more choices in the game. It is cheaper to skip your turn, but I think you will usually be better off paying two chips to ignore your roll as you will only have to pay if you otherwise would end up scoring points. Because of this when you choose to use your chips can be quite important. Sometimes you might choose to score a few points in a round to save your Skip chips for a time when you otherwise would score considerably more points. This is why rolling the symbol that gives you more Skip chips is really important. Poor use of your chips is clearly going to hurt you, but it is usually pretty obvious how you should use them. So whoever gets the most of them or has to use them the least will have a big advantage in the game.
The game’s reliance on luck doesn’t ruin the game, but it does have an impact on Dodge Dice. Much of the time it doesn’t feel like you have a lot of control over what happens to you. You can’t really control what you roll, and you can’t make choices that mitigate the impact of bad rolls. Thus to enjoy the game you really need to be willing to sit back and just accept what happens. The outcome is going to be kind of random where you can’t really do much to change what will happen. This will drive some players crazy as they will feel like they don’t really have any control. If you can enjoy the game for what it is though without really caring about who ultimately wins, you should be able to look past this fact.
As for the game’s components they are pretty much what you would expect. The game includes ten dice and the Skip chips. The dice are pretty good as they feel durable enough that they should last. The symbols are engraved into the dice which means they shouldn’t fade off easily. The chips are just generic purple chips, but they are thick enough that you don’t have to worry about wear. Like most of the more recent Gamewright dice games, the game also fits entirely in a small little box that doesn’t have a lot of wasted room. There really isn’t much to complain about the components especially since the game was pretty cheap when it was initially released.
Should You Buy Dodge Dice?
Ultimately I found Dodge Dice to be a solid but unspectacular game. The game is basically a combination of a dice and a press your luck game. The gameplay is pretty simple where you just take turns trying not to end the round and score points. Because of this the game is really easy to pick up and play. The game also plays quickly which makes it a good filler game. If you are looking for a simple game that you can just enjoy without putting too much thought into what you are doing, you should be able to enjoy your time with Dodge Dice. The problem is that there are very few decisions to make in the game which means the game relies almost entirely on luck. Whichever player is the luckiest with their rolls is basically guaranteed to win the game.
My recommendation for Dodge Dice comes down to your thoughts on simple games that rely considerably more on luck than strategy. If you don’t generally care for dice games or like games with some strategy, Dodge Dice likely won’t be for you. If you are looking for a simple filler dice game though and don’t care about the reliance on luck, you can have fun with Dodge Dice and should consider picking it up.
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