Theme and What is It?
The gods have offered mortal heroes the opportunity to become a demigod by participating in a tournament. They have provided divine blessings (dice) that will help the heroes collect gold that can be presented as an offering at the foundations. Through these offerings, the gods will award the heroes with better blessings that they will forge into their dice. Yes, you are changing the faces of your dice throughout the game! These blessings help the heroes as they are tested through Heroic Feats where they may find relics and creatures that aid them throughout the tournament.
In Dice Forge, there are two areas for the game: the temple and the portals.
Players start with two dice and place their pawns on their starting portal at the temple. The starting dice faces are mostly gold but there is one face each for a sun shard, moon shard and glory points. The first player will set the round marker on the first spot of the round track and move it forward on subsequent turns. The game moves fairly fast and ends after 9-10 rounds (depending on player count).
At the start of every turn, all players roll their dice to determine their divine blessings, then the active player performs one of the following actions.
- Present an offering to the gods – remain at starting portal or return to starting portal to spend gold to upgrade their die face(s). Using the new die face, pop off the die face that the new one will replace. Then, snap the new one onto the die.
- Perform a Heroic Feat at an island portal – move to an island portal and take a card from the location by spending the necessary sun or moon shards, then apply the effect. These effects can either give an immediate bonus or an ongoing ability that is applied once per turn, depending on the card. All the cards have their own glory point value for end of game scoring.
In addition to one of the actions above, the player may spend two sun shards to take an additional action. This can be either action.
The game continues this way until the final round and the scoring phase begins. Players add their glory points from Heroic Feat cards to what they have collected over the game to determine the winner. Tied players share victory.
I was attracted to this game because I have the other Lillebud games; Seasons, Lords of Xidit, etc. These games are both very different but highly complex in their own way. I felt obligated to get the game because I loved the other two so much but I resisted at first. When I researched it further, just the idea of custom dice sounded like something I needed to add to our groups’ collection.
Game Build Quality
If I was to design an insert for a game, it would be something like the one in Dice Forge. Every component has a designated place and it isn’t inside a plastic bag. I am not a fan of plastic bags! The rules also have a diagram on how everything is stored neatly in the box after the cardboard has been punched. The box is the foundations and it lines up to the board so it all connects. The character boards keep track of how much gold, sun shards, moon shards and glory points a player has by using cubes as the counters. The boards are good quality and very similar to Seasons, but have indentions for the cubes to fit into. The dice are hard plastic and very durable. It takes a bit to get the technique down of popping out the die faces but not an issue. The cards have a glossy feel to them and are great quality.
The artwork is great. It is similar to the game Seasons but not exactly the same. It has a mature, cartoonish feel to it which I enjoy. This artwork is on the character boards, cards and the foundations. It is even on some of the die faces.
The gameplay of Dice Forge is very straight forward. It is not as involved as the game Seasons. There are card abilities similar to Seasons but nothing that could create endless combinations and prolong the game. Don’t get me wrong, I love Seasons but if you are looking for a similar game that is shorter then check out Dice Forge. Plus, creating custom dice is so much fun!
Difficulty and Age Range Suggestion
Age suggestion is 10+. It might be slightly low; ultimately, it all comes down to the maturity of the player. The card abilities go by symbols so if not familiar with these symbols, there is a reference sheet to go by. This reference sheet describes the ability of each card, just like in the game Seasons. This can make it easier for younger players.
My group and I love Dice Forge. It sits high on my shelf. Our group has played it 7 times since I purchased it. I use the Board Game Stats app to track our gameplay and I have won 71% of the time so that makes me partial to it. However, most of the time another member of our group chooses it. This game will definitely get play time at our table so replay ability is high. I also heard there is an expansion coming out probably at Essen so be on the lookout!