Noctiluca – Z-Man Games – Review

I like that I can play this solo. A lot of publishers are including this which I think is amazing. Sometimes you just cannot get a group together to play your favorite games!

Mary Crabtree



Theme and What is it?


Deep in the jungle are Cerulean Pools filled with the Noctiluca. These Noctiluca are precious and have healing powers.

Players dive into these pools to collect Noctiluca (dice) to fill their bottles to deliver to the healers.

Gameplay Mechanics


The board is 18 hex shapes which represent the pool. These hexes are all surrounding one center hex that is not used. Around the hexes are 12 shore spaces.

At the beginning of the game, randomly place dice into these hexes. There are four different colors of dice: Purple, Blue, Green, and Orange.

In a four-player game, players have 3 pawns. They start the game with two jars (cards) that require various colors and a secret color card. The rest of the jars are randomly stacked face up into five piles.

There are three different colored point tokens. Stack from smallest to largest. On the jars is a tag that will be one of these colors.

On their turn, players place a pawn on an unoccupied shore and call a number and choose one of the two paths along that shore. They then take all the dice with that number in that path.


Players take the collected dice and place them into their bottles. If they cannot place some, they are passed to the next player. That player can place one and then pass them. This continues until all dice are placed.

When a player completes a bottle, they take the topmost point token that matches the tag on their bottle.

The game plays over two rounds.

Before scores are calculated, players check for a majority with their point tokens. Count the number of point tokens of each color (not the value). The player with majority receives the rest of the point tokens of that color but flips them and they become grey with a value of 1.

Players receive points for their point tokens, jars that have points, one point for each color on their jars, and one point for every two dice that are left on their undelivered jars.

Initial Impressions


The box art immediately sucked me in. My eyes went straight to the dice when opening the box. I love games that incorporate dice uniquely.

Game Build Quality


All the components are great. The cards are the linen quality so if you bridge shuffle, they will hold up well.

The tokens are thick cardboard. No complaints on the dice or wooden pawns.

Artistic Direction


The artwork is mostly on the box and rulebook. The game itself features the artwork on the jar cards and secret color cards.

Each color Noctiluca is a different-shaped creature. The artist depicts these creatures in a whimsical, fun way.

Fun Factor


Oh, my goodness! This game is so much fun!

It produces some analysis paralysis in my group but thankfully the game is only two rounds. In each game, only 12 pawns are placed depending on the number of players. So, essentially, every game will have the same amount of turns.

Age Range & Weight


The game, in essence, is set collection which is not overly complicated. The publisher suggests this is for players eight and above. I would say this is okay.

Ultimately, you are choosing a number and placing colors which children should be able to pick up on with ease.

I would rank Noctiluca in-between filler and medium weight. It has a little more to offer than a filler.



My group and I have already played this one multiple times, so it is high on our playlist. It looks beautiful on the table and plays well.

Noctiluca takes mechanics from various games and they mix very well.

I like that I can play this solo. A lot of publishers are including this which I think is amazing. Sometimes you just cannot get a group together to play your favorite games!