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    Review: Rolling America

    February 5, 2016

    Rolling America is a quick, easy-to-learn dice game with a light geography component. We’ve had a lot of fun teaching this one to families who are looking for a fun, replayable game in a small package.

    The game consists of six colored dice and one clear “wild” die, a dice bag, and a pad of map sheets. The map sheets depict a stylized representation of the United States of America with spaces to write in each state. Different regions of the map are separated into colors that match the colors of the dice. The goal of the game is to fill in your map with “legal” numbers which are rolled on the dice during eight rounds of play.

    During each round, players take successive turns by randomly selecting two dice from the bag and rolling out a result. All players must then use the results to fill in a space on their maps – one colored space for each die result corresponding to the color of the dice rolled. The catch is that players cannot fill in a number unless all adjacent states are either blank or have a number that is within one digit of the filled number. For example, if you have a “6” written in California, you can only fill in a “5” or “6” in Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona – as these states are all adjacent to California. If a player can’t legally fill in a rolled number that comes up on the dice, he or she must place an “X” in a state of that die color. The winner of the game will be the player who has filled in the fewest “Xs” after eight rounds, so choosing your fills carefully and thoughtfully is integral to Rolling America.

    RA

    To offer a few more choices in strategy, there are three different “cheats” that each player is allowed to use three times each in the game. The first cheat is Color Changing a die roll, which does precisely what it sounds like: players may change the color of the die to match the state they would like to fill in. They may also Duplicate a die roll, which provides a way to fill in an additional state with a desirable number rolled on the dice. The third option is to Guard a number, wherein a player still fills in a state with a number from the dice but may circle it, thereby excepting it from the legality rules of placement. Cheats are very powerful but extremely limited, so make sure to use them wisely.

    The rules to Rolling America are simple and the gameplay is extremely fast, but successfully filling in the map with a small number of “Xs” is much more difficult than it sounds. The luck of the dice balances very well with the pure strategy of planning out the map fills, and at times it feels more like a puzzle than a dice game. In this respect, Rolling America is particularly suited to solo play as well as for a bunch of friends and family. A note in the rules state that getting fewer than five “Xs” is massively rare. Grab a copy of Rolling America and see if you can do better!
     

    – Andre

     
    If you like: Quixx, 10 Days in America, Yahtzee
    You’d definitely enjoy: Rolling America
    MRP: $10.99
    Designer: Hisashi Hayashi
    Produced by: Gamewright