If you think dice allocation is a rare mechanism in gaming then dice drafting is ultra rare.  I had a hard time finding games that I have played that use dice drafting.  It’s a mechanism I think adds a lot of strategy and randomness, but not too much, to a normally mundane process of gathering resources.  Dice drafting tends to be a mechanism that uses dice as resources, or actions the players get when choosing which dice the want.  Normally, one or all of the players will roll dice then put them on the board or middle of the table taking turns choosing each die.  The dice will usually have a picture associated with it based on what you will receive.  That is the randomness, you never know what will be available each time the dice are rolled.  The strategy is knowing and getting the most important thing for you when it is available before others get it.  Now lets look at The Best 3 Games with…Dice Drafting!

3.  Castle Dice

courtesy of punkin312 of BGG

Castle dice is a very underrated game that gets overlooked often.  In Castle Dice, each player plays as a noblemen asked to build castles and walls for the King.  The player who does this best will be crowned the new king.  Each card that you build needs resources to build.  This is where the dice come into play.  At the start of each round, each player will get a certain amount of dice.  Every one has to have a certain number of the same dice and then you get to choose extra dice you want to roll.  Each dice has a certain resource associated with it.  The yellow dice have coins, brown has wood, grey has stone, etc.  They also have different amounts of that resource on each side.  So, there will be one wood, 2 wood and 3 wood sides on the brown die.  All the players roll their dice and that indicates the “market” for that round.  Then in turn order, they choose one dice and add those resources to their player board.  There are all sorts of interesting choices in this mechanism.  First, what dice you choose to roll?  You may really want more coins, but you are also giving other players a chance to get more coins.  Making priorities based on what resources is best to get when is great…..should I get the 3 wood or 2 coins first?  Also on the dice rolled there might be animals.  These animals seem worthless but don’t ignore them.  Who ever has the most of a type of animal will get a special bonus.  For instance, who ever has the most horses gets to go first next round or who ever has the most chickens gets 6 cards in their hand, not just 5.  I really love all the tough decisions in drafting dice in Castle Dice.  It also makes it more tense knowing the final scores will rarely pass 10.

2.  Seasons

IMG_20160613_144721

Dice drafting in Seasons is nonstop and vital to your strategy though out the game.  Each round the first player will roll the season dice that is associated with what season it is.  The thing that sets Seasons dice apart from other dice drafting games is that seasons dice have multiple icons on each side of the dice.  They may have a number for the amount of crystals you get, icons on what power resource you get, a star that allows you to have more cards out, a circle that allows you to change your power tokens into points.  Every thing depends on what is rolled.  After you choose which die you want, you then activate that die and get all the things that are on it.  Depending upon your strategy and what cards you have to play will drive what die you choose.  Stars are usually the first things to go, since you need them to be able to put more cards in your tableau.  The last thing about the season die is that on every die there will be a number of pips at the bottom from between 1-3 pips.  The die that is not chosen for that round moves the season marker up that many months.  So, when you are the final player to choose a die, that is another wrinkle…..do you choose the die that you want but it moves the months ahead 3, or take the die that doesn’t help you that much but the months only move once, letting you have another round in spring?  The dice drafting is great in Seasons and adds tough decisions each round whether you are first or last!

1.  La Granja

Now, the dice drafting part in La Granja is very minimal.  Unlike Seasons, when you are drafting 20+ times a game or in Castle dice where you are drafting 10 dice a round, in La Granja you only draft 2 dice each round for 6 rounds.  That is what makes it great.  This is the only time that this game gives you anything for free…..everything else you have to work your but off to get.  So, when you finally get the opportunity to get something for free, you need to make the most of it!  One player rolls all the dice and then each die will be put in the box that is associated with that die.  All the twos go in the two box and the threes in the three box, etc.  Many rounds one or two numbers wont be rolled and that can be brutal to someones strategy!!  Every one takes turns taking a die and getting the resource and like Seasons, the last player has a choice to make because what ever dice he does not choose, every one will get that resource.  It is a great choice on, I really need this but I don’t want everyone to get that…..which one to choose??  The tenseness that comes with the dice drafting in La Granja can’t be matched.  Sitting there sweating bullets hoping no one takes the money because you really need money, or please don’t take the pig, but then do I really need the pig, should I get goods instead, but I could upgrade my goods, but money is always good, uuuuuuhhhhhhhhgggggggg!  Dice drafting in La Granja gives it a tense moment of interaction that makes it great!

-Tim