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Dice Trip: Germany

Roll the dice, combine the results, and write the resulting numbers down on your map of Germany. But choose wisely: you’re trying to make long lines of connected cities, but no number can appear on your map twice.

Published by Helvetiq, Dice Trip: Germany is one in a line of games, all following the same basic rules but each featuring a different country to roll through.

Gameplay

Each player takes a playing sheet. A sheet shows a map of Germany with twenty-five cities, with various connecting paths between them. On a player’s turn, four different colored dice are rolled. Each player must then use all the dice, combining them to make two different numbers ranging from eleven to sixty-six. For example, you might take a four and a three and make thirty-four or forty-three.

You then write your two numbers into any two empty city spaces on your sheet. The same number cannot appear twice on your sheet and you can only use each die once. If you cannot or choose not to write a number, you mark off one of the cities and make a check on your penalty tracker.

Some of the cities are marked with special colors that match the dice colors. If you use a die to create a number that you then write into a city that matches that die’s color, you get to check off a bonus city box. If you create a number with two identical digits (eleven or forty-four, for example) you also get to check off a bonus city box. One city can only score one bonus check mark, however, even if the colors match and the two digits are identical.

Once per game, when you first roll the dice, you can announce that you are rerolling them. All players must use the new die results. Also once per game, you may choose to only use three of the dice, in which case you must use one of the dice in both numbers (you cannot use it to make identical digit numbers)

The game ends once all the cities have been filled in. You then score one point for each bonus city and lose one point for each checked penalty box. You score one point for each city in your longest succession of cities, connected to each other with roads, where the numbers go up in ascending order, with any crossed out cities ending the road. You also get points for connected consecutive cities where the numbers go up in direct consecutive ascending order. (Since the dice cannot make all numbers, a list is provided at the bottom of the player sheet of what numbers are next to each other in ascending order. This can also help you track which numbers you’ve already marked on your map.) You must have at least four connected consecutive numbers to score points this way.

Finally, the map itself is divided into three regions. You can score bonus points for not having any crossed off cities in one or more regions. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Dice Trip: Germany Components

Review

Dice Trip: Germany is a very solid roll and write. The gameplay is challenging in itself, but easy to learn and teach. The only thing you have to wrap your head around is which numbers are directly consecutive to each other, and the player sheet provides a helpful guide. The player sheet is well designed in general to be easy to read and ensure that gameplay runs smoothly.

The puzzle at the heart of the game is a clever one and it takes several playthroughs before solid strategies can emerge based on where it’s best to lay down certain numbers and how best to create longer lines of connected cities. The slow mastery of the game is both satisfying and engaging.

It plays fairly quickly, with minimal downtime. There is no direct player interaction, nor is there a great deal of significance of when it is your turn and when it is not, other than who rolls the dice determining when you’re allowed to use your one-time ability.

The components are generally well made. Full-sized pencils are included, which is always appreciated for roll and writes. The dice are a little light but quite attractive, and the whole game comes in a nice slim box that would be easy to pack. The dice colors, however, do not exactly match up with the city colors. There is both a light and dark blue die, while the corresponding cities are light blue and purple. It’s a small issue that doesn’t take much time to figure out, but it can create some confusion initially for scoring bonus cities.

Dice Trip: Germany is a game that is engaging in a quiet, thoughtful way. The luck of the dice ensures that you’re constantly tweaking your plans and re-evaluating, and the result is a clever, thoughtful roll and write.

Pros: Challenging puzzle with the right amount of luck thrown in, nicely produced and portable

Cons: Minimal player interaction, one die is the wrong color

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.