|Publisher||Rio Grande Games|
|Suggested Age||14 and up|
In Dice Realms, players vie to improve and expand their realms, which are represented by customizable dice with faces that can be popped out and upgraded for better ones.
Each game is different as before play begins, players draw five tiles (from a bag of 35) to determine which extra die faces will be available in addition to the five standard lines of faces: victory, farming, commerce, defense, and upgrades. Each player begins with two identical dice and can gain more dice, in addition to upgrading their starting dice.
Play is largely simultaneous. At the start of a round, all players roll their dice, with one player rolling the Fate die. If Winter appears on the Fate die, all players must pay 1 grain for each die they own, collecting a -2 point "misery chip" for each grain they can't pay. Players may then re-roll one die for free, and they can invest in re-roll and "set a die" tokens (that allow you to choose the die face result) for further control. If a re-rolled die shows a re-roll icon, you get the grain or power shown on the die, then re-roll it.
Players then resolve attacks, starting with any on the Fate die (that hit all players), then moving clockwise from that player, with a player's attack affecting only opponents. For each shield on a die, you can ignore one attack. Attacks can cost you grain, the use of a die rolled that turn, or the permanent use of a die face, with that face being replaced with a "destroyed" symbol.
You then collect all the victory points (VPs), grain, and coins on your visible die faces, with coins being usable only this round to purchase re-roll tokens and set-a-die tokens, repair a destroyed die face (replacing the destroyed symbol with a face previously removed), buy a new die (which also costs two grain), and acquire upgrades, which each cost 2 coins. You can save at most 1 coin in your treasury for use in a future round. Die faces have 1, 2, or 4 dots on them, and to change from a 1 to a 4 in the same color — e.g., changing from a yellow face that earns 2 grain to one that earns 4 grain and 2 coins — costs three upgrades, whereas changing from a 1 to a 1 of a different color costs one upgrade.
If during a round any player needs to use a 10 VP token, a -10 misery token, or a 10 grain token because all of the smaller value tokens have been used, then the game ends at the conclusion of that round; otherwise, the player with the Fate die passes it clockwise to the next player and a new round begins. When the game ends, players tally their points earned, both on the VP tokens and on the upgraded die faces, with 2-dot faces being worth 1 VP and 4-dot faces being worth 2 VP. Whoever has the most VPs wins.
With 18 dice, more than 650 plastic die faces in 72 types, and 35 tiles that provide more than 320,000 unique starting set-ups and challenges, Dice Realms offers a lot of variety and replayability.
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