Like the rolling stone that gathers no moss, the roll & write releases aren’t slowing down. With the releases of European games such as Steamrollers, Ganz Schön Clever & Doppelt So Clever, and the great dice game of La Granja: No Siesta, it’s no surprise that the Stronghold Games arm of Indie Studios is keeping the dice on the table with the newest roll & write in their catalogue, Dizzle.
Dizzle comes with four “levels” to play – and there’s more coming out too! Each level contains a grid of boxes with either pre-marked X’s, a certain value of die face showing, or a symbol of some type that will have an effect or reward with points. Depending on the player count, you’ll play a set number of rounds – each round consists of all players taking a turn as start player, rolling the pool of d6 for everyone to choose from. (The rules for turns/rounds wasn’t super clear so I played wrong the first few times until I got frustrated enough to check on BGG and clarify! One round = every player having a roll, not just one player. It was much too short otherwise.)
The value and placement of the dice is the key here in Dizzle. During the round, you will take one die at a time, and place it next to an existing X if it’s your first die, or next to another die after that. You’re aiming to create somewhat of a route to the various icons on the level sheet – reaching gems for points, matching puzzle pieces, hitting a bomb to nullify your opponent’s bomb spaces, and the like. The higher the level, the more icons there are and the more complex their rules get – for instance, you must X out the yellow key icon in order to X the yellow lock space to get past it to other goodies.
In some ways, it’s a bit of a race against other players to grab values of dice that will let you reach further across the sheet each turn (and especially a race to the bomb spaces to wreck that for the other players!). There’s no way to mitigate the dice values but you can opt to reroll if nothing suits your sheet – bearing in mind if you end up with values that are still counter to your needs, you have to then give up a die from your sheet! Of course, you can pass if you don’t want to leave things up to luck – but it feels awful to give up when you could potentially do more.
So, does Dizzle do anything new amongst this forest of roll & write games? I’ve yet to try something that has sheets that get more complex as you go through them – Noch Mal certainly has different sheets but that’s just for variety’s sake. Railroad Ink certainly offers some flavour by adding the “expansion” dice when you play. But I admit I enjoy the increase of difficulty throughout the levels here – with the caveat that once you’ve played through to the harder stuff and are enjoying that, it can feel too simplistic to go back to the lower levels if you’re introducing the game to new players.
For me, Dizzle sits somewhere between the puzzley genre of roll & writes like Criss Cross, Brikks and the Clevers and the route-builders like Avenue, Let’s Make a Bus Route, and Railroad Ink. It’s got a similar vibe to the idea behind the Castles of Burgundy dice game, but boiled down to a much simpler idea and layout. So if you want something that’s a little mixed give Dizzle a try! If you prefer your roll & writes straight forward, Stronghold’s got you covered with many other titles!
Dizzle is a roll & write game for 1 – 4 players, taking approximately 20 – 30 minutes to play. Designed by Ralf zur Linde with art by Anne Pätzke, it’s published by Schmidt Spiele in Europe, and Stronghold Games in North America. Our thanks to Stronghold for sending us a copy to try!