My collection doesn’t include many Filler games, as we have moved away from the shorter playing games, preferring games that take around an hour, however when Jon asked me to take a look at Space Dice, I couldn’t say no.
In Space Dice the players are each trying to create their own habitable galaxy, however black holes and space debris has it in for the masters of the universe.
What do you get in the tube?
15 12-sided dice
1 cardboard dice holding tube
So, not a lot, but what you get is nice. The symbols on the dice are nicely coloured and easy to see and the dice themselves are of a good quality, as is the tube they come in. Unfortunately the dice use red and green which could be a problem for players with r/g colour blindness. Also the symbols are not engraved into the dice, so they could wear off after a lot of use, but so far I’ve had no issues.
Overall, Jon has put together a great little package, the dice are big and easy to use and see from a distance and the game has a feeling of quality. The rules however could use some work as I’ll explain below.
Playing the Game
Playing Space Dice is easy.
Take four dice and roll them, DO NOT TOUCH THE DICE! This is important because the position of the dice on the table matters. Firstly check to see if you have rolled any Suns. If so then any Planets you have rolled will score you points (Hoorah). You only need one sun to make all rolled planets habitable. Each habitable planet scores you a point, if you have 10 points at the start of your turn you win.
If you have rolled any Black Holes you’re going to keep those too. Three Black Holes ends your turn and you score zero for the round.
Now look at the comets (Space Debris) in your galaxy. If you have a sun or a black hole the space debris stays in your system. It now moves in the direction that it is facing through your galaxy. It travels in a straight line, if it hits a planet that planet is destroyed and cannot score.
Any remaining planets are moved to your score pile along with any black holes. You can now choose to stop and bank your planets or you can roll again, any dice that did not roll scoring planet or black holes are used again, adding additional dice from the tube until you have four dice. You can continue to roll until you score three black holes or a super nova, see below for more details.
Space Debris that is not held in by a Sun or Black Hole i.e. if you only roll planets and space debris, can be used to knock 1 point per dice off your opponents. In this way you can stop a player who has ten or more points from winning the game when their turn starts.
First up, this game is very similar to other dice rolling games like Zombie Dice, but it’s a little more interesting because the position of the dice matters. Also it features a little more player interaction in the form of free floating Space Debris.
The rules are written in a very light and easy to read manner, however, they don't really describe the Space Debris rules very clearly, in fact I only realised how Space Debris worked when I looked at the diagram. Overall I love the style of the rules but I think in this instance more clarification is needed.
I also didn’t play with the full rules for the Super Nova. In the rules when a player rolls the Super Nova, everybody’s scores are reduced to zero. In our first game we rolled more than half a dozen of these, the game would have gone on forever. So instead we house ruled that a Super Nova simply counts as 3 Black Holes, ending your turn immediately.
Other than these two minor niggles I found the game enjoyable. It’s quick and easy to explain, although getting players used to NOT picking up the dice after they’ve rolled can be tricky. The ability to attack other players with your Free Floating Space Debris can extend the playing time but you could house rule this out if you want a shorter or less confrontational game.
I like it. As a push your luck dice game intended to bookend a longer game, it’s fun, with a couple of house rules, and easy to get people going with. As a full evenings entertainment, no, but there again it’s not really what it’s designed to be. It’s very portable though and it works well with gamers of all ages. If this sounds like your cup of tea then why not check out Jon’s site and pick up a copy for yourself.
Until next time, have fun gaming,