Roll Player is a dice-rolling game where you use your dice to create a fictional fantasy character, and the player who uses the dice (and attendant cards) the best will be crowned winner.
Each player has their own player board which represents classic fantasy races such as Elves, Dwarfs, Dragons and so on. At the start of the game you add your character’s backstory, occupation, and alignment, by placing cards on the board. The game plays over a number of rounds with dice being rolled and each player taking a die and assigning to one of their character’s attributes: strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution and charisma.
Your character’s occupation gives you a cumulative target to aim for in each attribute (they are each assigned three dice in total) and if you reach it, you score points. Your backstory asks you to place certain colour dice in certain positions, and successfully doing this will also give you points.
Everyone having taken a die, there is now a market phase where players can purchase cards to advance their character in different ways: Weapons and Skills give you an in-game benefit; Armour and Traits score points – potentially! – at the end of the game. The catch is, the higher the dice you take, the further back you’ll be in the queue to buy from the market, meaning someone else will probably get the card you’d really like…
That’s the basic thrust of it, but there are some little details that add intrigue and tactical play – when placing a die in any attribute row allows you to manipulate dice you’ve already placed in different ways (re-rolling, flipping, changing position and so on). All dice of your own colour are worth a point. Gold dice get you gold. Finally using a skill card moves a cube on your alignment card in a particular direction: where this cube ends up can count for points – if it matches your character’s moral compass – or penalty points.
When the last dice are placed in the attribute rows, the game is ended and scores are tallied up.
Roll Player shouldn’t really work – it takes an existing game genre and recreates just the set-up, not the play itself. In theory that means it wouldn’t appeal role-playing gamers, and non-role-players might find it oddly truncated anyway – what, I make a character but then don’t do anything with it?
But as a dabbler in role-playing as a teenager, I always found the creation of your character the most fun, absorbing part of the game. And I think Roll Player recognises that, and kind of celebrates it by dispensing with the hours of adventuring that usually followed, instead saying that was fun – let’s do another. And my son – who has never seen a role-playing game in his life – also enjoyed Roll Player as a nice tactical battle – despite the dice, this isn’t a game dominated by luck. We like it a lot!
One of a slew of ‘dice-drafting’ games. I like dice, and I like drafting (where players take turns picking from a common pool)! I’ve only played once, and I enjoyed the role-playing character creation references a lot. I wouldn’t mind playing again, but it’s not one I’ll ask to play.
People can’t interfere with each other’s boards, but you can certainly see what dice everyone is after and play accordingly…
Low to moderate. There can be some pauses while someone figures out where best to put their die on a given turn.
It looks complex at first glance (unless you're familiar role-playing games) but it’s a deceptively simple game. The ‘burning’ – if there is any – is judging where best to place which die based on colour, number, and what benefit it brings from the attribute row.
If the dice-rolling isn’t enough, you can play as different races, occupations, alignments, with different back-stories too.