Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Ludovic Maublanc &
Bruno Cathala


No. of Players:
2 - 6

G@mebox Star



I scanned the webpages of Boardgamegeek while preparing for the SPIEL '11 convention, and by luck I came to the page of the game Dice Town which I had reviewed about two years ago. We have played the game quite often since then, but we always regretted the fact that the game could not be played with a sixth player because many of our gaming groups have six participants. So, I was flabbergasted to see that a few months ago MATAGOT actually had released an expansion for Dice Town which includes all playing materials for a sixth player, but despite my search I couldn't find a German version of this expansion. Thus, I visited MATAGOT's distributor ASMODEE at the SPIEL, and after some weeks of waiting I finally found a copy of the upcoming German edition of the Dice Town Extension in the mail.

Coming in a small box which continues the cover artwork of the main gamebox, the Dice Town Extension is a treasure trove full of goodies which enhance the scope of the basic game. For one, the box includes the famous Indian Dice which had been distributed as a promo on conventions, and in addition the box also contains all needed playing materials to introduce a sixth player to the game. However, since the basic game has been optimized for a maximum number of five players, the authors had to come up with some ideas how the scale of the game could be enlarged to fit one more gunslinger errr… "dicelinger"!


The basic trick to include the sixth player is done by allowing two different actions at each location available in the game. Thus, not only the player with the best result will be able to act at each location, but instead the player with the best result actually may choose to perform one of two different actions, and then the player with the second-best result for that location is allowed to perform the action which was not selected by the first player. This new mechanism reduces the occasions in which Doc Badluck is visited because only a player who gets no action at all will be allowed to visit the Doc. And, at the same time, the inclusion of a sixth player works absolutely splendid, because the increase of possible actions means that enough possibilities to act are available for all players. But let's have a closer look at the new actions available at each location:

  • The Goldmine is enhanced by a deck of river cards. The players may opt to draw a card from the river instead of taking nuggets directly. The river deck contains some washouts, but at the same time larger amounts of nuggets, items or even the Sheriff's star may be found!
  • The stagecoach delivering money to the Bank now may be robbed as well. The player going for this option may take one dollar for every "10" rolled.
  • It get's much harder to profit from Doc Badluck because more options exist in the extended game. So, a player visiting the General Store now can opt to get one of Doc Badluck's benefits instead of drawing a General Store card.
  • The pretty dancers in the Saloon do not only draw the attention of the players, but also a deck of outlaw cards now is present at this location. Players visiting the Saloon may opt to hire the topmost outlaw card from this deck, and in one of their following turns they may use the outlaw to change their hand of dice. Each of the outlaws shows a combination of two identical dice results, and if a player uses an outlaw during the dice rolling phase he may switch two dice to these results before rolling the remaining dice. Even multiple outlaws may be used at the same time, and so the outlaws can be used for a quite powerful boost in times of need.
  • After use an outlaw must be discarded next to the Sheriff's Office. Instead of becoming Sheriff, a player visiting the office now can opt to hunt for outlaws, re-rolling all of his dice with a "King" result to get results matching the dice shown on the outlaws. If one or more matching results are rolled, these outlaws are captured by the player, meaning that the player cannot use them for manipulating his diceroll, but instead their bounty will be added to the player's money at the end of the game (after this hunt the dice are returned to their original "King" results).
  • Finally, a player visiting the Mayor now can opt to take the topmost facedown card from the deck of ownership cards. Like the river at the Goldmine, this option means that the player might get a more valuable ownership card than by taking an open card, and in addition the deck of ownership cards now includes special Ranch-cards which may get really valuable. The more Ranch-cards a player possesses, the better their yield of victory points, and so it may be an option to rely on a blind draw of an ownership card in the hope to find yet another Ranch.

As you can see, the authors have cleverly enhanced the scope of the basic game by adding some finetuned new elements at each location of Dice Town. While some of these new elements certainly rely on drawing luck, players familiar with the new cards will remember which cards are still available and so drawing luck stepwise decreases as the game processes. However, even more important is the fact that all the new elements which can be found in the expansion box form a very harmonious whole, allowing the players to experience Dice Town on a new level. As indicated, the game certainly keeps its high influence of luck, but the twist that two players get to act at each location seems to give players a greater satisfaction than recurring visits at Doc Badluck. This also brings about a slight increase in tactical gameplay, since the players now can speculate which option may be chosen by the winner of a location, and so it may be wise to keep a dice result not matching the player's hand in the hope to get a cheap shot for second place at a location. Needless to say, this expansion should always be played with five or six players because otherwise there will not be enough competition on the gameboard, but everybody who has experienced the extended game will agree that the game should not be played without the expansion anymore!

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Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany